Meet Nadine: Owner of ConnectED and Inspired
If you have kids that like art and you’ve never been to Nadine’s studio, I highly recommend checking it out! I’m not sure what I expected her space to be like, but I walked in and fell in love with the rustic charm of ConnectED and Inspired. It has farmhouse charm and has plenty of space to host great classes.
Nadine’s studio hosts tons of classes for both kids and adults. The classes include things like CPR training, baking, painting, mosaics, pottery and so much more! They have themed nights for adults and kids (she mentioned a Cupcake Wars night and a glow in the dark art night that both sounded like SO much fun)! They have a pottery room in the back (with pottery wheels and a kiln in a separate area for firing the ceramics)! They offer tutoring and have a plethora of summer offerings and special events. There are far too many things for me to list here, you'll have to check out their website to see everything they offer!
They also have an ice cream shoppe attached to their studio space, and run that along with their amazing studio!! Nadine told me how challenging it was opening right before Covid hit in 2020, they had one full week of classes during February vacation and then had to close down due to Covid. Instead of getting completely defeated by this, Nadine opened her doors, and her refrigerators, to the local community and operated as a food pantry from March through May of 2020, before she was able to resume classes!
As always, before our meeting, I sent some questions to Nadine to help get to know her! Keep scrolling to see more photos of her studio space and how she responded!
1. What’s the name of your business and where is your business located?
ConnectEd & Inspired
1048 S. Main Street, Bellingham, MA 02019
2. What type of business is it?
We are an educational and enrichment studio that offers a wide variety of classes, activities, events, and services. We offer cake decorating classes, baking classes for children, tutoring, intro to theater for children, afterschool and teen art, summer art programs, pottery wheel, glaze your own ceramics, mosaics, canvas paint, birthday parties of all kinds (ex. slime, jewelry, glaze your own ceramics, paint parties, Cupcake Wars, and much more! We are also an ice cream shoppe!
3. Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a mother of five children, previously a teacher and assistant principal at a local school. One of my greatest personal accomplishments is earning my doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction from Northeastern University back in 2017. Since then, I've really focused on expanding our educational entrepreneurship opportunities to provide an upbeat and engaging learning environment for families.
4. What has your biggest challenge been starting your own business?
Our business was opened in January 2020 with our first events during February vacation week. Just three short weeks later, we were temporarily closing our doors to the public while we sought opportunities in various ways throughout the pandemic. Since then, we have really had to rethink the way that we do things and offer a versatile opportunity for children and adults that could be recreated in our studio or in their homes through virtual instruction.
5. What is your favorite part about running your own business?
My favorite part of running this business stems from our ability to try new things all the time, if they work we continue to do them, if they don't work we just move on! Developing a strong team and working collaboratively with each member of the team is also the key to our success! Everyone here works hard to put smiles on the faces of families and they have their heart in it just as much as I do!
6. What is one thing you wish you knew before getting started?
I wish I knew more about the accounting, payroll, taxes, side of things! In addition, learning to market effectively is a work in progress! We are always seeking new opportunities to introduce ourselves to the community and have done so through social media, local newspapers, flyers, word of mouth, and by supporting local athletics and and team events! Starting a new business for the first time paired with obstacle after obstacle from the start has created a strong and solid foundation for which our company hopes to grow! The overwhelming community support throughout the pandemic has proved to us that we are in the right place at the right time!
7. What advice do you have for anyone trying to start their own business?
Build relationships with those in the community. We had an opportunity to be a part of the Bellingham Food Initiative programs at the start of the pandemic accepting donations, sorting, packaging, delivering and opening our space for pickups which gave us an opportunity to meet hundreds of community members and learn about their interests. We were able to use this information to build programs and activities that were of interest to those we serve.
8. Who is your role model/who inspired you to start your own business?
My mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in September 2019 triggering a leave of absence from my position as assistant principal. Over several months, she underwent three brain surgeries followed by months of chemo and radiation, therapies, and services. Now, she is in recovery from her treatments and is stable. This business was developed as a place to connect people to one another, to build relationships, and to be inspired to live life to the fullest and continuously learn new things. My mother is my greatest supporter and my inspiration for this business.
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Thanks for stopping by!