Who are you?
What do you do?
Artist & Illustrator
When did you establish your business?
What made you start your own business?
I was a senior designer in the tableware industry for twelve years and worked for Royal Worcester. I left in 2008 when my first was born. Within a year of me leaving, not only they, but also Wedgwood Royal Doulton and Spode had all gone into receivership. So with the industry I worked in pretty much vanished, I had to decide what to do next. I had initially considered retraining, then I found myself pregnant again, so this wasn’t an option. While pregnant my husband persuaded me to start drawing again to build up a portfolio. Then when my second son was seven months old, my husband built me a website, created a work Facebook page and signed me up to Twitter. Louise Jenkins Illustration was launched and within a month I had my first job. Since then I have opened up my own Etsy shop – Illustratorlou, where I sell greetings cards and gift prints.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I love the fact that i can work to my own agenda and set my own briefs. It has also led me to be more experimental with my work. Which is something I rarely got to do while working for a large company with tight deadlines.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
It can be difficult when I need feedback from others, not only regarding my illustrations, but also about business ideas. I have found Twitter is great for this, as you don’t find many other budding illustrators at the local toddler group!
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Only that I hadn’t waited until my second was born, though things seemed so much hectic when my first was small.
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
It is really hard work, especially if, like me, you only have evenings in which to do work. I always think that branding is really important. It has to be clear and will make your product stand out from the crowd. Also, read all the business advice you can and when you’ve read it, read some more.