Client Interview - Maya Mi Oh

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Rainbow Art School is owned and operated by Maya Mi Oh. In 2009, Maya and her family moved to Newfoundland when her husband was offered a job in St. John’s.

Ms. Oh herself is a trained artist, having completed both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Fine Art in South Korea. She enjoys working with a range of materials and art styles, including oil, print, sketching, sculpting, and pottery. She also worked as a graphic designer and website designer for ten years in her home country.

After searching the local job market, she soon realized that the number of professional jobs available for a classically trained artist was limited. However, she was ultimately inspired by her daughter to go into business. “I wanted to send my daughter to art school, but it was hard to find one,” she explains. “So I started my art school for my daughter.”

Maya initially had a lot of questions related to starting her own business, and she turned to AXIS Career Services for answers. “It was a huge help,” she insists. Without AXIS help, there would be no Rainbow Art School.” AXIS assisted Maya with everything from researching the local market and developing her business plan, to meeting with city officials, creating content for the business website, and registering her business with the province.

Rainbow Art School began offering arts and crafts classes to students’ ages 3-18 in September, 2011. Students can book individual or group classes to learn the history and techniques of various eastern and western styles. Maya’s personal philosophy on art education goes far beyond composition and brush work. Instead, she draws on her own experiences to inspire creativity and self-expression in her students. As she explains, “With my experience, I encourage my students to access something they want to express with various types of art.”

Maya has a loyal group of young artists, including several standouts. One student recently won an art competition among several schools in the city, and according to his parents, it was all because of what he learned at Rainbow Art School. She regularly receives inquiries about adult classes, and is working with AXIS Career Services to look at ways to better serve her growing clientele.



Maya offers this advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Starting is important, once you start your business it will move on. If it is too hard to start, get consultation from AXIS, they really know how to make you get ahead.


Exploring Business Opportunities

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Sometimes a person may wish to start a business, but that person may not know what type of business to start.

The following are examples of where to look for business start-up ideas:

~ Look at trade publications, newspapers/magazines, and online articles to get an idea of what is happening in the business world.

~ Attend conferences, trade shows, and conventions to determine what is new in a particular field of interest.

~ Explore your city to get an idea of which businesses exist, and how these businesses are doing. 

~ Think about your education or work experience and try to match it with potential opportunities. For instance, perhaps you have noticed an opportunity to offer a new product or service that nobody else is currently providing. 

~ Consider your pet peeves as sources of business ideas. Do you really dislike a specific type of product or service? It is likely that other people feel the same way, so there may be a market for your new product/service.

~ Explore your hobbies. If a few thousand people share a common hobby, it could potentially be the source of a successful business opportunity. For example, if you have a love for hiking, and you believe that market is underserved, there could be an opportunity to start a guide business, or perhaps a business selling equipment/supplies.