Moira Fuller – Hunt and Gather Design
‘Although I originally studied at art college, I quickly fell into a career in event management. After the best part of a decade in that industry, I took steps to move back into the creative sector, and joined a public gallery in 2008. However, my role was made redundant in the funding cuts last year, and alongside job-hunting, I used the opportunity to seriously look at starting my own business.
‘I had always wanted to run my own creative business, and had played around with ideas for doing something small alongside my full time job, with a view to growing it and it eventually becoming my main earner. The redundancy and lack of opportunities in the job market brought that into focus much quicker than planned.
‘Bradford Kickstart, specifically David Humphreys, was instrumental in helping me find that focus in those early days. David had been recommended to me by my husband, who had been in a similar situation, and I actually started talking to David a couple of months before the redundancy hit.
‘I have always made things; sewing, book-binding, creating stained glass, and more recently, developing prints and notebooks through the cyanotype photography process, which uses UV light to expose the distinctive indigo blue prints. I had planned to start selling a variety of all these online and at craft fairs.
‘In our first meeting, David asked me where I wanted my business to go. It took me a while to answer – at least a fortnight! Although it sounds naïve to say now, until that point, I had thought I’d sell online and see what happened. Having a specific goal to aim for – becoming a wholesale business to galleries and shops across the UK- helped me focus my efforts.
‘I developed the product range, built the website, and launched Hunt and Gather Design in August 2011. I attended a good range of craft fairs and started wholesaling in shops, as well as promoting my work online and through social media. Since I launched, my business has become more targeted; I used the craft fairs to talk to customers, and now entirely focus on the cyanotype range, having realised people really responded to this.
‘David was been great at asking the right questions to bring me around to thinking about my business from different angles throughout its journey. He’s also been great at introducing me to link-minded business connections, which in turn has led to further connections, networks and business opportunities.
‘I currently have two gallery exhibitions planned for the next few months, and will be exhibiting at my first trade show, the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate in April. This will give me a platform to go out and meet face to face more shops, galleries and boutiques from across the country.
‘My aim is to be wholesaling to at least 40 shops by the end of 2012, with a view to future – but steady – growth and expansion, both in terms of developing my artistic practise and in moving to proper workshop space and bringing in an element of assistance to handle the day to day running.
‘Bradford Kickstart have been key in helping me find my direction and giving me the confidence to go for it. I fully recommend their mentoring scheme to anyone thinking of starting a business.’