Vicky Cottrell of the Goldfinch Gallery in Comrie, talks about how she came to found the contemporary arts collective in Perthshire.
The Goldfinch Gallery showcases the work of artists who use a range of media including paint, glass and wood and also has a shop selling unique items.
The venture now has an online presence after Covid-19 saw the shop close temporarily.
Q. How and why did you start in business?
A. I’ve always mostly worked for myself. I spent time in London during the 1980s as a painter and decorator, and I’ve always had a passion for art but it’s getting the confidence to really pursue it that can take time.
When I moved up to Perthshire, I took an evening class in stained glass and started making pieces for shops, markets and galleries.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
A. I had been taking part in craft fairs all over Scotland as well as making pieces for galleries for a number of years, Comrie has always had such an abundance artist and creatives, so a couple of years ago when the opportunity of a shop in the village came up it seemed the perfect time to have a go at setting up a gallery and run it as a collective.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
A. I’ve had amazing support from friends, other creatives in the community and from GrowBiz, who have given me a lot of advice and guidance. People in Comrie have been hugely supportive as well, they have been very engaged in helping local businesses during a very challenging time.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
A. I once left the heating on in the gallery for a long period of time and ended up with a very large bill to pay. You live and learn.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?
A. Getting the gallery up and running and making it work as a collective.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted your business?
A. At the time of the first lockdown we had no on- line presence what so ever, so we were effectively pushed into building the website as fast as possible.
With people being at home so much more during the pandemic, I think this has led to them really wanting to take the time to invest in making their surroundings more lovely, welcoming spaces.
As well as the whole ethos of wanting to support independent locally run businesses has brought them into the gallery to pick up unique, creative pieces.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
A. I’d like Goldfinch to become more well known and established in the Scottish gallery world.
Q. Do you want to recruit in the future?
A. We run as a collective so everyone pitches in and helps run the gallery so it’s not on the agenda in the short term.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
A. Keeping up with all the admin and juggling everything that needs to be done.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
A. Make the most of all the advice and support that’s available out there.
And don’t be afraid to go for it – take the leap.
Q. How do you relax?
A. I enjoy tackling the garden and socialising with friends when we are allowed to.
I also like getting over to Greece which is my go to place for recharging and getting creative inspiration.