Helen Edwards has that magic number, 15. That number crops up so often when I talk to creative mums. It seems that 15 years of gathering expertise, working for other people is about the right time for lots of people to then have families and launch their own thing.
Helen put 15 years into artist management and print art production, and five years ago she launched her own thing.
Helen’s thing is East End Prints, and it has a new pop-up at Fount London, where I saw their first pop-up their at the Fount launch.
Helen has one 3 year old under her wing, her own business and is still managing to keep it all afloat 5 years in. How does she do it? Read on to find out.
Tell me in your own words about being a creative mum?
It’s hard work but rewarding isn’t it? 13 weeks holiday is not really what any freelance or ‘mum-preneur’ can practically take off their business to keep it going is it? When I find myself whizzing down a slide midweek it makes up for all those late nights answering emails and putting together costings!
Who makes up your family?
My three year old son, my partner and my entire creative family. East End Prints started out of my love for what my friends were creating , they are just as much family in any real sense of the word.
What is your creative outlet?
Ha ha good one. I studied up to MA level in Photography loved it, had some exhibitions then moved over to the curation side. My creativity is currently fed into the business, I think making money in any sense is creative problem solving. We have weekly meetings with the team coming up with new ideas for marketing campaigns and content, it’s fun but my real true ‘artist self’ is currently on hold!
How and when did you come to start East End Prints?
East End Prints started 5 years ago in 2010 after growing out of group exhibitions and events I was organising in Shoreditch. Myself and various other guest curators would put together themed exhibitions with 100 ‘s of artists , the print side of it just grew. We had a crazy period when WGSN style gurus and Clarks came to our type show to see what we were up to. My background is in fine art publishing so I had plenty of artist contacts that were ready to license.
What does it mean to you and how does it make you feel?
To last 5 years in any art business in todays climate is good! We are growing, we have an office and staff, something I only dreamed of! Trouble is when you get an idea in your head its hard to let it go and I need to keep the business manageable whilst my son is still young. The competition is fierce too, everyone wants to sell prints, however we have just been approached by two more key UK retailers so its an exciting time and competition always keeps you on your toes, ensuring you have a unique, quality product at the right price.
What is the hardest part about it?
The hardest part is going at a sustainable rate that I see my son grow up. I just there were more hours in the day, like fitting in a meditation or a yoga session!
What or who is your inspo?