Creative Accelerator Programme Manager, Lynne Martin, talks all things bottom line ahead of the next Creative Accelerator intake and talks to previous Founder Louise Kirby about her own Elevator experience.
“One of the main things that creatives bring up when I talk to them about business support is that ‘business-y’ people just don’t get them. Business support is often seen to have only one thing at the bottom line: money.
“While most creatives I know like to make a living off of their work, the bottom line for them is almost always something else. In my experience, the bottom line varies from person to person. Integrity of artistic expression, ecological improvement, social impact and making the world a better place are just a few motivations I’ve encountered while running the Creative Accelerator.
“The challenge of running a business support programme for creatives is aligning economic bottom line thinking with more creative and socially minded aspirations. The answer lies in understanding value.
“That sounds an awful lot like money talk. And it is, but not in the first instance. The value that a creative entrepreneur places on themselves is central to their success. I’m not talking about money here. I’m talking about understanding what it is that they really bring to the table. It’s about communicating their bottom line, their skills and their vision to the wider world; finding their place and being able to put monetary value on that. Central to the understanding of a creative business is understanding the founder, what their motivations are and how - as a support programme, we can help them achieve what they are looking to get out of their creative practice.
“Louise Kirby joined us on cohort four of the Creative Accelerator, and having a love for bright colours, pattern and the city of Dundee, I was super excited to have her there - I’d been a fan of her Dundee Delights collection for ages. I soon learned that there’s more to Louise’s work than bonnie pictures of the Law and Dundee Cakes. In working with Louise and having lots of conversations about her whole body of work - of which Dundee Delights is just a small part - I learned that as a designer, she takes the concept of locality to a whole new level.
“Wherever you find yourself, Louise’s work can help you really engage with a place in a more meaningful and playful way. Her wayfinding installations for sheltered housing units help people find their way around buildings using images inspired by nature that can be found locally; a gentle, pleasant and playful contrast to stark arrows painted on the walls or floors we so often see in these buildings. Her designs can be seen in various businesses in Dundee, bringing personality and colour to the spaces, always in keeping with the business’ brand, but with Louise’s distinctive style.
“In Puebla, Mexico, pedestrian crossings have Louise’s designs on them, making a functional feature colourful and fun. Louise’s work improves our experience of a place through her meaningful designs. Here, she shares her experience on the Creative Accelerator programme.”
Commenting, she said: “I heard about the programme through Scarlett Erskine, a previous Elevator Founder. She also has a studio at WASPS in Dundee, and it sounded interesting. 12 weeks is a lot of time to invest in something unknown, so it was good to hear that someone I know found it useful and worthwhile.”
Why did you join the course, and what did you expect?
“I went with the intention of being able to look objectively at my business, so I could make better financial and strategic decisions, as well as make time to produce new work. I was really open to the process, and I expected that I’d be able to apply the knowledge straight away.”
What was the Accelerator experience like?
“I enjoyed the mix of people in my cohort. There were lots of different businesses from fashion, stage fighting, musical therapy and dinosaur illustration - to name a few! It was intense fitting in the two days a week for 12 weeks as well as keeping on top of my business, but I’m so glad I did it.
“The programme allowed me to take stock and make sense of all the stuff tangled up in my head, and it’s put me on track for continuing to invest in my professional development. It’s a good network to be part of, and it hasn’t stopped at the end of the course. Everyone involved really cares about helping each creative business.”
Any advice for people thinking of applying?
“Go for it! I think everybody will benefit from taking part depending on their business and where they’re at.”
See Louise’s work for yourself: www.louisekirby.com. Photo credit, Fraser Band Photography.
The Creative Accelerator is more than a business support programme, it’s a community of likeminded people who encourage each other to make the most of their creativity. Programme Manager, Lynne Martin, works to get to understand and work with the creatives to do what they do best, and communicate that all important bottom line.
If you’re thinking of applying, email firstname.lastname@example.org before 28th August, with the next cohort kicking-off 7th September.
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