What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
I went straight into self employment with continuing to sell my paintings through shows.
?When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
2 and a half years ago. I have been painting and selling since the age of fifteen. Sales have been growing since then. To stick at something I loved which was promising rather than getting a job seemed the right thing to go. Doing something else never entered my mind.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
Everything but I have been lucky to be surrounded by good people offering advice and support. I am sure there are naturally more challenges to come as my business grows.
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
People I have asked advice from have always been people I am close to and feel comfortable asking questions.
?How did you fund your business?
Through sales of my art. It has been a very gradual process. Thinking back to my first shows they were very makeshift and on a minimal budget. My business has grown organically and I think that was the best way for me at the time. It has given me the time to grow with my business, especially as I was so young when I started. I am now taking? on large high end projects that is pushing my product into a place where I want it to be.
?What would you do differently now looking back?
My business’ organic growth has given me the time to grow with my business, especially as I was so young when I started so there are many things I would not change. It was right for me at the time. I am now taking? on large, high end projects that is pushing my product into a place where I want it to be.
There are big hurdles to come. I am going to need all the advice I can get so I make as few mistakes as possible!
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
Loyal clients and friends and family. Without them buying my work and spreading the word, and giving me advice I would not have a business in the first place. Now, with my new textile range, interior designer Joelle Reid and friends who are in the industry have given me valuable guidance.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Definitely the administrative side of the business. It was just me and it was a lot to take on and tackle with doing every angle of the business. Now I try to source guidance and help with the things I know other people would be better at. I think realizing this and being proactive with sourcing other people is and will be an essential factor in the growth and development of my business.
What are the future plans for your business?
I am growing my brand in the UK and internationally through high end stockists, galleries and building relations with top interior designers. 2014 will see my work introduced in Australia.
New e-commerce website will be launched in late February.
I am hoping to take on an assistant to help me in the studio with post, packaging, and administrative and general help.
My collection of designs and the product range is expanding through demand with a larger range of sizes and combinations of lampshades, prints, cushions and an introduction of wallpapers and upholstered furniture. The textile collections have and will continue to be inspired from my original paintings.
I hope to grow strong relationships with agents for my art internationally and in the UK
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Have a clear vision, stick to its values. Translate this to your clients, team and working relationships. You need a good reliable team in order to grow in the right direction.
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
I’m a fairy.
?And finally, why did you join WeDO?
It’s a network of people who can offer advice and genuinely help. I know this through other member’s experiences which gives me all the confidence I need to know this is the best networking membership for me. Belinda is very supportive and recognized the potential in what I do. I trust and value her and many of the member’s advice.