Tell us about you and your business?
We started PAPER as a Publication that developed into pop-up spaces, which gave birth to a more collaborative shop environment called Co-LAB for youths to showcase their artwork. It was a match of Creative Employment Programme and youth incentive schemes through Bristol Job Centre. We had five interns working across various jobs including the café and shop. We originally signed a five year lease for Co-LAB and PAPER Arts in Broadmead but had to close it last year to focus on Redbrick House. Redbrick House is a collaborative creative workspace for practice, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs with a social mission.
What’s been the best part of starting up your own business so far?
Making a difference- seeing the impact that you make on the lives of young people.
What has been the biggest hurdle with your SME?
The closure of CoLab last year- a series of events including overspending on refurbishment, having to split a team across two buildings and failure to hit targets in the shop meant that we had to close last year. We are planning to reopen a Co-LAB somewhere in Bristol real soon!
What’s a standard day like for you?
Emails! I spend the majority of my time writing applications for funding/grants and developing relationships and partnerships with others. When I get time to get away from my emails and work with young people developing their creative practices or run one of our networking sessions at Redbrick House, then the emails are all worth it.
What do you typically wear to work?
Casual clothes, I like to be comfortable. I love geometric patterns, so you’ll normally see me wearing something geometric. Trainers are necessity. We have a lot of stairs!
In 5 years time where would you like to see yourself and the business?
The organisation being self-sufficient and creating the social impact we want- not having to fit into other people’s boxes.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting up their own company, what would it be?
Know your limits- what you can do, what you can’t do. Don’t kill yourself as you need to be alive and kicking to fight these causes!
To find out more about the amazing work headed by Simone at Co-LAB and PAPER Arts and creative co-working head over to redbrickhouse.org.uk