We had a chat with Jane and Kim at Do Creative, a local independent craft store providing creative workshops in a safe environment whilst also selling quality art and craft supplies. Based in The BIS, Jane and Kim left the stressful corporate management world of the NHS to do something they both love; this is their story.
What made you start the business?
We’ve known each other for about 15 years now after our paths crossed professionally and socially. We both left the corporate world of senior management in the NHS after becoming unwell and this was when Kim introduced me to the world of Powertex. I followed in Kim’s footsteps and became a certified Powertex tutor.
The next stage was purely down to good timing! Kim visited the former GPO building in Whitby Street as its transformation was getting underway and she put first dibs on the unit that was the former Post Master’s Office. We then attended the formal opening of The BIS in May 2019 when we found out Kim had secured this wonderful space!
After intensive form-filling and business planning we moved into our unit ready for our official opening at the beginning of July 2019.
It became our mission to bring creative arts to the people of Hartlepool to improve their mental wellbeing, recognising how our creative outlets had helped both of us when we were unwell. We enjoy soft crafts as well as papercrafting, including scrapbooking, album-making and various mixed media using the unique Powertex products and offer workshops to all age groups.
After yours, what is your favourite Hartlepool-based business?
Hmmm, this is a difficult one as there are so many wonderful Hartlepool-based businesses out there; including all of our neighbours at The BIS! In addition we are great supporters of Kraft Work Yarns, GingeEco and The Simple Weigh! So sorry, but we really couldn’t narrow it down just to one.
Why is it important for people to support local?
We all know that if we spend our hard-earned cash in local businesses that are owned by local people it will help them thrive alongside the larger national chains and supermarkets and also grow the local economy. The less obvious benefit is that by supporting local business you can connect with the community where you live and perhaps get involved in local activities.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
The pandemic affected our business dramatically! Our core business is the delivery of face-to-face workshops and prior to March 2020 we had numerous, regular workshops for adults and children that were often oversubscribed! We are so appreciative of our local customers who continued to take advantage of our local delivery service to ensure they still had access to their Powertex supplies.
As the restrictions continued we took a decision to expand the retail side of our business and now that Kim has successfully navigated the challenges of international imports we are proud stockists of Ranger, Graphic 45, Stamperia, AB Studios and Stix2 craft supplies; making us the only independent craft store in Hartlepool! Of course we will continue to stock Powertex as the go-to universal medium as well! There is lots of crafting goodness available to order on-line from our website www.docreative.co.uk or check out our Facebook page where you will also find details of our upcoming workshops. Alternatively, just drop us a message to check we are in the Studio and you can come and browse our little store.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Pull your big girl pants on and make the move to start the business sooner; with a detailed business plan and clear vision!
If you could learn a new skill what would it be?
Think we’ve both ‘dabbled’ in various things over the years but I think if there’s one thing I need to do better at this time of my life is to expand and improve my social media and website skills!