CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte artist said the pandemic was both the best and worst thing she’s been through. Her business boomed but her family life was tougher than ever.
She ultimately leaned on help from other small businesses to make it all work.
Heather Opal paints hearts for a reason.
“When I was 17 I had a heart procedure at Duke," she recalled. "I have a tiny locket, the date I was discharged and a little tiny heart. So I’ve always painted hearts.”
Her door charms have grown in popularity over the years and up until last year, she was painting each one individually. Now she prints them to mass-produce.
“So where the pandemic absolutely has negatively impacted our lives it has also catapulted my business," she said.
She’s not kidding. She went from selling 20 paintings in 2019 to 250 in 2020.
“It has been unbelievable," she exclaimed.
To make it happen she enlisted the help of other Charlotte small businesses to make it happen.
“It’s huge, it gives me the chills because it doesn’t only change my life, it impacts their life, the rug of stability was ripped out from so many small businesses so for us to be able to come together and work together it’s not just about me it’s about the other businesses," she said.
But it hasn’t all been heartwarming.
“There’s such a disparity from feeling absolutely elated and the mom guilt is so bad because I’ve been working so hard to build this business and also to raise my children but there aren’t enough hours in the day," she said.
She used the extra money she’s making to hire a tutor to help with virtual schooling and to give her some time back in the day to paint.
“My art is supposed to inspire joy, it’s supposed to make you happy. Every time you leave the house and see a heart or other charms, my hope is it puts a smile on your face," she said.