Burdens on businesses

The Argus: Richard Dykes of Knit-1 Richard Dykes of Knit-1

I am politically neutral and would vote Pro Business if such a party existed, but Government and politicians place ever increasing burdens on businesses. Less of this, please.

On a positive note I feel there are still amazing designers, creators, true artists, inventors and entrepreneurs in this country that will lift the economy through their endeavour, enterprise and drive.

Our company, Knit-1, started selling designs to the fashion industry in 1991.

In 2008 we decided to put all this design and business expertise to further good use and set up our own intensive design courses, plus technical design books and downloads. Course participants come to us from all sorts of backgrounds and from all over the world.

In September, senior designers from Nike USA came to take a course with us, and many other industry professionals have taken our courses, along with individuals wanting to improve their portfolio or employment credentials, those wanting to set up a knit fashion business, and in fact anyone just wanting to learn more about knit fashion design from experts.

We believe that teaching from within our design business environment provides a truly innovative way to impart practical design skills.

It is our intention to roll out the concept to other locations globally, and we are currently looking for partners to further this aim.

Including directors, we currently employ six people and have employed more in the past but employers’ National Insurance or “tax on jobs”, and the directive on providing workplace pensions or “Stakeholder the Sequel” are real concerns, but we still strive to move our business forward.

Sumptuous colour

Another example of an entrepreneur with drive is Kirsty Wither, an artist who graduated from art school in 1990 and since then has made her living as an artist.

Her special use of sumptuous colour combinations certainly confirms her talent, but she would not want to romanticise the lifestyle.

She is proof that this, as much as any other form of self-employment, needs dedication, ambition and graft to bring success.

When she first left art college, without any business training, she astutely rented exhibition space in foyers and function rooms of local hotels to put on her own shows, inviting everyone she knew.

In time she felt confident enough to approach galleries.

There were knockbacks but all the time she continued painting, striving to improve.

Like any product, the more you work at it the better it becomes. Eventually one gallery owner came on board and this has led to regular solo exhibitions in Glasgow, Edinburgh and The Portland Gallery in London.

Paper work

Her working day is a solid eight or nine hours, excluding book-keeping, accounts and admin.

Like any small businesss, simplification of these processes would be beneficial.

Consistently selling her work for such a long time is a considerable achievement in itself, but also benefits the exhibiting galleries and her framer, who has framed her art for more than 20 years.

You can see Kirsty’s art and that of other artists represented by her husband Robin Cameron at Cameron Contemporary Arts’ Christmas Exhibition at Gallery 40 in Gloucester Road, Brighton until December 16. For more information visit www.cameron-contemporaryart.com.

We are open at our premises in Islingword Road, Brighton BN2 9SJ on December 15 and 16 to sell and show off our designs, courses and book as part of www.aoh-org.uk.

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