After a challenging year, Kerry Green together with her work coach decided that turning her passion for drawing into a business could help her move forward.
Kerry studied Animal Behaviour and Welfare at University and although she struggled to get a job in this field, she carried out a number of voluntary roles with animal charities and always enjoyed painting animal portraits and wildlife art.
Unable to find a paid role working with animals, to make ends meet Kerry found herself working in supermarkets, offices and in the catering trade, but her desire to work with animals never faded. So to consider combining her love of animals and art seemed like the perfect solution.
Once she had decided to set up her own business, Kerry attended the half-day ‘Link Up, Start Up’ course; was referred to go on the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme (NEA) and met up with one of our business mentors to discuss her business plan and financial forecast. Kerry also attended the 3-day ‘Starting in Business’ workshop that covered all the fundamental business elements to help new business owners establish solid foundations for their businesses.
Once Kerry’s business plan was signed off, she was able to register on the NEA Scheme which provides her with a weekly benefit to financially support her during the early months of her business.
Kerry says “I have received so much support! Firstly from my advisor at the Jobcentre, who encouraged me to make the move to self-employment and suggested I expand my art hobby. NSEA and People Plus have provided support with every aspect of setting up the business. I’ve been able to attend courses covering the very basics, finances and marketing. I’ve also received help to create my business plan and work out a proper budget. Before starting on the scheme I wouldn’t have had the confidence to strike out on my own, but everyone has been so enthusiastic about my business idea and encouraging that I now feel I can really make it work.”
Kerry’s business, Bamboo Bandit Art creates unique pet portraits and wildlife art at affordable prices. Her custom commissions and original works have a specific clientele with pet owners wanting pieces of artwork of their animals, but to provide Kerry with a more regular cash flow, she produces illustrations suitable for prints and greeting cards which she sells online via Etsy and her social media platforms and also through local fairs, shows and markets.
Asked what advice Kerry would give others when considering starting their own business, Kerry said, “Make sure you find something you are passionate about. With any new business you need to devote so much time and energy to it, so it needs to be something that you will want to commit to and enjoy putting hard work into. Accept and learn from any feedback, as it’s always good to get several perspectives about your work and your business, and importantly accept any help offered as this will take some of the pressure off you”.