New premises provides pattern for success

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Moving out of her home and into the local business centre has allowed Rachel Henderson of The Rachel Henderson Studio to fulfil her ambition of running craft workshops in her own space. The 37-year-old author, former interiors presenter on STV, and freelance textile designer also sells her own line of homeware at www.therachelhendersonstudio.co.uk

What does your business do? I run my own design studio and craft school at Dalgety Bay Business Centre, offering workshops, team-building events, private classes, and kids’ parties. I also work as a freelance textile designer and have done for 15 years. 

How and why did you start in business? Towards the end of last year, I decided to take the leap from working at home to renting a space at my local business centre. I have always been hugely passionate about teaching and sharing my ideas and knowledge with others. As much as I love running workshops for other companies and organisations, it has always been a dream of mine to set up a school and host classes in my own space. I love being able to invite people into my magical world of craft making and inspire them with my all of my colourful and quirky designs and interior decor! 

How did you get to where you are today? I worked as a Design Consultant for Rowan Yarns. The job involved demonstrating and running workshops at large stitching shows and events. This gave me the confidence to start teaching my own workshops, and I went on to do so in a number of schools, art centres and universities across the UK. Rowan Yarns also published my first book which kick-started my career as a designer and crafts author. 

Who has helped you along the way? A couple of years ago, during my maternity leave, I started to explore new ways that I could grow my business but I wasn't sure what direction to take it in and where to source funding. I met with Fraser McKee at Business Gateway Fife who explained what funding options were available to help develop my business. He also gave me lots of ideas, as well as a list of contacts and offered follow up support. I have been in regular contact with Fraser over the years and he has always been there to give me advice, answer my business questions and give me information on current loans and grants. My parents have also been a great support and have always been there for encouragement. However, I couldn't do what I do without my husband. He helps me out on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s working on my website, making my craft tutorials, looking over instructions or doing DIY jobs in my studio. 

What was your biggest mistake? I always make the mistake of working on too many different projects at the one time and often get carried away. I am a very enthusiastic person and always have so many ideas, I need to learn to rein it in from time to time!

What is your greatest achievement to date? Presenting on TV. I used to present live items on an STV lifestyle show. I got the opportunity to work with celebrities. It has definitely been the highlight of my career!

What do you hope to achieve in the future? I would like to take on bigger premises at some point, somewhere large enough that would allow me to have a shop, workshop area, and a space for making and designing. I would also like to work on more books, develop my own range of products, create more videos for my YouTube channel and start my own interiors blog which is another huge passion of mine. 

Do you want to recruit in the future? At some point, I would like to be in the position to take on someone that can help me with my marketing needs and someone that could assist in the general running of my business.

What is the hardest thing about running your own business? As I am a small business, I don't have a huge budget for marketing so getting the word ‘out there’ has been quite a lot of work, although word of mouth and social media have really helped. 

Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? Do it! As my friends often say I am a ‘do-er’. I am really proactive and always have been. If you want to run a business you need to be willing to work hard at it and be constantly thinking of new ways you could improve and develop it. I’d also say get in touch with Business Gateway Fife to find out what support is available to you.

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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