Emma Pauley, 28, who lives in Dunfermline, opened Miss Pauley’s furniture, craft and gift shop in the town two years ago.
A joint winner of the Carnegie UK Trust Test Town 2013 Competition, www.misspauleys.com tries to encourage and support local artistic talent.
The shop in Chalmers Street also hosts a regular programme of events that aim to inspire and provide creative outlets for children and adults.
Q How and why did you start in business?
A In my previous job I felt that I worked extremely hard for very little reward, and one day decided that if I was going to continue working long hours I would be better doing so for myself.
I was also looking to do something that would give me greater flexibility so I could work and raise my family.
Q How did you get to where you are today?
A I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art with a degree in printed textiles, and quickly discovered how difficult it is to enter the marketplace.
My dream was always to have my own shop, so it made sense after winning the Carnegie UK Trust Test Town Competition to set up shop and help other makers have a stepping stone into trade.
Q Who has helped you along the way?
A My family and friends, especially my partner John he is my backbone and my uncle, who gives me a reality check from time to time and the encouragement I need.
Business Gateway Fife has also been a great resource. If I’m struggling with anything I know that I can call my adviser Graeme Allan, who also recommended a number of useful workshops in marketing and social media which have helped me use Facebook to build awareness of my business.
Q What was your biggest mistake?
A I think I have always been too nice, and people have sometimes taken advantage of my nice nature.
Business can be tough, and I’ve had to develop a thicker skin.
Q What is your greatest achievement to date?
A Surviving my first year in retail.
Q What do you hope to achieve in the future?
A I hope to own a chain of stores and boutiques selling a whole range of items from homewear to clothes, as well as providing bespoke services such as our workshops and painted furniture.
This year my business will focus on online sales.
Q Do you want to recruit in the future?
A Of course. Currently I work with lots of small businesses and self-employed individuals by providing them with space to display and sell their work.
Q What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
A Juggling family life. I have two beautiful children, one with additional needs, so getting to appointments etc can be tricky at times. But my girls give me the fire in my belly to succeed.
Q Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
A Just do it. Plan and ruthlessly prioritise. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way.
Don’t confuse temporary bumps in the road with failure.