Senior Ana Villavasso Finds Success in Small Business


Villavasso in front of a painting in the middle of her process.

Lanie Oetker

Ana Villavasso sits at her desk, putting her final gloss coat on her painting. She draws back, admiring the work that has taken her days to complete. She smiles, highly satisfied at what she immediately believes to be one of her best pieces of work yet. Right away, she determines this acrylic painting of a musical artist, Frank Ocean, to be one of her favorite of her paintings. 


Villavasso, a senior at Decatur High School (DHS), is one of the youngest people in Decatur to have a limited liability company (LLC): a business structure that protects its owners from debts and legal responsibility. She runs her own business, selling t-shirts, pants, and paintings. 


In April of last year, in the heat of quarantine, Villavasso was bored and needed something to fill her time. She made a painting, posted it on her Snapchat story, and by surprise, someone asked her to make one for them. Before she knew it, she was making paintings for many others.


“It really flew off from there. People just started asking me for paintings so making a business just made it official,” she said.


A painting of Frank Ocean’s album “blond”.

She officially set up the business and Instagram in June of 2020, but she needed some help navigating the beginning of this unfamiliar journey. 


“I have a business mentor, her name is Gigi. She doesn’t really do anything anymore because I really got the hang of it, but she really helped me get started and she helped me start promoting my business when I was first very very tiny.” Villavasso said. 

Although her business mentor supported her mostly while she was still a small business, Villavasso now believes that her uncle is supporting her the most. 


Villavasso believes that her business is very successful; she feels even though sometimes people don’t want to spend that much money on a painting or piece of clothing, she has found her audience, and now she feels her business is doing better than a lot of other young small businesses. 

A painting inspired partially by an anime show.

Even in times when she doesn’t receive many commission requests, she still paints often. She keeps a lot of the things that don’t sell, but she sees a benefit in this.


 “I have to get out of the mindset of only painting for other people and not for me,” she explained.


Villavasso feels that this is a part of who she is now. 


“It’s one of the things that makes up my personality, […] but just being this artistic and this successful as a young black entrepreneur, it’s just like a part of me,” she said.