Wednesday, November 15, 2017

News: Enterprising Rotherham tattoo artist makes her mark

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The founder of a town centre-based tattoo studio has won the coveted Rotherham Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and already has designs on expansion.

Emily Dawson from the Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective picked up the award, and £1,000 top prize, having stood out to the judging panel above a strong group of finalists.

Now in its twelfth year, the event - hosted by Rotherham Youth Enterprise and UK Steel Enterprise - recognises the achievements of business owners aged between 18 and 30, highlighting the breadth of talent and overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit of young people in Rotherham.

Based in the historic Imperial Buildings, Emily – the town centre's first female tattoo artist - manages a tattoo studio offering fully custom designs drawn by each artist on the team in their own individual style. The studio also hosts guest artists from up and down the country offering customers an even greater selection of looks to choose from.

Uniquely, everyone who works at the studio has suffered from mental health issues and the business is proud to support a number of mental health charities.

Speaking after the event, which was held at Magna, Emily said: "Tattooing is often not portrayed in a great light so I am over the moon that my business has been recognised not once, but twice in these awards.

"I wanted to be a tattoo artist from a very early age and have faced a lot of criticism and gender discrimination throughout my career. I put every penny I had into setting up Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective and I am extremely proud of both the studio that I have created and the industry in which I work."

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27 year old Emily had previously been recognised in the innovation category, which was sponsored by AESSEAL.

Presenting the award, Keith Williams of UK Steel Enterprise said that Emily had stood out for her customer service and ethical approach and showed the panel how the business was financially sound and had also created a place of work for others.

Surrounded by colleagues, friends and family, an emotional Emily said that she wasn't expecting to win.

The first studio opened in 2013 and plans are already being progressed for a second studio in the Old Town Hall to enable the business to offer more services and products to an ever increasing customer base.

Emily, added: "Despite many local businesses closing, Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective remains strong and prosperous, and the future of the business is bright. I have a huge passion for Rotherham and all that it has to offer. We have a strong sense of community and I believe that is the secret to having success within the town.

"I will be utilising the £1,000 prize fund to purchase an Apple iMac for my second studio, which is opening next week in the Old Town Hall in Rotherham town centre. The addition of the Apple iMac to my second studio will uphold the current high standards of Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective to ensure that the second studio is as successful as the first!"

Earlier at the event, Tom Ridgeway (25) of Cutthroats Barbershop was named the winner in the Business Most Determined to Succeed category, sponsored by the University Centre Rotherham. The judges highlighted that Tom was a shining example of a young entrepreneur who was committed to shaping the future with an inclusive approach to business.

The business judged to have the Best Online Presence, was Dynomodels. Sponsored by The Source Skills Academy, judges in this category were impressed by owner's, Adam Price (21), use of YouTube in showcasing his model shop's products.

Lucy Hornsby (19) of Lucy Amber Lingerie was the winner of the Best Customer Service category, sponsored by Parkgate Shopping. Judges said that one of the criticisms of online retailers is that they don't provide good customer service but Lucy proved them wrong.

In a new category, Sam Wilkinson and Luke Bell of Postify were the winners for the Best Pitch, which was sponsored by Fortem. The judges instantly understood the company's innovative approach to recruitment.

The remaining finalists were highly commended - Jordan Mangnall (20) of Jaded Heart Ltd; Abby Johnson (27) of Edit Salon; Amy Walker (25) of Ye Old Yorkshire Preserve Shoppe; and Katie Ferrie (25) of Knead Bakery.

Darren McDool, business coach from Rotherham Youth Enterprise, said: "The calibre of candidates that entered this year has again been exceptional. We had a fantastic mix of creative new start-ups and established growing businesses, representing the increasing number of entrepreneurial young individuals in our region."

Rotherham Youth Enterprise website
UKSE website

Images: RYE / UKSE

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