With an art studio in Leyburn, an exhibition at the Station in Richmond earlier this year, and having supplied the restaurant of a local popular department store with 100ft long seasonal backdrops, you’re likely to have come across this week’s Dales Business Woman… Meet Lynn Ward.
What’s the story behind your business? How did you get started?
I left Art College and was very lucky to get a full time job as an artist near to home. It was in an architectural office, although I spent quite a few of those years working at The Forbidden Corner, of which a more than normal time was spent underground.
I became self-employed nearly 20 years ago, but was nervous at taking the leap and so worked on architectural drawings for three days a week. This took the pressure off, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was really busy painting murals and scenery.
Once the children came along my working hours were reduced but at least I could be flexible around them and school. I’m usually kept busy with a wide variety of commissions which keeps work interesting.
Two years ago I moved into a shop space in Leyburn, which changed the nature of the business, so now I have a base that people can call into.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Once the children are on the bus I can go straight to the studio. I usually check emails first then I can paint, sketch or frame all day until the end of the school day with the help of the radio (my new favourite is a podcast called Fortunately). I don’t have fixed opening hours because sometimes I’m on site, art club at school or if I have time, a quick coffee with the girls (my health and wellbeing hour).
What’s the toughest part of running your own business?
Marketing, I don’t like selling my own work.
And the best part?
Two best parts – enjoying my job and also being able to be in control of my own time so that I can fit it around my family.
What are your top three goals for the future?
- More efficient marketing
- Update website and sell online
- Make time for own work
What’s your top marketing or social media tip?
People definitely react more to an image than just words.