The story of one UT-Austin art student’s creative business

Gracyn Freiling

As movers bustled around her family home, 4-year-old Sienna DelConte sat at the kitchen table with a piece of paper and a handful of crayons. She looked at the blank page and began to draw. A few minutes later, she stood up to show her mom what she had created: a sketch of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Her mother, Robin Ward DelConte said she remembers having one thought: “Oh my goodness, this girl can draw.”

Now a studio art sophomore, Sienna runs a business called Sienna Olivia Designs, where she sells handmade art, stationery, jewelry and more. 

Sienna grew up admiring the work of famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Georgia O’Keeffe, and she said she quickly began to experiment and discover her own artistic talents. When Sienna was in seventh grade, she began to receive commissions and decided to create Sienna Olivia Designs to display her work. 

“I was 13, so it wasn’t nearly what it is now,” Sienna said. “(But) the older I got, the more advanced art classes I took, and I started to explore other artists and (mediums). I really started to build (my brand) up, and I created a website.”

To expand her clientele, Sienna approached several boutiques in her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, and asked if they would sell some of her items.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have had wonderful people who have supported my career, who saw (past) the 13-year-old girl standing in front of them,” Sienna said.

 



Seven years since Sienna first knocked on a local boutique’s door, she has successfully made deals with boutique owners across Texas and even one in Chicago. Her art, jewelry and stationery is sold in eight boutiques from Austin to Fort Worth.

As a result, Sienna Olivia Designs has taken off and become nearly a full-time job for DelConte. She said her “big break” has been her recent work with local designer Kyle Bunting on color choices for his new line of cowhide rugs. 

“There’s no down time,” Sienna said. “If I’m not at school doing homework, I’m at home painting. It’s not always easy, but if it’s something you’re passionate and excited about, it doesn’t necessarily feel like work.”

Shannon Holley, a family friend and a loyal customer of Sienna’s, said she admires Sienna’s talent and professionalism.

“(Her stationery makes) great gifts, especially when you know the person who did the art,” Holley said. “Then, when you give (the gift) to someone else and you tell them that the artist is such a close friend, that makes it even more special in my opinion.”

Years after watching her daughter draw “Starry Night,” Robin said she loves living in a house full of her daughter’s artwork, even if it means the occasional mess.

“When we lived in Fort Worth, Sienna had taken over my indoor office space and she would do her painting in there,” Robin said. “There was paint on the bookshelves, on the hardwood floors, on the window panes. She just got paint everywhere.”

Sienna hopes to eventually turn her passion into a full-time career with aspirations of exploring other avenues, such as interior design. She dreams of one day designing a home’s interior completely from her own designs.

“There’s so much in the world that I want to put out there and create,” Sienna said. “Every day that I create more and more, I feel so connected to my path in life.”