We’re proud to support so many local people as they work hard to make their business dreams come true.
Times for small business owners have been particularly tough during the last year due to the ongoing pandemic, but we’re pleased that so many people have been able to share their stories of success with us during this time, to help inspire others.
One such person is Teresa Wilson, an artist who has taken advantage of many of the free business workshops we provide as part of our Enterprise Service. Teresa had previously taken part in the Women In Business course, as well as retailer training, social media for business workshops and lots more of the helpful courses we provide.
She spoke to us about her experience as an artist and as a businessperson:
Here's what she told us...
“My business is creating artwork in the form of uncanny sculpture human figures and exhibiting them and selling online. This practice all began when I returned to education to study Visual Arts at Salford University as a mature student. I was a mum with five children when I graduated in 2008, age 43.
"The next ten years were spent developing my art practice and exhibiting wherever I could.
“Sales only happened occasionally when visitors to exhibitions or open studio events came across my work, so I had to do other part time jobs to pay for my studio rent and art materials. I worked as a cleaner and an Avon representative, and what I really wanted to do was give up my cleaning jobs and just do the art which I really love spending my time doing”.
Teresa began listing her work online through Etsy in 2017 and after several months her artwork started to sell. Although her work was selling, she still didn't feel confident about giving up her cleaning jobs and felt unsure about how to take her business forwards.
It was at this point in 2018 that she contacted Wayne Wilson, our Enterprise Adviser.
“Since then” Teresa tells us, “I have done many workshops organised by One Manchester which have helped me to gain confidence by filling in the gaps in my business knowledge.
“2019 saw my sales increase so much that I felt that I could give up my cleaning jobs and still manage to cover my expenses and make a profit.
“When I started, I thought it was all about making amazing artwork, but the hard part is getting it seen by the right people.”
The pandemic has caused problems for lots of businesses, and Teresa told us that it has hit artists hard because many studios and galleries have had to close their doors to the public.
“Art is a luxury for most people and uncertainty has led to buyers holding back for the time being. I do expect things to improve gradually this year - although exhibitions will continue to be held online for the next few months or even longer".
What is her advice?
“My advice to anyone thinking about starting a business is to choose an activity that you are passionate about. Don't worry if there are gaps in your business knowledge because there are people out there to help you and the courses are free.
“The courses and workshops have all been professional and high quality. I had very few business skill before I started, and I feel that they have been immensely important to me, not only for the knowledge I have accessed but also the confidence it has given me to carry on progressing with my art business.
“Be patient but determined! It can take a long time to develop the business enough for it to make money, but you can get there. I still have lots to do to grow my art business further and lots more to learn because things change all the time - especially with social media.
“I would like to thank Wayne and One Manchester for all their help and hopefully I will be back to do more workshops in the future”.
To find out more about our Enterprise Service and how Wayne might be able to help you and your small business, get in contact with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 274 2150 and take a look at the Enterprise workshops we’ll be providing on our Events page.
Take a look at Teresa's website to see more examples of her amazing work!