To celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary, founder Anna Goodson sat down for a series of mini video interviews where she shares her thoughts, ideas, and stories about her journey along the way. In this second episode of four, she talks about the challenges and obstacles that stood in her way when she started the business:
There were so many obstacles in the beginning when I first launched the business. One of the biggest of all, is when you’re an agent – I was representing both photographers and illustrators at the time when we launched – I couldn’t find any talent to represent. Whenever I meet up with illustrators and say, “Hey, I’m starting this agency, would you like to come on board?” most people refused. They’d say that they didn’t want an agent! I spoke to so many local talents at the time in Montreal, and many of the artists that I approached turned me down. That was such a struggle.
Another was starting a business, being a young woman, and having ambition, and yet no one would give you a chance. Financially, it was a huge struggle as well. I had to cash in some Canada Savings Bonds to cover some of the initial costs. I had no money, and there were no options for financing like there is today. I even went to my local bank manager to see if I could get a loan. He sat me down and told me to come back with my father, so that he could sign for me. I was so insulted. It was very condescending. I decided to not come back with my dad, and instead, I put everything on Visa at the time, despite the high interest rates, because I preferred to self-finance the business instead.
Everything was a struggle back then. I did what I could. I bought a used laptop – it was 150Mb dial-up; and I also had a Motorola flip phone that weighed 4 pounds! I also put together a couple of portfolios. I was lucky enough that this artist we had from France helped me design my business cards. So I printed up business cards, had a computer and a phone, and like a peddler, I went on my way to secure businesses for him. Later on, I managed to secure more artists, and then I was on my way.
More mini-interviews here: