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  • irene ruby  art 

Starting a Creative Business and Quitting my Corporate Career.

Recently I made a huge and scary decision. A life changing decision. I quit my well-paid job in the city to start my own creative business.

After university I moved to London and I had worked here in the insurance industry since. I learnt a lot, made friends, made London my home and became an adult with an income, a career and the responsibilities that go hand in hand with growing up. I did everything that was expected of me and according to most people’s standards, I was doing well.

Although everything was great on paper, somewhere in the back of my mind I kept wondering. Is this what I am meant to do? Do I want to work in the city for the rest of my career? What gives me most joy in life? What sort of imprint do I want to leave on the world? Is what I am doing making a positive impact in the lives of others? Something started to kindle inside me and slowly, over the space of months, that little spark started develop and grow into a small flame.

Dreaming of starting a business, I was figuring out what it is that I am most passionate about. I was reading about minimalism and about others who founded start-ups. I became inspired by people who changed their lives and moved away from corporate careers. Never before had I thought it would be possible to make a living for myself by doing what I loved most, making art and being creative. Feeding that little flame with information, over time, I started to believe.

In this period, my grandmother passed away. Part of her legacy were the artworks she had made over the years. Everyone close to her kept some paintings and her art is present in all of our houses. In addition to her artworks I also kept many of her art supplies. I loved my grandmother dearly and having her art in my home inspired me to start painting myself again. It helped me to re-find my love for creative activities. For me, losing someone close to me meant reflecting on my own life even more than what I was already doing. What were my core values, where did I want my life to go and what did I want to get out of my career?

What if I could offer art and crafts classes around London for people who want to be more creative in their lives? For people who want to reduce the hours of screen time but who, as I did, work in office environments and live in small houses with not enough space for creative hobbies? Perhaps I could show people the benefits of creating, as I thought of making art as practical, creative mindfulness.

Living in London I found that most of us live in small houses with not much space for sowing machines, weaving looms, painting easels and other art materials. Many people around me would love to make their own Christmas presents or knit winter gear and they struggled finding the time and space to do so. Especially if you are, as I am, a multi hobbyist who likes every type of craft, London can feel small at times. If you are dreaming of a woodworking shed behind the house and a knitting basket next to the couch whilst the hallway can be used for painting you might need a place outside your home to use as an outlet for your creativity. I decided to create that space.

I started carefully with one class a week for friends and slowly that has been growing into more. Since I quit my job I have been busy. Registering as an official company, finding locations, building a website, designing my classes, building my own portfolio, running workshops and figuring out what it means to run a business.

Many people that I teach believe they are not creative and they are nervous about trying things out by themselves. I want to show them that everyone is creative at heart, as all children are born creative. If you have lost that side of yourself, I want to show you that all it takes to bring it out is a space full of materials and a safe environment to experiment in. I want Makings and Musings to feel secure for everyone who wants to try a new skill. Whether you are an experienced painter or if you are picking up a pencil for the first time, I want our classes to be a space where people can learn without judgement. Failing and fear of messing up an artwork can be scary. However, I believe the fear of failing should not be a reason not to be creative. The same way that my own fear of failing should not stop me starting this company.

The decision to start my own business has been scary, exhilarating, wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. I already have met leads of wonderful creatives and I have loved every minute of teaching people to explore their own creativity. I have swapped my suit for an apron, the office with working all over London and I have swapped the security of a corporate career for a life of adventure. It is the most amazing thing when someone contacts me after a class and tells me how inspired they are to paint more. What I love when I teach in offices is that that way I can bring some creativity into the corporate world too.

This is only the start. With quitting my job the biggest step so far has been set. Time will tell how this will play out for me. If you want to be part of this journey, sign up to my mailing list where I will keep writing and vlogging and sharing what I am up to.



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Makings and Musings Limited


what our creatives say:

"The class was hugely enjoyable and informative. The teacher was very clear and helpful. I learnt much more than I had anticipated and came away with two paintings which I was pleasantly surprised at how they looked. The venue is above a pub and the room had a peaceful and cosy feel. Very suited to learning. I will definitely be going again."

"This was a fun and inspiring class - all materials were provided, along with plenty of inspiration, and no experience is necessary. I hadn't painted since school, but before I knew it Irene had me blending colours and creating a work I could be proud of.