Julie Lewis recognizes that if you want to stand out in business, you have to be memorable and have strong brand identity — this is a lesson she learned very early in her career as an artist. When she was thinking of her own brand identity, she came up with SassyTuna, a memorable name, which is British slang for someone who is outgoing or likes to party.
Julie's positive and sparkly disposition was a natural fit for teaching, so she started teaching art lessons to children and adults part time across the country and in beautiful Italy. In 2013, Julie decided to commit to her business full time and opened her very own SassyTuna Studio in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Understanding the need for quality instructional class time and having studied at top art and design colleges such as Grenfell, Sheridan, and Algonquin, as well as English at Dalhousie University, Julie facilitates small class sizes, creating an intimate environment conducive to learning. Children's classes run four days a week with eight or less children per class. Julie's 120 to 130 weekly students are exposed to a variety of art genres and techniques to create a well-rounded creative experience.
Because Julie believes in diverse artistic and creative experiences, she decided to tackle the genre of video game design and development. In 2008, under SassyTuna Studio, Julie and her brother, a computer scientist, now living in Halifax, started teaching a small group of young students to design and develop their own video game based on their hobbies and interests. Fast forward eight years later, Julie hired two employees who facilitate classes for students and also produce commercial marketing video games for companies that want to try an innovative way of delivering their message, while dramatically increasing their brand awareness. Recently, the team created the video game, Fogo Island Run, inspired by a trip to Fogo Island, a small island off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has garnered quite a bit of media attention and buzz across the world.
Julie is extremely inspired by the creative process of creating different kinds of art and experiences and then seeing the result. She says, "Experimentation behind the scenes is fun, but seeing the result is the true joy! I love to stretch my hard work to its limits to see the possibilities come to fruition." She is proud of the evolution of her business and says the key to success and building a business is to be brave, get over failure as quickly as possible and just got for it!
When Julie isn't being a SassyTuna in the art and business world, she loves to get outside to hike the East Coast Trail and visit beaches with her two young sons and husband.
SassyTuna Studio offers art, digital art, and animation classes to children and adults.
This success story is provided by the Newfoundland and Labrador Service Centre – no matter what your business question is, we'll help you find the answer.