In celebration of our 15 years empowering women, we are excited to introduce a collection of success stories from EWI alumnae. EWI board member Howie Feinstein is the contributing writer for this series.
Sachie Tani came to America from Kyoto, Japan over twenty years ago. Since then, she has concentrated on bringing her love of traditional Japanese nature-inspired illustration to American subjects, like the state birds of the U.S. The paintings in this award-winning collection are far from the standard, commercial representations one might find at a tourist shop, but rather painstaking, lifelike portraits reminiscent of Audubon.
Sachie originally came to the Washington, DC area as a ballerina, and while her focus has since shifted to painting, she has remained deeply committed to her native artistic tradition:
“Authenticity and trustworthiness are the essential qualities I strive for as I seek to re-establish a closer connection with nature and our past. My illustrations are forged with lasting appeal and a modern flavor.”
Sachie has expanded her expertise into graphic design, and received her BFA in that field from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. After working for several graphic design firms, she decided to start her own business, Wooden Pencil Company, marketing her work online and at craft fairs, farm markets, and similar events. But she lacked business savvy and a long-term plan for to achieve her goal of making Wooden Pencil Company a full-time endeavor.
So in 2015 Sachie went “all-in” for EWI’s Entrepreneurial Training for Success class, emerging with a solid business plan, knowledge of legal and licensing requirements, and, above all, “a whole network of helpful mentors.”
This was critical for overcoming the isolation experienced by so many creative artists. “I became good friends with similar artists, and developed great networks and connections.”
The path to 100% entrepreneurial independence is a long one, but Sachie’s progress continues. Her in-person marketing has expanded beyond the Washington area to major craft fairs in in the Mid-Atlantic region. She has recently hired an assistant to handle her increasing sales—always a welcome indicator of success.
In the EWI tradition, Sachie is committed to assisting others. She established Goma Design Studio, a consultancy aimed at helping other graphic designers. “EWI does a wonderful job of supporting women who lack other business assistance. They give you mentors who put you on the right path to business success. EWI helps the whole community by empowering women. I really appreciate what EWI did for me.”