Nichola McGuire, shares how a lack of diversity in greetings card prompted her to launch her business Eclectic Gift.
Describe your business in one sentence?
I create positive images of people of colour, so that families like mine can see themselves represented in the world around them.
When did you launch and who is behind it?
In 2015. I’m a self-taught artist and I run my business part-time by myself.
When did your ‘lightbulb happen’?
I wanted to find some ballerina artwork for my daughters, but couldn’t find anything that looked like them. No black or brown ballerinas at all. So I decided to draw my own!
What did you do prior to starting your business?
The same as now, I work as a senior library assistant at Wandsworth libraries.
What inspired you to launch the business when you did?
My children. I knew that I could create something that we could have in their room, but then I thought about other families searching for some representation to no avail and all the kids that never see themselves in the shops and world around them.
What type of support have you received since starting your business?
I have done everything on my own and my sister helping me at stalls.
What would you say were three of the most challenging aspects of setting up the business?
- Confidence. Believing that what you are doing will sell.
- Pricing, I’ve not cracked this yet.
- Promoting myself
What happened to your business during lockdown?
I worked online only, with no face-to-face stalls but luckily I didn’t suffer too badly.
What business lessons have you learned from Covid?
I’ve learned that I should believe in my work and that people love my artwork.
If you had the opportunity to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Research funding and financial support as I am hindered by/ what I can afford…. Which is not a lot!
What three tips would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Believe in your idea and back yourself 100%
- Do your research and immerse yourself in your chosen industry. You will gain invaluable support and advice
- Don’t give up!
Tell us about your latest venture
I absolutely loved creating a hero group called ‘Young Royals’. I sell prints that can be personalised with a name but now I’m offering personalised heroes made to look like the children they are purchased for. Make me a hero will be launched very soon…So watch this space!
Finish this sentence. I like being based in Wandsworth because…
It’s my home. It’s where I’m from and the place I love. Being able to share my work where I live feels amazing and makes me feel so connected to my community.
How can people find you?
I will be selling at the Wandsworth Black History Month, pop-up market 15th-17th October, at Southside Centre. I also have a range of cards in Sainsbury’s Wandsworth.
@eclecticgift on Instagram