Run by moms, artists, and educators, The Art Pantry is a unique source when it comes to nabbing quality products that encourage your kiddos’ creativity. You’ll find everything you need to create a dedicated art space in your home: art supplies, unique craft kits, and more. With so many artsy opportunities, it’s no wonder that The Art Pantry is your Totally Awesome pick for best kid-friendly art supplies.

The Art Pantry’s founders, Megan Schiller and Stacey Silver, recently took the time to chat with us about what makes their company so awesome, their proudest moments as business owners, and more. Read on:

Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?

Megan Schiller: Our customers value our curated selection of art supplies for children. They love that we are moms and art professionals who handpick and test our products. Most of all, they love that we help them to create a dedicated (and organized!) art space for their kids—which includes offering ideas on how to get kids engaged with their art materials.

RT: What inspired you to start your business?

Megan: When I was a preschool teacher and ran a children’s art studio, parents had so many questions about setting up their own art spaces at home. They wanted to know where to get art supplies, how to set up a space, and how to better engage their kids with the art supplies. Parents were overwhelmed by the big box art stores and didn’t know where to begin. That’s when I had my “ah-ha!” moment. I realized that I could offer this information in one place, making it easy and enjoyable for parents. So I set out to create a curated selection of children’s art supplies, coupled with art space design help and project ideas. When my friend and neighbor, Stacey Silver (who had been working at SFMOMA) joined on in the fall of 2012, The Art Pantry was born!

Stacey: I was inspired to apply my years of working in museums with educators, artists, curators and visitors to a business that would have an impact on children at an early age and something that was tangible; thus, the Art Pantry. I loved seeing how Megan’s art classes really turned my kids on to the creative process and want to inspire other children to do the same—and then hopefully also visit museums in their spare time!

RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?

Megan: Start small and focused, with as little capital as possible. Don’t worry about being perfect, just get out there and test your concept. Also, make friends—networking is key!

RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?

Megan: Our style is to take it slow and work part time. That’s not great for business, but the desire to be with our kids is one of the reasons why we started our own business in the first place. If you want to build your business quickly, then outsourcing some of the work (to employees, contractors, or interns!) can really help free up some time.

RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?

Megan: As a business owner, my proudest moment would have to be the first art show I put on for my students. I loved watching the kids show off their work to their parents- -they were so proud! Along with their artwork, I put together boards of photos and documentation of their creative process. The parents finally realized that this was not just arts and crafts, but rather a rich learning experience for their children. That was awesome. It’s really hard to narrow down my proud parenting moments to just one! I think I’m most proud to see how sweet my girls are to each other (ages 5 and 1). When I see them being generous and compassionate to each other, I know I must be doing something right!

Stacey: As a business owner, it was seeing how I could merge my passion for inspiring creativity with a business and helping grow the Art Pantry. As a parent—nothing beats seeing your kids show off the work they bring home from school!

RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?

Megan: Yes! 10% off for Red Tricycle readers. Use coupon code Red10

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