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.”

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