The positive response inspired Marion to sign up for the Spark programme and learn how to set up her own business.
You know your friends and family are going to be kind but the Spark programme gave me the confidence to put myself out there.
Working as an administrator in the NHS part-time as well as running Stargazey Crafts, Spark has helped Marion manage both occupations until the day when she is ready to focus on her business full-time. Marion particularly enjoyed the two day Business Essentials workshop Spark offers. “I really enjoyed rubbing shoulders with other business people, networking with people in the same position and bouncing ideas around, that was brilliant,” Marion says.
Following the event, Marion has been able to call on the Spark business mentors to help her when she has a particular question or challenge. “I find being able to dip in and out and call on their expertise very useful. It has given me more direction around things I need to develop, specifically on the accounting side. The advice they have given me is invaluable.”
Marion sculpts a vast variety of items made from dyed sheep’s wool using the needle felting technique. Animals large and small, ornaments, colourful dreadlocks to clip into your hair, cases for your glasses or phone, the list goes on and on. A recent creation is a large white bear who has just caught a fish, demonstrating her skill, creativity and unique style.
Selling at craft shows and on Etsy, the online shop for craftspeople, Marion also teaches needle felting workshops over the winter months to share her skills and love for the craft.
A client recently commissioned Marion to make a lobster as a gift for her mother-in-law and was delighted with the result. “The real fun part of the business is making something I haven’t made before and commissions is a side of the business I want to build up,” Marion says.
The future looks bright for Stargazey Crafts as Marion continues to learn and add to her skills attending some of the workshops that Spark offers. Spark offers a grant to successful applicants which has proved invaluable to Marion as it has enabled her to register to attend some major craft events which have fees that are a big outlay for a small business. The grant enabled her to attend the Newlyn Fish Festival and the Truro Christmas festival in in 2017, events that would have been out of reach without support from Spark.
Marion is a great example of a Cornish craft business that is thriving with the help and support from Spark – bringing ideas to life.