Dream & Do

#BOSSLADYDREAM Finalist: Meet Helen Collins from The Fox Box

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Helen Collins from The Fox Box is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists! Check out her 60-second video here. We're announcing the winner of the $40k Business & Branding Package on 4 July…

What drove you to start your own business? 

The drive to start my own business first started when I saw a need for after school art activities in my local community. Parents would often ask me if I could recommend an art teacher for after school classes for students who weren’t necessarily involved in a lot of sports activities or who just wanted the opportunity to slow down and unwind after school. My drive was then ignited more when I realised the flexibility and freedom that came with being my own boss and the excitement of building my own creative adventure doing what I really loved! 

(If you need a shorter answer: Three things drove me to start my own business, seeing a need for something I had the ability to offer, having a desire to make a positive difference in kids lives, and my love for art.)

What has been your greatest challenge so far?

My greatest challenge is getting my head around all the ‘business side of things’, marketing, technology, procedures and processes, packaging… they all have been a big learning curve. Oh, and keeping it all going while adding two children to our little family was definitely an adventure! 

What has been one of your best highlights?

One of the highlights since starting my own business was running a four week public gallery exhibiting my students art work. The process of partnering with 3G Art Space (Kingston) and watching the public view and comment on their artwork, all being amazed that it was produced by kids, made me so proud of my students. The best part was watching the students confidence explode as they saw themselves as ‘real artists’. Witnessing the joy it brought them seeing their work displayed in a gallery, was just the best! 

How do you keep motivated being a boss lady?

My students are my biggest motivation, seeing the joy and confidence they get from taking part in art activities. Witnessing the difference ‘creative time’ makes to kids with special needs, particularly children with Autism, is also a huge motivation to me. And, who isn’t motivated by pretty paper, stickers, stationary and all things colourful and crafty!?!?! Chocolate and wine also help! 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration, business wise, is Zoe Foster-Blake. Her enthusiasm, humour and ability to create so much excitementaround a range of products she is passionate about producing, and balancing that with being a mum, really inspires me. 

(Others - coz it’s so damn hard to pick):

Clare Stephens - from Your Life Through a Lens Photography has been another amazing inspiration. Since I took a short photography course with her some years ago, her example of making big life changes to follow your passion and valuing yourself and what you do, have really motivated me to build my little business. 

Jacinta Ojwang, founder of Suluhisho Trust, is someone I look up to. Having personally experienced the incredible difference she is making in the lives of disadvantaged kids in Africa, her selflessness to others and the ability to not be overwhelmed by how big the worlds problems might be, making the resolve to make a difference regardless of how small it may seem, has helped me stay focused on the importance of how the ‘little differences’ we might think we are making can be such ‘big differences’ to others.)

What blogs/mags or insta feeds do you follow for you business?

The ‘COLLECTIVE’, ‘Frankie Magazine’ & ‘Breathe’ are mags that give me a balance of business advice, motivation, creativity, fun and reflective down time. I also get some inspirations from insta following Hilary Rushford, Your Life Through a Lens Photography, BLOG SOCIETY and Dream and Do. The Facebook Group “Like Minded Bitches Drink Wine” has also been a great source of information and support. 

What is the best quote, book or piece of advice that has been given to you on this journey? 

“Purple Cow” - by Seth Godin was definably an educational and inspirational book that gave me great advice on 'how to transform a business by being remarkable'. 

“Be authentic,” was also the best piece of advice a friend once gave me. Don’t try convince people something is better or more exciting than it is. Be real, and they will see how genuine what you offer is and if it’s right for them. 

What would winning the #BOSSLADYDREAM competition mean to your business? How will it change things for you in particular?  

Winning #BOSSLADYDREAM competition would mean an amazing opportunity for my little creative arts business, taking it from ‘hobby-business’ to much more 'significant business’! The opportunity to get the incredible support they are offering though so many awesome prizes would assist my business in the areas that currently aren’t my strong point. It would mean my art classes and subscription packs could reach a wider audience than just the small group that they currently do and make a difference in the lives of so many more kids. In a world where there seems to be so much bad news, being able to help more kids, particularly those with big challenges in their life, to see beauty in themselves and the world around them would just rock!

For me in particular, winning would make my dream of someday having my own studio, to reach out and support more kids, much closer to becoming a real possibility. I would also love to use an opportunity like this to empower other mums and teachers out there, like myself, who are trying to create a work life balance that’s right for them, by helping them set up art classes and little business of their own. I want to share the joy I’ve found with other creative women! Being able to incorporate running a business, inspiring kids, being a mum and supporting other mums and business women out there, would be what winning BOSS LADY DREAM would help me achieve!