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WebinArt Member Focus - Part 3

WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire’s flagship one-year Professional Development Programme for early-career creatives + artists in Leicestershire. We collaborate with experienced professionals online + in-person to help creative start-ups navigate their way to confidence and success.

In part 3 of our member focus, meet another three of our members below and gain an insight into their work, their creative journey so far, and their plans for the future. Many thanks to Kelly, Kausar and Jekaterina!



Kelly McCormack

GM Finney Productions


Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.


GM Finney Productions is an award-winning film making and video production service based in Leicestershire. With 24 productions under our belts and 4 in current production we are very passionate about film making and like to work closely with the client to make their vision a reality and give them something to be proud of that will hopefully stay with them for years to come.









How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?


I am part of GM Finney Productions as a Producer and it is a side hustle, my full time job is an Event Manager which uses the same skills! I have a busy life but like it that way and find it easy to make time for the right people. I am approachable and love having fun whilst being creative. My creativity seems to fall into all parts of my life as I spend the rest of my week working on projects as an actress and dancer.


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


Long term - to work with my mentor on how to move the business forward and keep up with modern thinking. Everyone in GM Finney Productions loves the part they play and the team gel perfectly together. We appreciate that everyone’s time is precious so work around each other’s needs. I hope to continue that ethos and passion.


Short term – as above – to keep having fun whilst completing the short and feature films we currently have in production whilst bringing in some new faces and giving people opportunities they might not have thought of before.



Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.


The challenges have definitely been around working to minimal budgets, life would be so much easier with an unlimited one! Same with time, if people are helping us out for the experience rather than the payment we work to their time schedules which is awesome but can be keep projects running for longer.


Successes are the awards our films have won and festivals they have been submitted into. These have included Midlands Movies Awards, Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, Lift Off Festival Pinewood Studios, Five Lamps Festival Derby, Las Vegas Global, Leicester Short Film Gala, Mindfield Film Festival Albuquerque, Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival Los Angeles, Kapow IFF, NYC Indie Film Awards, Out of the Can Film Festival.


Personally being nominated and winning an East Midlands Women’s Award (EMWA), in the category of Outstanding Woman in Art, Media & Music of the Year 2019 which is related to my film work with the company.


Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.


My mentor Heather is amazing, I could listen to her talk for hours and her history is incredible. She has shown me examples of resilience, given me confidence when discussing whether or not to walk away from a project and dealing with bad decisions. Although we have limited meet time, just being able to follow her creative journey on Instagram has been an inspiration. Furthermore the WebinArt social group and teams are so pleasant and supportive. I ended up working with a photographer on a project purely because the realisation we were both in the scheme pushed us to do it.


See more of Kelly's work here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GMFinneyProductions/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellysmccormack/

Starnow: https://www.starnow.co.uk/kellymccormack2

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-mccormack-45283b2a/


Kausar Mitha

Indigo Artisans


Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.


My business is called Indigo Artisans and I create bespoke books and journals to help my customers capture moments and preserve memories. I work predominantly with leather but have just launched a new eco friendly faux leather range using Cork Leather.


I swapped a fast paced 16 year career as a globetrotting fashion designer for a more mindful career practicing the art of bookbinding. My creative background involved Indigo and denim which is where I started my business journey but it's organically grown to lead me into leather-work and bookbinding.  


How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?


 I work on my business full time but in the back ground I also have the noise of a busy household, an elderly parent with a long term illness and a young niece and nephew who we collectively parent after they lost their mum to cancer a few years ago. I love the flexibility that being a self employed small business owner allows, I work around my responsibilities and set my own pace, it's one of the perks of being self employed! 



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


 I have lots of plans and working on finding enough time to implement them all! In the short term I want to expand my line of bespoke products and explore what else I can do within the world of leather and beyond. I started out working with Indigo and denim which organically lead me to leather and I'm open to exploring where else this will lead me creatively.  In the longer term I hope to reach a wider audience and really develop my range and brand identity.  


Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.


My biggest challenges have been trying to wear all the different hats that a small business owner needs to in order to succeed when all I want to do is create and make all day because some hats like finance and marketing don't fit me too well, but they're part and parcel of this journey and a huge learning curve.

My biggest success on my journey has been to be able to pause and start a brand new career as a self taught bookbinder and still be doing it full time 5 years on. The future is exciting!  


Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.


WebinArt is benefiting my business journey by providing access to knowledge from a range or successful creatives that is not only inspiring but has given me lots of nuggets of information gold to takeaway and implement within my business. This journey is a constant learning curve and learning from other creatives about their own journeys is so insightful and helpful. Having a mentor has also been a great way to look at things from a different perspective, map out a goal plan and be accountable for it.


See more of Kausar's work here:

Website: www.indigo-artisans.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/indigo.artisans

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigo.artisans.uk


Ekaterina Samsonova

HandyKT


Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.


When my best friend from abroad presented me a weaving loom in the beginning of 2018 I didn't think that by the end of the year I would open my Etsy shop and be deeply involved in textile and fibre craft.


In the beginning the weaving craft was just fun and sometimes I did it for myself during my new born baby's naps. But by the end of the year I had a full room of various tapestries.




How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?


I believe all creative mums will understand me when I will mention that when your baby is little and does not move a lot, you have much more time for creative business, than when active little discoverers demand all your time. Now my little one is 1.5 years so I try to use all his naps and evening ours efficiently .



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


I plan to make bigger varieties of products for my shop soon. Some of the products are still in the sketch form, but handwoven brooches and necklaces are already in the process. Also I have just started the recycling yarn project, where a customer sends me a bag of yarn scraps and I spin them into a new one of a kind yarn that can be used for all types of craft.


Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.


The biggest challenge I think is still to be found and known. This is the reason why I try to create new things that are one of a kind and different than other my craft makers do. As I mentioned before my other challenge is time and decrease of productivity - If there were 28 hours in a day I'm sure this problem wouldn't exist.


Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.


At first the programme raised my confidence. The knowledge that you are not the only one who struggles, but wants to take on the challenges and step out of their comfort zone to reach desired goals and share their journey, makes me feel like a part of a little yet very supportive family. Secondly, most of the webinars are so valuable, informative and incredibly useful. The same goes for my mentors advice, which helped me to make my first online sales! By the way Thank you Chloe! You are amazing!


See more of Ekaterina's work here:

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HandyKT

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/handykt_shop