Business Name:  Skippings Gallery

Support received: New Anglia Growth Programme

Location:  Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Website:  skippingsgallery.com

 


Situated on Great Yarmouth’s vibrant King Street is the newly opened Skippings Gallery.  Selling paintings, sculpture, tribal art and studio pottery, the gallery was opened in August 2016 by Tamara De Poniatowska.

We spoke to Tamara about her start-up journey.

What is your background and how has it influenced Skippings Gallery? 

I am a trained Art Historian, and I have been collecting art for over 20 years.  It has brought joy into my life, which I wanted to share with others.  For me, art is not just about objects and artefacts.  It is about how that object can transform and brighten an environment to make people feel good.  It is this ethos that has driven me to establish the eclectic Skippings Gallery as not simply an art gallery, but an experience.  I think everybody could do with more beauty, comfort and joy.  It’s a great feeling to find an object that resonates with you and adds something to your life.

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“I am realising it is possible to master new skills and deal with challenges to really increase my self-confidence.”

How did you feel when you gained your first customer?

Having taken on a Grade II listed Georgian building, which belongs to and was restored by the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, I opened in the Summer with a private view and drinks party launch.  During that event, I sold two paintings and two sculptures – it made me feel great!

Have you encountered any challenges?

Starting my own business has been a steep learning curve.  The biggest challenge is to encourage people to visit Great Yarmouth.

Few people are aware what hidden gems Great Yarmouth holds in terms of architecture, history, museums.  It’s a matter of communication – speaking to people, convincing them that a trip to Great Yarmouth, and to the gallery is worthwhile.

Despite the challenges, I am learning new skills all the time; I am realising it is possible to master new skills and deal with challenges to really increase my self-confidence.

What have been the most helpful experiences and knowledge that you have gained from working with Nwes?

It gave me a good structure.  There are so many things to think about when you start running a small business that it’s easy to get side-tracked or bogged down by details. Nwes kept reminding me of the bigger picture.  It was really like having a personal mentor or a tutor.

The Nwes courses are very useful and a good place to make new contacts. On a more emotional level, they also reinforced for me that my new business was something very real and serious – not just something I was “playing at”.  When people invest in you and your future, you tend to take yourself and your business more seriously!

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently supported by volunteers, so I would like to hire an employee to enable to enable me to spend more time tracking down artwork and participating in art and antique fairs to build my networks, and enable more people to hear about and discover the gallery.

I am also keen to dispel any myths about art.  Art is really affordable – it’s not just something for elites! At my gallery, prices start at £100 for an original drawing by an artist, who has paintings in the Tate Gallery.

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