The Creative Workshop was devised by Hephzibah Kilbride to create a space for both novices and masters in which they could create, learn and play. Hosting a range of pottery classes and workshops, Hephzibah now teaches pottery classes and printmaking, as well as bringing together other artists to teach workshops and their disciplines in her workshop in West Lothian. We chatted with Hephzibah to discuss her last year or so in business, to find out a little more about her startup journey so far.

What is the nature of your business and why did you choose a Start Up Loan over other types of finance?

My name is Hephzibah Kilbride and just about a year and a half ago I received a start up loan from Transmit Start-Ups. I am a ceramic artist and printmaker and although I had a healthy studio practice it was always working around a full time, customer service based job. I had numerous people asking if I would teach classes and I kept thinking it would just get in the way of the time I did have in my studio. Then I came to the realisation that perhaps, with funding, I might make a living in my studio. I began to look at ways to get funding and found the Start-Up loans scheme and thought I’d give it a try.

I loved the process. Having a financial advisor appointed to me to wade through all of the information and to help me build a proposal to win the loan was an amazing bonus. I also took advantage of our Business Gateway’s free classes as I had little business training. When my advisor was happy with my final proposal, I sent it in and within two days I learned that I had won the loan! My life was about to change.

What has your business achieved over the last year? What is your favourite success story to date?

In my first year I was able to grow my classes and workshops within the community. I’ve had a great year learning what works and what needed to change to draw people from surrounding areas. Asked what I would consider my favourite success story from my first year in business is a hard question to answer. I think the best thing I did in this first year was to learn and to adapt my ideas. Without the ability to change comes failure. I guess that would be my top tip. Never imagine that you know everything because that leaves no room to learn. There will be times when you’ll need to bend over backwards to work for your customers, for your budget and for your sanity.

What have you learnt from the first year in business? Is there anything you would do differently?

I’ve learned so much since I received my loan. If I could turn back the clock I would do some things differently and some the same. I would start smaller for a start. This would give me time to learn about my low and peak times allowing for better budgeting and class scheduling. I would also recommend finding someone to help with advertising via social media. If you’re running a business like mine on your own, there is little to no time to do the many things that can help your business grow. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned since starting up and put it into practice in my new, smaller space and I’m looking forward to the next year!

I love teaching people to be creative. I love that every day I get to be hands on in my studio. My students always made this venture worthwhile and with the knowledge I have now I’m very much looking forward to a more relaxed me doing exactly what makes me excited to go to work. Teaching, learning, making and growing.

Would you recommend a Start Up Loan from Transmit Start-Ups to other businesses? How beneficial was the free business support?

I would recommend anyone with a passion and at least a bit of a plan to look at a Start-Up loan as a way to begin their journey. It’s never smooth sailing. There will always be bumps along the way. Take advantage of the support that’s offered and grow a dream.

If you could give one tip to a new entrepreneur, what would it be?

My top, top tip? Don’t forget to make time for yourself. Don’t forget to breathe. If you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to take care of your business.

If you found Hephzibah’s story an inspiration and are looking to set up your own business, register with us now to get the ball rolling!