Gemma Kenward Shoes

Personalized hand painted shoes for weddings and special occasions

Beautifully hand painted wedding and occasion shoes by award winning artist Gemma Kenward. 

Tattoo's and a businessy me


I have been asked to write an article about start up businesses for The Next Woman Business Magazine and as I've been pondering what on earth to write and also listing the trials and tribulations of starting up your own business, I've realized how much I have achieved! 

Check me out with my social media networking and basic, yet useful knowledge of SEO. I have two up and running websites and lots and lots of exciting things in the pipeline I'd love to shout about but can't just yet. I also have this blog I initially started to increase my Google ranking but is not a chore updating as I thought it may be. And most importantly I am doing what I love, painting and doodling to my hearts content. 

But how did I get here? After years of pushing my art and illustration work, how did I become a fully fledged business owner?

I think the turning point for me was believe it or not getting my tattoo. The tattoo artist, Wolfie from Marques of the Wolf was amazing. It was a rather large and intricate design (which I had designed) so it took Wolfie quite a long time to do. As we chatted away and I shook in the chair, scared witless we talked about art and business. Ever since that tattoo session my thoughts have ticked over about tattoo design, shoes, illustration and well me. I am the face of my business. I have this beautiful tattoo on my elbow that I can whip out and show people when they arch their eyebrow at me and say 'Ohhh, you're an artist.', I'm young with tons of enthusiasm and passion for what I am doing. 

Believing in yourself is key because if you don't believe in yourself why should your customers? I've never been an overly confident person. I'd rather sit back and enjoy a conversation without being the centre of attention but get me talking about art, shoes, tattoos or business and you'll never shut me up! My creativity is my favourite part of myself, it's who I am.  

I have since completed a Business Enterprise Course with the Princes Trust which helped me understand the logistics of running a business. It was the first step in making my art a 'career'. Every business idea evolves, it's never as you think it will be as you start out and it's a juggling act. I have taught myself to limit my time rather than concentrate all my effort in just one field of what I do. 

One thing I have had to compromise on is working in full time employment. I have managed to balance this with my business commitments.  In fact it has aided me as I listen and glean advice and tips from those around me during my 'sensible job.' It just wasn't feasible for me to rely on a sporadic income from art, as any artist finds it's okay when you're in your early twenties but with age comes responsibility.  As prices of food, rent and petrol goes up there was a distinct possibility I'd have been living on spaghetti on toast every night or worse living in a cardboard box but taking a full time job has been a positive step for so many reasons. It doesn't mean I have given up, far from it! It means I can utilize my time far more efficiently. I am no longer a procrastinator and I'm working harder that I have ever done. People wonder where I get my energy from to do all that I do. The answers simple, passion and tenacity. I love what I do everyday and I'm thankful I get the chance to do it. I get bored sitting on my behind watching TV, I want to be up doing something and most importantly making money!