Women Who Create / Debbie Bryan
This week I have the pleasure of introducing Debbie Bryan to the WWC Interview series. Celebrating 10 years of her awesome creative business this year and thriving in times of change to show just how important crafts and creativity remains today!
Tell us a little about your background...
I’m from Morecambe, Lancashire, leaving school at 16 to train as a florist, then worked in visual display and retail.
At 30, I moved with my boyfriend Phil to Nottingham to study BA Hon Textile Design and MA PgDip Fashion & Textile. I stayed at Nottingham Trent University after my MA and attended the Hive HeadStart Course.
NTU transformed my life, in addition to my experiences on my courses they diagnosed and supported me with my dyslexia and have been a constant in my personal and business growth.
After my MA it took about another 1yr to establish my business model. I did my 1st trade show in early 2007 in London expanding to do international trade events from 2008 selling to galleries and independent retailers in UK, USA and few outlets across Europe. in 2009 prompted by the economic downturn I expanded my business model to include retail and creative workshops, relocating my studio to St Mary’s Gate in the Lace Market.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focussed and happy?
I’m at my happiest when things are on the move, I really enjoy change and learning.
Day to day I love being in our space before the team arrives, rethinking the layout and how we present our products and services, it keeps it fresh.
With the bigger changes and investments historically happening about every 6 months.
What three things can't you live without?
Aside from loved ones, visits to our new allotment, trying out new recipes and my sofa craft projects.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My team and our customers are truly inspiring. Also, the allotment, it’s turning into out to be brilliant source of inspiration and happiness.
What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?
I have a lot of freedom in my job and do make time to react and explore ideas.
Creativity without having to be consider what the commercial outcome is the ultimate treat.
If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?
I have worked with and met inspirational people that have resulted in sparks of inspiration and success. I would love to collaborate with my boyfriend Phil on a creative project, he is creative, practical and determined; a brilliant combination
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?
Our working space is beautiful, always changing and always inspirational.
What is the best thing about running your business?
Running my own business have given me and my team so many opportunities and on a daily basis connecting with inspirational people, but the best thing is the freedom, I can do what I want , set my own definition of what success is and when I have an idea or an opportunity, I can go for it.
And what is or has been the most challenging?
Stuff that outside of our control and ends up hindering progress
Now in our 4th year of neighbouring building works. I confronted the reality of the situation and have diversified, not only have we sustained the business we have expanded.
What is your proudest creative moment in the journey so far?
2018 was a really good year, lots of change, opportunities, new ideas and successes. It has to be our sponsorship to visit Hangzhou in China as part of the Midlands Engine creative delegation.
What does your support system look like?
I’m really lucky I have a big list.
I’m an alumni of NTU and have received business support from them since I was a Hive in 2005. I have a committed team, Katie and Hannah work with me full time and are a massive part in making everything happen. With Freya and Millie working part time who are also brilliant.
Family have played a big part, my sister Lydia really encourage me to return to education and would come to support with the trade shows
My partner Phil had done so much in the creation of the our shop and tea room, i would not have the business I have without that support.
What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business/creative journey?
Clarity on what your purpose and motivation is, what is important to you
What do you want to achieve, all big questions but make time to think about them and have them in your mind to draw on when you need them. I find it really helps with maintaining my confidence and focus.
Where is the best place online/in person to find you?
@debbiebryanshop (on all social media)