Tell us a bit about your family?
I have two sons Junior (Juju) 3, and Rocko 10mths, with my husband Sam. We are a quirky bunch, all very jolly and sometimes a bit silly!
Rocko has a rare genetic blood disease with means he doesnt produce antibodies, and is on a weekly lifelong treatment which i administer at home.
What’s your business called?
My buisiness is called Marty and the Mark Makers
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Marty and the Mark Makers is an Illustration service, collaborating with children and families to create extraordinary, personal and characterful artwork full of charm and imagination!
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I have always had a passion for children’s books, and for art. I studied art for many years, experimenting with everything from ceramic to fashion design.
When I discovered the course for ILLUSTRATION FOR CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING, at Wrexham Glyndwr university i had found my specialism, achieving a First class BA (hons) in the subject.
Shortly after leaving university i discovered i was pregnant with Junior. After his birth i attempted to keep my hand in with my art and was commissioned by a beautiful nursery in Hove.
Long story short, whilst working with them I secured myself and Juju a place at the nursery, he as an Apple Blossom and I as the Resident artist.
Whilst working with the children (aged 0-5) I was inspired by their energy, enthusiasm and imagination. Which encouraged me (pregnant with Rocko) to start utilising the beautiful ideas sprouting from the children to help them, alongside their parents to create something magical.
How did you fund your start up?
I am lucky to have a supportive husband, and a low cost of start up.
How do you manage working around your children?
for three days a week i have an office inside the nursery, from which i run my business and still enjoy running workshops with the children, whilst my boys enjoy the fantastic activities and social life downstairs.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
A typical day involves speaking to clients, receiving ideas and feedback and new commissions. As well as the really fun part that is doodling away, putting those amazing ideas on to paper. I really enjoy meetings with the children and families face to face and sketching initial ideas and seeing their reaction when they realise the sky is the limit! Anything can be achieved!
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
A big challenge is resisting that itch to work outside of business hours. I have to remember that the reason i am doing this is for my children, so that time that i am with them needs to be spent focused on them.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
The example that I am setting to Juju, Rocko and the children I work with, that working can be fun! I am pursuing my passion, and every artwork we produce together is a testament to that.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future….just keep swimming. follow that rainbow. have fun.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
To be honest i feel that i m just starting out. i would say remember why you are doing this. Your children care just as much about your happiness as you do about theirs. Show them you are happy, you are achieving and don’t let the bad days keep you down.