Finding a way to generate an income while raising three children under five lead former art therapist, Gail Cadogan, to start making her own jewellery, which she initially sold at local events before launching a website and selling through various galleries. Last December, the 47-year-old artist, who lives in Kinghorn, opened her first shop in Kirkcaldy high street.
What does your business do? I have recently opened a studio and shop in Kirkcaldy high street called My Cherry Pie where I design and create jewellery and gifts using a traditional enamelling technique on silver and copper. I also stock work from over 15 other local makers and artists. For the last eight years, I have sold my work through other galleries and shops throughout Scotland and the UK. I also sell through my own website www.mycherrypie.co.uk as well as online marketplaces Etsy, and Walter & May.
How and why did you start in business? The business started when my children were young and it was not feasible for me to return to work. I started designing and making jewellery and learning new skills at evening classes. I have a design degree in textiles but enjoyed making jewellery that I could give as gifts to family and friends. One day a friend suggested I took a table at a fundraising event and found that my work sold well.
How did you get to where you are today? After I sold some jewellery I decided to create a website. For my first website, I just used a free template. I built the business in small steps, I worked out my pricing and reinvested only when I had enough revenue from sales to allow me to do that. Working tirelessly on branding, quality photography, social media etc and bit by bit I grew my business as time allowed. When the children started school I found I had more time and resources to grow my business into a sustainable income.
Who has helped me along the way? Fortunately, my husband is a graphic designer so he helped a lot with branding and adverts, brochures etc. I attended a lot of the free Business Gateway Fife workshops where I learned more about bookkeeping, social media, and finance. The seminars also helped me meet like-minded people and share stories. My adviser also helped me secure a Create in Fife grant which I put towards marketing and investing in a larger kiln.
What was your biggest mistake? The biggest mistake is comparing myself to others and trying to mould my work accordingly. With confidence, I have found that if you love the work you do others will love it too, as the passion for it shines through, and have made pieces in my own unique style ever since.
What is your greatest achievement to date? Definitely opening the studio and shop just before Christmas! It is something I have always wanted to do but never really believed it would be possible.
What do you hope to achieve in the future? I would like to work on developing a stronger brand and collection of my own work. I would like to be able to do collaborative projects with other local businesses and manufacturers. I’d like to grow My Cherry Pie into a brand which would include jewellery, ceramics, textiles, and artwork.
Do you want to recruit in the future? Yes, I have too many ideas and not enough time at the moment! I would like to encourage and support people to share their ideas and work creatively on joint projects. It is important to focus on what you are good at and get the best people to do the things you are perhaps not as good at!
What is the hardest thing about running your business? Navigating the rollercoaster! Picking yourself up when you have had a couple of bad days. Persevering and motivating yourself on a daily basis. Being brave when making decisions.
Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? Just do it! Decide what level of risk and investment you can make, both financially and time-wise, and get advice from Business Gateway Fife.
Find out how Business Gateway Fife can help your business by visiting their local pages or by calling 01592 858 366.
Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.
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