Kate Toms: Riley & LaylaIt’s absolutely true! You wear a myriad of hats from bookkeeper, marketing guru, cleaner, employer, investor & general dogsbody! Often every waking hour is spent on what needs doing from placing orders, paying artists & suppliers, looking after employees, keeping your retail space fresh & inviting, keeping social media channels up to date, answering emails, thinking of new ideas, sourcing new suppliers, updating the web shop, visiting trade shows, the list goes on!

I’m sure all of us who own businesses have days when it feels like it would be simpler to go back to being employed, getting a pay cheque, paid holidays & sick leave and to just go home & be able to stop thinking about work.Oliver Pyle

But if I pause & focus again on the amazing things that come with owing a business & in particular a gallery, like the relationships that we’ve built over the years with artists, some of whom have become our closest friends – where would we be without them in our lives today? We can look back with huge pride & see how many artists’ & makers’ careers we’ve helped launch & others who have gone on to be picked up by well-known publishing & greetings card companies, whose artwork now reaches 1000s across the world – it’s an incredibly privileged position to be in, to have been part of someone else’s success & yes it does overwhelm us at times – we’re a soppy bunch at heart!

It also means that we are rooted in our community – not just by the physical presence of the bricks & mortar that make up the building but by the fact that we employ local people, helping them earn a living, supporting their families & being part of their lives. For our customers, we are often part of the happiest & sometimes saddest moments in their lives whether it be through the purchase of a greetings card, a birthday present or some framing – it can be really humbling & an aspect of our work that can easily be forgotten.

So the next time I get overwhelmed, I’ll take a deep breath, remind myself of the above and count my blessings!