UpBeat Creative Arts Therapy

By Chris Petrie, Bass Coast startup

Creative arts therapy services designed to add value to lives and smiles for people with disabilities
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Chris Petrie UpBeat Creative Arts Therapy Startup Gippsland participant
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Chris Petrie, the founder of UpBeat Creative Arts Therapy describes his startup as "the art of creative conversation".

Chris is a practising artist and graphic designer with Master’s Degree in Therapeutic Arts Practice and is a registered Creative Arts Therapist with ANZACATA (The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association). Chris is also a registered NDIS provider in Bass Coast. He operates his Creative arts therapy service designed to help people with disabilities, from Coronet Bay in Bass Coast Shire. We have caught up with him to discuss some of the updates he was excited to share with us.

 

Startup Gippsland: How did you learn about Startup Gippsland and what was your first thought about it?

Chris: I learnt about Startup Gippsland from a Facebook post/share. I thought it was a great opportunity to receive professional advice on creating a startup in Gippsland. The ability to attend classes locally was going to be of great benefit.

Startup Gippsland: Why did you want to join the program? What was the problem you were trying to solve?

Chris: I wanted to join the program to gain answers to whether or not my ideas had traction and if so, how I might be able to scale a business. The problem I was trying to solve was how to bring the joy and benefits of Creative Arts Therapy to people in regional or remote areas. I came to the course with the idea of not only one-on-one clients, but to creating an Art Therapy app and use online video services to bring people together for group art therapy sessions.

Startup Gippsland: What was your experience like in the 12 weeks of the program? 

Chris: The twelve weeks of the course took me from thinking I knew what I was doing, to realising I had much to learn. In the first few weeks I learnt how to recognise who my customers are compared to who I thought they would be. This was one of my greatest takeaways. It enabled me to define a niche market and learn how to reach out to them. Learning to pitch your ideas to an audience was also very valuable. Condensing a business idea into a two minute presentation was daunting, nerve racking and above all... exciting.

Startup Gippsland: What are the biggest benefits of you undertaking the program? Can you provide an example of how it worked for you?

Chris: The biggest benefits were definitely in recognising my target market. I went from being pretty sure I already figured this out, to being totally blown away when taught to drill down deeper into who my market really is. I also learnt that my best approach to marketing to my target market was not through traditional print advertising. Organising and holding presentations, on who I am and what I do with Creative Arts Therapy and how it can be used with the NDIS (Arts Therapy for people with disabilities is my niche market), has already proven beneficial. Since completing the course, I have given just two presentations, resulting in the acquisition of three new clients. As most of my clients are regular and long-term, this form of marketing is of great value.

Startup Gippsland: Have you discovered new or different users for your product/service, compared with original expectations? Are you still pursuing your original startup idea? 

Chris: I would say that developing a niche, with people with disability, has come about because of the course. Prior to this, I would have targeted a much broader client base with less efficiency. I’m still to develop the ideas around an Arts Therapy app or online therapy sessions, but I feel that this will still come over time. Baby steps... Using what I have learnt in the course, I have also developed a side-hustle in a niche T-shirt market called poopteez (stay tuned). Always thinking...

Startup Gippsland: What was your biggest success after undertaking the program? Personal or professional (or both)! 

Chris: It’s a BIG CALL, but now having expanded my client base and being confident that this will continue, I have resigned from my full-time job of almost nine years, to pursue UpBeat Creative Arts Therapy as my new career.

Startup Gippsland: what was the most important skill you’ve learnt, and a realisation you’ve had during/after the program?

Chris: I seem to be harping on about this, but just that shift in learning who my market is and deciding to provide my services to a niche group, has literally been life changing. For me and for my clients..!

Startup Gippsland: Anything else you'd like to add?

Chris: In conclusion, I would like to thank Steph, Elena, Aldona and the team at Startup Gippsland for providing a first-class experience filled with learnings and wonderful experiences. If you are considering a startup of your own and can get in front of these amazing people... do it..!

Testimonials

"I wanted to join the program to gain answers to whether or not my ideas had traction and if so, how I might be able to scale a business.
"The 12 weeks of the course took me from thinking I knew what I was doing, to realising I had much to learn. In the first few weeks I learnt how to recognise who my customers are compared to who I thought they would be. This was one of my greatest takeaways."

Watch Chris's Pitch

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