Daisy dreamed of turning her hobby into a full-time career and now with guidance from The Prince’s Trust, the young mum has been able to establish her own business.
Daisy grew up in Ireland, where she completed a degree in Medieval History and Culture at Trinity College but after graduating, she found it difficult to find a natural career path using her qualifications.
She had spells working in a phone shop, as a receptionist and doing administrative work at a university. However, Daisy often wondered if her creative hobbies could blossom into a full-time career. She began to scour the internet, looking for organisations who could help her realise this ambition and after moving to Scotland in 2014, her idea of running her own illustration business only grew.
Realising that The Prince’s Trust could offer support, Daisy applied for The Trust’s Enterprise programme, which offers guidance and support for young people who want to start their own business.
She said: “Before my degree I had done a course in Graphic Design and Illustration. I had never stopped drawing and designing so I knew I had the skills to get stuck in. I looked around the internet for some support and advice about starting a business, and soon came across The Prince’s Trust.
“I liked the idea of having someone to talk to about my business journey and bounce ideas off. My key worker, Jess, was amazing! The format of the Enterprise programme has been great to get an overview of what to expect from running my own business. It has helped me to think about sales and marketing, get some much-needed advice about the legal side of things and has made tax responsibilities easier to understand. I have also had access to a few successful members of the business community, who have given me some fantastic insights.
Having excelled on the Enterprise Programme, Daisy felt more self-assured and ready to launch her new venture, Daisy MacGowan Illustration. The business is committed to designing ethically and sustainably produced stationary, cards, gifts and art prints, something she passionately believes in.
However, the launch of her business was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and Daisy, like so many others, has had to face unprecedented challenges.
Daisy said: “The first lockdown started just after I had handed in my notice and started the business. That was a big barrier to overcome as the shops I hoped to supply were all forced to close, and many are still cautious about buying stock. Being a mum is amazing, but childcare can be a challenge, especially because my relatives are back in Ireland and managing your work-life balance can also be tough when you have a young child and run your own business.
“I think moving to a new country is really hard and it took a while to build a circle of friends. I’ve made some amazing connections here in Scotland though and in many ways this experience forced me to be more confident and speak to people.”
Despite these challenges, Daisy has been able to successfully establish her business amidst a global pandemic.
She added: “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. In the future I want to expand my business so that I can supply to shops across the UK, have a booming online shop and do more brand collaborations. This is going to involve hiring some staff – I think we’re probably going to need a bigger office!”