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Brushstrokes of Success: The Evolution of Ira Balm's Journey with Martini

Since her earliest memories, Ira Balm has always had two great loves; fashion and art. 

Immersed in the fashion realm of the Philippines as a Fashion Buyer, she cultivated connections that allowed to acquire bags which served as the perfect canvases for her artistic expressions. This fusion of creativity and style quickly evolved into Ira officially starting her side hustle, Martini, with clients reaching out to commission personalized hand-painted portraits of their beloved pets on handbags.

A few years later, Ira made the life-changing decision to move to Toronto, Canada. Mesmerized by Toronto’s art scene and the warm embrace of its community, Ira found herself not only continuing her artistic journey but also expanding her business ventures within the city.

What initially began as a personal outlet for self-expression in the Philippines gradually blossomed into a flourishing enterprise in Canada, boasting a diverse clientele and a plethora of new opportunities. From live painting events for esteemed clients such as Lululemon, Reformation and Monday Girl to delving into the realm of digital art production. 

Despite Martini's remarkable client roster and success within Toronto’s art scene, Ira encountered her fair share of challenges and uncertainties "There were so many instances I could have quit," she reflects. 

Balancing her full-time job with her artistic pursuits has been demanding, but Ira thrives on the freedom it affords her. "Balance is key," she advises, emphasizing the importance of time management and compartmentalization.

As she looks ahead to the spring live events, Ira remains focused on nurturing her artistic vision and connecting with her audience on a deeper level. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs echoes her own journey: pursue your passions relentlessly and never underestimate yourself.

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