interview

Candy Rafferty, Radio Borders Charity Manager, Headshot Interviews

Hi Candy,

Thank you for giving up some of your precious time to do this, I know how busy you are!  Let's get straight to it...

Can you tell us about yourself and what inspires you?

I work for Radio Borders, running their charity Cash for Kids, which supports disadvantaged children in our broadcast area.   We grant funds to individuals as well as other children's organisations, so long as they are local, and living in poverty or with an illness or disability.  I don't have to look far for inspiration.  A 9 year old I met last week for example, had recently been diagnosed with a terminal condition.  He's not expected to live through his teens and he is aware of that. I spent time with him and his incredibly brave family, learning about his illness so I could understand how Cash for Kids might help.   As I left, he ran after me, gave me a big hug and said"Thank you for helping other children too." 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

K2 in a white-out.   My desk is always snowed under.  In fact, by midday, there's a high risk of avalanche on to the news-desk next to mine.  I am only part time and solo.  Even with the help of my long-suffering colleagues, the summit always seems to be just out of reach. There's an endless range of tasks; I might be filling in a risk assessment, forecasting income or expenditure, writing a press release, processing an emergency application, dressing up as our mascot Courage the Cat, ordering disability equipment, clothing or bedding, writing thank you letters, paying bills, attending a school assembly, making a presentation, briefing volunteers, letting the listeners know what's happening with the charity. There are epic peaks and crevasses even in a day.  One minute I'll have my head in my hands, looking at a massive shortfall, and the next, I'll get a call from someone who's just run a marathon for us.  I am never, ever bored.

Which part of your job do you feel most passionate about?

My background is in advertising, I'm a copywriter to trade, and worked in London until I had children myself.   Two days a week I still work as a freelancer.  I love finding creative ways of getting a message out.  (Thanks for this one by the way!)  I'm so lucky to have that opportunity in both my jobs.

 

What tips would you give someone starting out in your industry.

Balance your head and your heart.  

What's the best feedback you have ever had.

From a social worker who phoned to let a Mum know Cash for Kids funding was on its way.  That phone call interrupted Mum in the act of taking her own life.  

She'd become so desperate, she felt her kids would be better off without her.  Just a few hundred pounds made the difference between three children having a Mum, and not. 

Who do you most admire in the world and why?

People often ask me how I stop myself crying when I hear the stories of abuse and neglect, or the challenges of disabilities, bereavement or homelessness. But I am driven to tears by the generosity of people who don't have a spare penny but still stick £1 in my collection can.  Or those who give up their precious time to help because through personal experience they know the true value of it.  Those people I admire.  And I am surrounded by them here.

Do you have a favourite quote that you turn to for inspiration? 

 "…always try and be a little kinder than is necessary."   Appropriately it's from children's author, JM Barrie.

What are your future plans for Radio Borders Cash for Kids?

I have a lyric on the back of my business card:  "...with a little help from my friends…" As the charity grows, I need to find more help.  A voluntary committee in every locality who can run fundraisers, attend events, or support our big campaigns like Mission Christmas. I need SM and digital expertise.  I need local businesses to get behind the charity, set up staff fundraising groups, I need friends to dedicate their time, energy, commitment and imagination to making sure every child in our community fulfils the potential they were born with.

Candy, that feedback, what can I say?  it is amazing what you do and it all sounds pretty hektic.  If any businesses or individuals would like some info on how to get involved and help please visit http://www.radioborders.com/charity/.

To apply for a grant from Cash for Kids please visit http://www.radioborders.com/charity/grant-application/

BeDigital Northumberland Springboard Programme

In October I was selected as one of 20 women entrepreneurs in Northumberland to participate in the fully funded 'BeDigital Springboard Programme' which is a 6 month intensive programme of business mentoring, masterclasses, meetups and Google+ mastermind sessions.

As part of BeDigital a photographer and a video company visited to help create my story, it's interesting to be on the other side of the camera and feel what my customers must feel like.  I usually love to chat but I found speaking on video very difficult!

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Thanks to RJM Photos and MC Media for taking the time to come up to Berwick, it was a great fun day.

Here is the interview article that accompanies the photography:

"Hi Sarah, can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to set up your business?

Hello, I'm Sarah, I have run a small business called Pictorial Photography in Berwick for 9 years now. I specialise in portraiture and photograph family groups in natural locations.  I also do professional business head shots for ambitious and creative individuals and I style themed backdrops for children's photo sessions in the studio.

I had wanted to be a photographer since the age of 14 after starting a beginners photography course at the local community centre, simply for 'something to do' as a bored teen in a small town. I soon became hooked on the magic of the darkroom and enjoyed photographing architectural details and dilapidated buildings. I furthered my studies at college with a graphic design and print background and went on to contemporary photographic practice at university. It was actually long after graduation that I discovered portraiture was where my passion really lay.

After studying I worked at Northumbria University Design School as an Apple Mac and photography demonstrator for 4 years. I helped students to realise their design and fashion ideas in the studio and demonstrated how to use specialist software to produce their work. After maternity leave I started to grow tired of the commute and wanted to spend time in a more creatively rewarding position that could work around having my own family. Employment in the creative sector is rare in a small town so starting Pictorial Photography seemed like a natural step.

What tips would you give other women who are thinking about setting up their own business?

Surround yourself with positive people. I am part of a very positive group of female photographers, which started on Facebook. We support each other with advice, ideas and encouragement. If there is a photography event or conference, we often meet up and go together - this is great as some of us might not go by ourselves, having the company of other female photographers is a real plus.

I'd also say not to be scared to ask for help - you can't do everything. For example, recruiting a professional copy writer to help with editing the text on my website saved a lot of time and enabled me to get across what I wanted to say in a much clearer way than I could have on my own.

We love your website and your studio looks fabulous - what are the benefits of the internet for your business?

Thank you! A lot of time has been spent in making my website easy to use and informative so that customers have a positive experience right from the start.

The internet also helps me run the business much more efficiently. I use tools like Eventbrite for managing online bookings, Paypal for taking payments and Mailchimp for creating and sending out newsletters. Sharing what is happening on social media is a great free way to keep in touch with my customers.

What are your future plans for Pictorial Photography?

Alongside what I already do, I have started to create online articles to help customers. I want to use the website to share lots of helpful tips, features and free resources. Currently I am writing an article on 'How to prepare your skin for a headshot session when you've only got one week to go'. This will make sure people get the most benefit out of their photography session. Providing more stuff online is something I'm passionate about and is an area I want to grow the business into."

 

Name of interviewee: Sarah Jamieson

Business name: Pictorial Photography

Website: www.pictorialphotography.co.uk

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/PictorialPhoto

Twitter:  twitter.com/SarahPictorial

Business type: Lifestyle Photographer

Location: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

You can visit the BeDigital website to find out more about the other women HERE, there are also great resources for those thinking of starting thier own business or just getting a bit more 'digital'.

New strategy planning - it outgrew the folder!

New strategy planning - it outgrew the folder!