Michelle McKee SYOB

Michelle McKee Craft Village

Michelle turns her business idea into a fine art

When textile artist Michelle McKee decided to take a sabbatical from her job as a Window Dresser with Magee's of Donegal, she did so fully intent on teaching herself the intricacies of fine art felt. The Belfast native, who had studied art at college in her home city before travelling for a number of years, said she hadn’t given the business end of things much thought until she had mastered her art and then began to wonder if she could make a living from it.

 

“I think it was always at the back of my mind to try to set up in my own business, but when I left my job in Donegal Town it was to really master the skills of fine art felt and it was only afterwards that I began to wonder if it could be turned into a viable business.” A successful exhibition of work and afterwards sales from a pop-up shop in Donegal Town gave her an indication that she may well have a successful product, but she needed to be sure.

 

“It is all well and good having what you think is a great idea and product, but you do need to really think it through to see if it can be a viable business. That’s the stage I was at when I approached Donegal Local Enterprise Office just before Christmas in 2014.” Early the following year Michelle found herself among the latest batch of Donegal Entrepreneurs taking part in the Local Enterprise Start Your Own Business Programme. “I guess everyone there had various reasons for being there, but for me in particular I needed to get my head around the financial end of things, to work the projections and the figures and to see if I could make a living from my art.”

 

During the six-week (one day a week) programme Michelle says there were lots of different aspects of setting up a business explained and worked through. “Part of the process was to come up with a Business Plan and it was something that a lot of the people on the programme found really useful,” she added. Since then Michelle has already begun to really establish her business and is now based in a unit at the Craft Village in Donegal Town. “I had made an approach to the Craft Village before the course and had applied for a place there, but I have no doubt that being part of the programme and the contacts made there helped to secure my unit here.”

 

She’s now looking forward to her business going from strength to strength. “Doing the Start Your Own Business programme with Donegal Local Enterprise Office, helped me realise that I had a viable business idea and now that I have engaged with them and am established, I know I can go back to the Local Enterprise Office for help and advice if I need to,” she concluded

Michelle McKee Felt

 

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