This Art of Mine – Star Business of the Month – February 2015

This Art of Mine, arts and crafts studio Maidstone KentAt This Art of Mine we help people to enjoy their leisure time through our program of art workshops and short courses. We deliver high quality courses that encourage people to try things they may never have tried before such as glass fusing, ceramic painting, jewellery making and painting.

We also run art workshops as corporate team building events and host several birthday or hen parties each weekend at our creative studio near Maidstone. Our studio is based in a converted barn on a flower farm and seats up to 60 people.

This Art of Mine Gemma BlackerMeet Gemma:

I started This Art of Mines in 2010 when I was 24 and it has grown steadily over the last five years. Last year we launched our own range of craft kits that are sold in independent retailers and online.

I started the business because after I left university I went down the traditional route of getting a graduate job in a corporate world and after a while I realized this was not for me. I really wanted to work for myself and my hobby was art so I thought I would take the plunge and set up my own company teaching art workshops.

This Art of Mine, arts and craft studio, Maidstone KentThe biggest achievements we have had as a company has been to turn a profit. I know it sounds silly but after paying off our set up costs we turned a profit in our fourth year of trading which was a great achievement.

Being featured in the Guardian was an exciting time plus we have had the opportunity to work alongside big corporations such as the BBC, Kimberley Clark and Mylan Pharmaceuticals which have made the job really fun.

The aim over the next five years is to become the best art course provider in Kent. To do this we will need to hire more staff and tutors and possibly relocate our offices. Currently one of our biggest challenges is running a business in a rural location. The scenery is beautiful and it’s a lovely place to work but the poor internet connection and phone signal are very difficult to deal with, making progress slow and frustrating.

Business Tip:

“My advice would be that you can work for yourself and earn a decent living as long as you are doing something you are really passionate about. If the product does not get you excited then it is not going to work, find something you really love and get behind it.”

This Art Of Mine – Create something to be proud of!

gemma-blacker-this-art-of-mine-rectangle-549Client: Gemma Blacker

Business: This Art Of Mine

Description: A friendly arts and craft studio set in the Kent countryside. All ages and abilities welcome.

Telephone: 01622 735 312


How was This Art of Mine launched?

This Art of Mine was launched in 2010. The start up costs were funded by personal loans from myself and my other business owner Kate. We put in a lot of hard work to get it up and running, visiting many suppliers, designing a website, numerous trips to Ikea and buying our first lot of stock. After two months of planning the doors were open for business.

What is This Art of Mine?this-art-of-mine-studio-rectangle-609

This Art of Mine is an arts and crafts studio where customers can attend craft workshops, art lessons and courses. Teaching all the workshops and courses is an expert team of staff and for that extra sparkle the occasional guest tutor. The main crafts on offer are ceramic painting, jewellery making, sewing, knitting, t-shirt, bag designing and watercolour. The studio is inspiration in itself residing in a beautiful converted barn in the heart of the Kent countryside. The fantastic scenery and relaxing atmosphere come at no extra cost.

Are you creative yourself?

Yes I’ve always loved doing arty crafty things and I’m so lucky that I can now do a job I love full time.

this-art-of-mine-child-class-rectangle-611Where do you see your business in the future?

I would like the studio to be one of the top tourist destinations in Kent with the studio to be renowned for it’s teaching. Anyone then wishing to improve their art and craft skills would immediately think of This Art Of Mine.

Pigs with Personality? Find out more…

What support have you received?

Gemma is linked with a Business Mentor and said “My Mentor has been really great. Although we are very busy, we catch up on a regular basis to evaluate how things are going and to set some future actions.”  Developing a marketing strategy involved Gemma spending time in her Mentor’s own company, shadowing the sales team helped her to understand different elements of business.


The NETFORCE 2 mentoring project was selected as part of the France (Channel)-England cross border European cooperation programme INTERREG IVA co-financed by ERDF. This project was launched in January 2011 and ran until September 2013 in Kent and the Upper Normandy region. It gave the opportunity to test new tools to support the entrepreneur in their journey to create a new or take over an existing business.

Business Tipthis-art-of-mine-craft-class-rectangle-610

Keep on top of your admin and remember to take a break from the business once in a while so that you can reflect on where it’s going and come back with loads of exciting ideas to take it forward.