Tammy Mackay is a fine artist and printmaker, and has been selling her work through galleries and art fairs for over 5 years. Of her work, she says, “My drawings are very detailed and each print I create is hand printed…My client base varies in age but generally most are UK based.” 

Before joining the programme, Tammy’s priorities were to recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and improve her business skills and confidence. She also noted the need to redesign her website and grow her mailing list to help increase online sales.

These priorities were reflected in the scores she gave herself for skills and confidence before the programme, with creating a business plan, operational planning, PR and publicity and digital/the web all with 1 out of 5.

Although being able to secure a grant via the Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Covid-19 has been extremely disruptive for Tammy’s business with the loss of retail trade and the closure of studios meaning she could not make work.

Tammy described a lack of digital marketing strategy and effective online shop as barriers to her business growing, stating “I think effective online selling is crucial to surviving as a business now…I have limited online technical knowledge. It is hard to juggle creativity and business.” With support to improve her business, Tammy aimed to attract funding for bigger projects and collaborate with other artists:

“I think things will continue to be a challenge for creatives for a while yet. So improving is probably key to survival. I would like to have a business that is more effective and efficient. Build a bigger client base and engage others in what I do (perhaps have the confidence to do video or live streams!).”

Tammy had 3 hours of 1:1 support with business advisor Stuart Balmer. During these sessions they examined how to position the ‘art’ and ‘homewares’ sides of Tammy’s business, with pointers given on e-commerce tools, recognising different audiences and price points. Options for more regular exhibitions were raised, including local art trails or open studios. In the final session they made plans for publicity involving gaining local press stories, improving the existing newsletter and seeking out relevant events to align her stories with.

Tammy also attended all 3 Skills and Networking events, but found the 1:1 support the most effective. Her skills and confidence have increased in all areas, and particularly in creating a business plan, operational planning and digital/the web, rising from 1 out of 5 to 4 out of 5. Because of this Tammy has strengthen her business plan, and progressed towards being able to recover from the Covid-19 lockdowns and have a more resilient business.

“The 1:1 sessions definitely helped with focusing my future steps for my business. I have a clearer picture of which direction I want to go now.”

Re:Create 2021 was a programme designed by Creative United, and delivered in partnership with Wandsworth Council and Hive Collective. It provided free, specialist 1:1 business support for 51 artists, makers and creative businesses in the borough, plus 3 connection-making, informative and engaging networking events that were open to all.

You can find out more about the Re:Create 2021 programme here.