I've been busy letting you in to what happens behind the scenes at Holy Cow and I realised that you probably don't even know who we are? I'll start by telling you about my story so far.
My love of art started as soon as I was given a crayon to hold. It must have given me a buzz as I then drew on everything I could get my hands on. Walls, my brothers treasured cigarette card collections, of which he still hasn't forgiven me nearly 60 years later.
Whilst I was quite academic at school my favourite lessons were always art and creative writing. Both quite useful today.
My first job after leaving school was at a commercial photographers. We worked on t.v adverts, magazine shoots and exhibition displays. I loved it but sadly when the business took a financial hit, my job went too. I was gutted and remember clearly the huge thunder storm that was raging when my boss told me I had to go.
He suggested I went to art college and whilst I thought that would be a dream, my family circumstances meant I had to get paid work. Fast forward 2 years of working at Boots, and in an office reception both of which I hated with a passion, I finally walked into my local college and was handed a leaflet, literally as I opened the door, for a course studying exhibition and retail design. Talk about divine intervention. I signed up on the spot. This was on the Friday and on the following Monday I had to report to class with my portfolio. It took me the weekend working all hours to gather some of my artwork and also create some as I just didn't have a portfolio. I spent 3 fabulous years at art college and it was some of the best years of my life.
In my last year I got a work placement at John Lewis working as a display assistant. At that time John Lewis didn't advertise their stores so they relied on the display team to create promotions via the window and interior displays. I learned so much in the 3 years I worked their and then I moved to Top Shop to be their area display merchandiser. I bloody loved it there! I organised fashion shows, did window and interior displays for branches throughout the country and had a complete ball.
Whilst there I got pregnant and after having my daughter - the other half of Holy Cow - I needed to work but also decided I wanted a change. I saw an advert in the local paper for an art teacher at the secondary school I went to. I got the job there which was temporary and then I moved to another school just up the road from where I live, and taught there for nearly 9 years. I taught very little art and was busy as a member of the science and humanities teams. Again it was a dream job for me.
My career took another turn when a charity I was a volunteer at needed someone to step up and manage it. I took this new challenge on and we grew as a charity and so did I as a person.
When my marriage hit the rocks I needed work that wasn't as stressful and that would enable me to care for my daughter, I took a part time job in a call centre. I soon moved into a management position but, working too hard and having many years of stress took its toll on my health. I had to retire on ill health and the knock it gave to my confidence was huge. I retrained and became a self employed reflexologist, working form home in a summer house in our garden.
As that work became a challenge for me, I set up an Etsy store selling my work. it allowed me to work around my health challenges and also kept me sane.
Art still played a huge part in my life through all these twists and turns and it was always my side hustle to bring in more money to the home, as well as being a saviour for my mental health. The side hustle actually started when I was about 10 years old, and we all needed to pull together when Dad became ill. That early start gave me drive and also a sense of responsibility to provide for those I loved. That has never gone away.
Last year in the glorious nightmare that was the pandemic, a cuppa and a natter with Nat, made us decide to set up a t shirt store where I would create the designs and Nat would be the business whizz that she is. The rest you could say is what you see in the Holy Cow store.
I have really enjoyed the variety of careers I have had and, as I love learning new things, each role has given me some pride in my achievements there.
I shall get Nat to do a post where she lets you know her journey to Holy Cow next week so you will get to know both of the Holy Cows.
If you have any questions please do pop them below or whizz an email to us.