I've just had my very last Small Business Start Up Scheme meeting! It's been an incredible two years. Many, many thanks to my mentor, Helen Cowley, for her enthusiasm and support (seriously, ask for her if you do the course!!) and to the Department of Economic Development for believing in my creative business. The grants and mentorship have been incredibly valuable.
If you want to start up your own business on the island, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the scheme. The introduction course is relaxed, friendly and easy to follow, the mentors are really helpful and the department WANT to give you the money. Seriously. They want to help you. So let them. Don't think that being creative puts you at a disadvantage. Business plans are nowhere near as frightening as you think they are. Follow a template, be methodical, keep it concise. You might even enjoy it (subversive right, we're not supposed to enjoy entrepreneurial activities as artists, are we?!).
It would have taken me another 2 years of working in jobs that I hated to save up enough money to purchase equipment and keep my bank account in the black for the first 18 months of trading. Instead, I worked 3 jobs over one summer to save some capital, dropped one job when I began trading, then another 9 months later and now I'm leaving my last part time job - my main income - because I know that I can fulfil the potential of my business (and support myself with it). Sure, it's scary, it's a lot of responsibility, but it's really exciting too. There is no way I could be doing this now without SBSUS.
Kudos to my awesome customers and stockists too, you make this possible.
(In a reminiscent moment this morning, I recalled business plan writing times two years ago... some friends had just introduced me to Flight of the Conchords and though the meaning of the song is wildly off topic (yet hilarious), I found myself singing 'It's business time!' whilst creating sales forecasts.)
The weather gods must have read last week's post and took pity on me by sending some sunshine my way! Huzzah!
One the second Tuesday of June since the beginning of time, the Red Arrows have visited the island. They bring out the kid in me and this year we had a particularly good spot to watch them from.
I've spent most of the week catching up on admin work - preparing my tax return, doing May's accounts, updating this here website, making lists upon lists for my trip, sifting through my iTunes library in an effort to retrieve some hard drive space. Exciting stuff eh.
I broke my 'no studio during TT week' rule yesterday and spent a glorious day glazing, applying decals, banding and painting, all with regular sunshine breaks.
I'm thrilled to be part of the @trienseek treasure hunt at the Australian Ceramics Triennale in Canberra this July! This wee pourer will be coming with me to find a new home in Oz! To take part in the treasure hunt, you need to have an Instagram account, follow @trienseek and myself - @kathryn.mitchell - and be in Canberra between 9th and 11th of July!
I received some super exciting post yesterday: a mug from eikcam ceramics! I bought a piece of Grace's work on Granville Island in Vancouver about 3 years ago, and thanks to the power of social media we're now in touch and have just traded cups across the world! Thanks Grace!
The last two weeks have been pretty intense. This was my last chance to get pots thrown and trimmed before my trip, which is now less than three weeks away! I've made over 120 pots, definitely a best personal best. The TT races are in full swing now, so I won't be in the studio for about 10 days - the road closures make the journey way too stressful.
I'm working on pieces for Manx National Heritage, the Manx Wildlife Trust, Lovely Greens, individual orders, gifts for friends in Oz AND building up stock for the IoM Food Festival, which is the weekend after I come home in September.
My blog posts seem to include a regular weather update - I'm not that dull, honestly, I just miss glorious weather. I was born in the wrong hemisphere. Summer hasn't shown up and that makes me really quite sad. Most days in May could have been February. I work really hard to make myself happy on this island, but cold weather makes me really 'homesick' for the Gold Coast and it's balmy climate.