Marrying Artistic Talent with Entrepreneurship

Aug 2, 2022

Quincy Jones (, who started on his musical, professional path in Washington, famously said, “The people who make it to the top — whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos — are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.”

Entrepreneurship offers a vocational blank canvas for executing a vision with passion and skill. Done correctly it can provide a career option that incorporates control, freedom, and financial benefits not found working for someone else.  One of the most colorful and diversified elements of the small business community are the companies that combine artistic ability with entrepreneurship.

The spectrum of companies providing products & services in this sector can be illustrated by the businesses created by two groundbreaking entrepreneurs who unfortunately left earth to practice their art in a higher realm in July 2022.  The first, Carleton Varney ( was an interior design legend who provided guidance to U.S. Presidential Administrations of both parties, Hollywood icons, and through the 37 books he authored conveying his thoughts on furniture, materials, and wallcoverings, the masses including individuals decorating apartments, homes, commercial properties, and hotels.  Carleton Varney made the world a more aesthetically pleasing place.  His influence and work will continue to impact taste into the foreseeable future.  Where Carleton Varney was a star who radiated for eighty-five years, Matt King ( was a visionary artist/entrepreneur who rose like a comet out of Santa Fe, New Mexico with the creation of the destination, immersive artistic experience,  House of Eternal Return, who unfortunately left the horizon forever to great sadness of his fans at the age of 37.  Matt King in his short period as an entrepreneur, through his company Meow Wolf, Inc., created over thirty, destination installations visited by millions of customers including Omega Mart in Las Vegas, that has become a “must see” for visitors of that adult Disneyland location. Recent reported information on Meow Wolf had revenues approaching $160 million annually and employment with the business at approximately 900 people. Count me in the disappointed fans who will never see what Matt King could have achieved with bigger and more elaborate locations and resources.

IBA as the oldest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, a region of the United States known for musical & artistic talent, has facilitated the sale of dozens of companies that combined artistic talent with business acumen.  Past IBA projects have included companies with graphic design departments creating marketing materials and visual branding products displayed in print, online, signage, apparel, or in the case of Parisian Star Desserts, pastries; floral design businesses that created beautiful items using perishable materials for weddings, corporate events, and to convey “I Love You” to someone special; interior design companies that could make anyone’s home look like a luxurious castle or stage a the home for a timely, premium price real estate sale; and carefully curated, art galleries that offered a retail storefront for individuals to sell their work. As with all businesses sold by IBA, each transaction offered an opportunity for a seller to find a successor to carry on their legacy and provided the buyer an opportunity to maintain and grow a company that produced a quality life in terms of occupation and compensation for the previous owner while continuing to serve a customer base that values the entity.

The valuation of a business is a sophisticated, nuanced process that requires knowledge, experience, and skill. It is commonly compared to the appraisal of art.  If you are interested in selling a business that combines entrepreneurship with artistic talent, the members of IBA’s team that specialize in the sale of those types of companies would welcome the opportunity to learn about your business, exit strategy objectives, value your entrepreneurial creation, and provide an overview of our client services.

As for a summer art experience in Seattle, I strongly recommend the Van Gough exhibit currently occurring in SODO,, which I recently attended with my mother.  Entrepreneurship of this nature should be encouraged, so it continues. Beauty is everywhere.  It is up to us to take the time to observe and incorporate it into our lives.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.