How entrepreneur and former Girl Scout Hilarie Bohdel left her 9-5 to pursue her passion for teaching art

A craft party business owner in York County shares her journey to entrepreneurial success.

By Catherine Amoriello

Hilarie Bohdel, business owner and entrepreneur.

Some entrepreneurs know they want to be their own boss early on in life, but for Hilarie Bohdel, she stumbled into her business venture by chance.

Bohdel was on the traditional career path – she had earned her business degree, got a steady job, and found her place in the workforce. But eventually Bohdel felt she was stuck in a rut in her career. It was not until her friend took her to a paint party she discovered a new passion she would ultimately turn into a livelihood.

“It was about the experience of everyone coming together to take time for themselves and start something new,” Bohdel said of her introduction to paint parties. “My friend said, ‘You need to do this.’”

Make a Masterpiece participants show off the creations Bohdel helped them create.

In 2013, Bohdel established her paint party business Make a Masterpiece. What initially began as a side hustle took only two years to become her full-time job. Her business has evolved in many ways since its inception almost a decade ago, mainly due to Bohdel’s ability to identify new opportunities and adapt to the needs and wants of her customers.

“Sometimes the steps to success will be challenging. There’s going to be hard stuff, but you have to get through it to get to the reward.”

Hilarie Bohdel, owner of Make a Masterpiece

At the beginning, Make a Masterpiece was mainly focused on canvas painting. Bohdel realized the potential for wood-stencil craft parties and added them to her repertoire of services. Since adding wood signs as a craft option, 75 percent of the parties she leads are focused on wood sign art. Bohdel pivoted yet again in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world. She was able to keep Make a Masterpiece relevant by switching to DIY kits and virtual parties. Next, she plans on offering memberships for those who love to paint frequently.

“You really have to be passionate about your business to be successful. It does take so much to run a business time and patience wise, so you really have to love it or you will get burnt out,” Bohdel said.

Bohdel leads a paint party for children.

To say Bohdel puts in the work to be successful is an understatement. She manages all event logistics, from creating schedules, preparing supplies, working with vendors, and planning her events. She’s even learned woodworking and developed software and coding skills to improve the success of her business.

Although Bohdel entered the professional world with a business degree, she’s had an interest in the arts since childhood. As a former Girl Scout who participated as a Daisy through Junior, Bohdel remembers her favorite part of scouting was crafting and learning how to tie-dye and bead. Now, her 10-year-old daughter is following in her footsteps as she enters her second year of scouting as a Brownie.

“I think Girl Scouts is wonderful. I think it’s a great opportunity for girls to experience something they might not have otherwise,” Bohdel said.

For girls looking to hone art skills like Hilarie’s, there are multiple badge opportunities to explore! Check out a few of the options available below.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

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