Happy U R Here: Summer Company Success Story
Located in Exeter, you’ll find Sara Nogueira – artist and founder of Happy U R Here, an art company that sells prints, stickers and original artwork. As a recipient of the Summer Company program, Sara spent her summer growing her popular business at local markets and through her online store.
Sara’s artwork is heavily based on nature, especially animals. “I find that creating pieces that incorporate animals helps me feel closer to nature. It grounds me and it’s a very beautiful subject matter to paint,” said Sara.
The name Happy U R Here is the first thing people notice about the business along with the striking acrylic, watercolour, and digital artwork. “I wanted to make sure that everyone’s first experience with the business is positive and sharing that message is a good way to start.”
The catalyst to start the business began in 2021 while Sara was taking a gap year in Hawaii. During that year, Sara had the opportunity to rest and relax while also volunteering at a local animal sanctuary. “When I was in Hawaii, I met so many different people with different stories. It really expanded my horizons. Sometimes living in a small town, we forget there’s a big world out there and lots of ways of living life,” Sara recounted.
“When I was in Hawaii, a traveler bought two of my pieces of art and that really encouraged me,” Sara explained that at the beginning of high school, she loved art classes. But after hearing negative pressures and messaging, she started suppressing her creativity and started focusing more on a science-based career. “I got frustrated because I was getting messages at school that if I wanted to be successful, I couldn’t have anything to do with art. My parents kept encouraging me to start painting again, but I suppressed my creativity for several years.”
“After the gap year, I let my creative expression come out again and starting the business has been an act of permission to be authentic to who I am. I want to share my art with the world instead of holding my creativity back, even from myself,” stated Sara bravely.
Sara explains that without the Summer Company program, starting her business would have been very high-risk. “But because I knew I had the safety net of the grant, I decided to just go for it. I’m really proud of myself for applying for the program and going through the whole process. It’s a very cool accomplishment.”
Sara credits the Summer Company as being an amazing space to learn what worked best for her business. She stated that she has loved the mentorship she received and has really enjoyed gaining new skills like learning how to organize her business, keep track of inventory, finances and building client relationships at local markets across Huron County. “I’m here to learn as much as I can this summer. I want to get a good foundation to allow my business to continue in the future.”
“If you’re considering applying for the Summer Company program, go for it, you have nothing to lose. Your 20s should be a high-risk time of your life where you try as many things as possible. Some will stick, some won’t, but you really don’t know if you don’t try. The program is set up for you to succeed – from the mentorship to the grant money, to the tangible business training, it’s a win-win,” said Sara.
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