This month we find out more about Art at Home business owner Kath Wood…
When, and why, did you start your business?
My move to Twickenham in March 2020 was the springboard for fulfilling my long- held ambition to develop a business to showcase affordable art and directly connect living artists with new audiences.
What challenges did you face when setting up?
Opening in the pandemic meant operating digitally. I had to develop new skills in social media; set up a website for online sales – it was a challenge trying to get the right feel for a new brand in a digital only space.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Being my own boss. Having the space to try new things and work with artists and people that I love. It is always a thrill to see someone discover an artist for the first time and connect to them and their work.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
The need to be as strong on the digital platform as in real life. Our latest programme ‘12 Weeks 12 Artists’ was successful because the artists were there in person.
Also, don’t try to do everything yourself: recognise when you need the expertise of others and budget accordingly.
Is there anything you would do differently if starting out again?
I don’t think so. I have been lucky to find the right location – my home was a former Beer House c.1820 so I can use the former bar for exhibitions and to host artist residencies.
What’s your most popular service or product?
Our Sunday Salon artist talk has been unexpectedly popular – a chance to hear the artists speak in depth and have a cup of coffee with fellow art lovers. People really cherish this insight into the artist’s inspirations and working processes. Generally our products are all affordable, original artwork, the most popular being the range we sell for around £500.
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?
Don’t hesitate to start something new and trust your gut instinct. Start with a business plan and do your market research – make sure you understand where your business fits into the marketplace.
What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business?
Our plan is for Art at Home to be the go-to business for those wanting affordable original artwork for their home. We want to work in partnership with interior designers, estate agents and architects whose clients want affordable artwork for their homes. We plan to showcase our works in a variety of venues.
Name some other local independent businesses that you love to support.
Star Print, family run, have a fantastic array of artist materials and stationery and have been a great support with our last pop up. The V3 group have a great printing service. The Snax café is a wonderful café at the top of Church Street that I often frequent. Our visiting artists love the surrounding area and we always book a visit for them to visit Turner’s House.
What do you love about our local area?
The amazing array of green spaces and historic houses. And of course, being right by the river.
And finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourself!
I’ll give you two: I put together my first museum display at the age of seven (including bits of pottery I’d dug up from the garden), complete with gummy labels! And I am the founding director of Firstsite – the contemporary art space in Colchester, designed by Vinoly architects, that recently won Museum of the Year.
• Art at Home’s next project is a 6-day pop-up in December (11-12th and 16-19th Dec).
Art at Home
Compiled by The Word Sanctum, Copywriters for small businesses.