We love talking to our members about what they do and how they’ve overcome challenges in business. Plus, we also like to find out why they love North Tyneside as a place to do business. We’ve been chatting to Gail at Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC.
Tell us a little more about the business
Happy Planet is an award winning social enterprise gallery and gift shop based on Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay. It is owned and managed by Gail Curry, the resident artist winner of the North East regional Great British Entrepreneur Award for entrepreneurial spirit in October 2019.
The business offers local artists an opportunity to sell their work to the public in this popular shop. Happy Planet also offers a wide variety of creative workshops to members of the public to help them embrace their own creativity to aid their wellbeing.
What challenges has the business overcome to become covid-secure?
The challenges have been multi layered as prior to Covid-19 the only products sold on line were workshops. The added difficulty was that Gail was advised to join the shielding group due to health risks.
How has the business adapted the operation or workplace?
Gail took the decision to close the business a week prior to the announcement for lockdown, as it was obvious it was going to happen. The extra time was used to organise the artists using Happy Planet and to remove one of each item stocked, a total of 490, to Gail’s home, in preparation for building an online platform.
Over the next eight weeks the items were photographed and descriptions written so that the shop could begin to trade online from June 1st. It is offering a click and collect service 3 times a week and although only in the first week orders are already running at the previous weekly average.
In order to maintain contact with customers Gail has produced a weekly Covid-19 resource newsletter which gave community news and ideas to occupy and entertain creatively, which has been mailed out to more than 500 subscribers each week.
How has North Tyneside Business Forum helped your business?
Gail has not attended any of the meetings as she is without speech and he communication aid is not suitable for noisy group settings. However the Facebook page and website have been very helpful in that they presented information released by the Government in a clear concise manner so that applying for grants and knowing what was happening was simpler than it might have otherwise been
One thing that makes your business different from the rest
The shop has stock being made in it, so customers can see how things are made, as well as being able to request commissions.
Facebook: Happy Planet Creative Arts