Mums Supporting Mums
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
Last year we got in touch with Shanelle Cunnigham who runs the brilliant social media campaign - SW Mamas that Can. She helps promote and support the amazing work many mums are doing in our local area in running their own businesses. You can read her blog here https://medium.com/@shanellecunningham84/emma-cole-gallery-piccolo-a79cdd157246?fbclid=IwAR1Jph4t0RwnAey9dou_hXVxg_UiYh4VCyGvDLFpcM9cWM3nepoiem1rUrw
and follow her on social media https://www.facebook.com/SWMamasThatCan/
What inspired you to start your own business?
The idea for Gallery Piccolo was formed through my own experiences of searching for art for my children’s rooms.
It was a few years ago when my children were a bit younger. I became frustrated with the lack of good quality original art which is suitable for a child’s room. I really struggled to find affordable but quality art which would look fantastic in your home but would also inspire a child. I believe children respond positively to something more challenging and visually stimulating and greater credit can be given to them in terms of their aesthetic tastes. The websites I found were not specifically aimed at art for children and I saw a gap in the market for this type of artwork.
What challenges / hurdles have you faced?
I suppose I’ve realised not everyone feels the need to have art in their life! For me it is a must and when I can afford to buy something, I always will! I read recently that art is the most discretionary of purchases which means you’re selling to a desire rather than a need. However, the affordable art market is growing hugely and I do believe we’ve got something for everyone. The other challenge I face is spreading the word over the internet. Finding a cost effective way of driving enough people to your website is difficult and often requires some creative thinking.
What do you like best about your job?
I like loads of things about my job, but the best bit is all the different types of people I’ve met. My life has become richer and more interesting for meeting the other mums in business, local businesses, different artists and customers.
Tell me a Mama That Can story…
I find it hard to think of myself as having done something amazing! But sometimes I think about the fact that I’ve taken the plunge and started my own business. I had never worked for myself before and not having anyone to guide or encourage you means that everything you’ve achieved has been done solely through your own hard work!
Top 3 tips for other SW Mamas That Can
1. Stay positive. It can be tough but forcing yourself to focus on the good helps you to keep going.
2. Network! Having people around you to talk about ideas and support you is really important
3. Turn off your phone every now and again! — Running your own business is very all consuming. So I would recommend switching off the phone and social media for periods of time to have a break and spend that quality time with your kids, family or friends. Easier said than done!
Do you have any Real Mama Moments to Share?
My girls are a past the tricky baby and toddler stages now so those type of moments are fewer than before fortunately! But we still have our moments! I was chatting to one of our artists the other day about the challenges of travelling on aeroplanes with babies and children and it reminded me of the time I was flying alone with my two girls. By the time I arrived at Gatwick I was so exhausted, carrying bags and babies, I wasn’t sure how I’d make it to baggage claim to collect the buggy when one of those mobility cars took pity on me and offered us all a lift to passport control. I will always remember the relief and how amazing it was to speed long and avoid the queues! Everyone time I see one I remember the feeling and gratitude I felt!
Any upcoming events?
During December there will be an exhibition of framed works from Gallery Piccolo at our local business coffee shop ‘Coffee in the Wood’. We are back there by popular demand! Perfect some last minute Christmas presents!
Favourite item / product?
Very hard to answer! I love all of the work on the site as I have chosen it all myself. However, I have just uploaded a new print by very talented and well established Bristol based artist; Sylvia Bull and I was looking again at her superheroes prints. They are so empowering and full of energy for little girls I think. I just love them.