Once upon a time there a miserable engineer...
I have been making all my life, presents, furniture, gadgets, you name it I will probably try and make it. Having spent 25 years of my life in engineering design, usually in factories, I became unhappy, I worked in an industry built on driving down costs to maximise profits. Having 4 children the youngest of which is 7, I began to think about what they were learning from me going to work in jobs that were not making me happy.
Who changed his life
I decided to change career after taking voluntary redundancy and found what I was looking for at Northbrook College, Prop Making and SFX. I graduated from a foundation degree in summer '19 and immediately started PROPteam, 'Making things Better'. We have been designing and making peoples ideas come to life ever since. When I say we, I mean myself Jacques (PROPt), who is '2nd boss' and my 7 year old, who is of course '1st boss'. She's even offered mum a job once, she completes her training!
I'm Pickle Rick!
We have had a great start, my work, featured at this summers Comic Con London and Paris on the same weekend and other pieces went to the Henley Regatta and Crufts. I have worked with one of London's top new designers on a major installation, as well as serving my local community and charities, enjoying every day at work and loving what I do.
Here I am with my larger Pickle Rick and on the shelf; skull, eye, camera, mace, crown and alien head
We had just branched out, running an after school club for 'Crafty Kids' and Eco friendly children's parties using cardboard to design and make giant bespoke games. 'Mini Makers', has crafting at it's heart reusing, recycling and reducing the plastic party bag waste, by making tools needed to solve our escape room experience for kids. We had our first booking in January, the plan is to have more engagement with our local community and hold workshops during the holidays for children and adults.
Then the Coronavirus hit the UK and like a lot of businesses, ours has suffered, but not before I successfully landed a contract with a local award winning business to design and construct their new escape room and here I need your help.
I was going to be doing most of the work onsite, of course this has become impossible as working alone, in a confined space, with power tools is a dangerous. The owner though has faith in my work and still wants to open when the current crisis is over and is happy for me to work from home. The trouble is space, I cannot turn my living space into a full time workshop, part-time has been strain enough for the family so far and there isn't the room. The plan was always to use money from the business to build a workshop in the garden, but now needs must.
As a new business and a company director with no tax record, I am not eligible for any of the governments help package. With a business to save, my only way out, is to work our way through the next few months, which the escape room contract will allow. I would also be in a position to bid for more projects that I can build at home and deliver to site.
I had already enlisted the help of a top outdoor space designer and builder, whose work has featured on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, who we have consulted with. My partner, an interior designer with 20 years experience, has created these amazing drawings from our designs, and we've packed the studio with space saving storage and lots of natural light. In some ways now is the perfect time, as I'm here to do the work. This build was always going to be as eco-friendly as I could make it, solar powered and using recycled material where possible. I have managed to acquire some of the materials, from local business friends, that we are recycling, such as windows, structural wood and insulation.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for millions of British small businesses, which is going to make it very challenging for businesses to survive. Together we can help them.
Crowdfunder are offering up their platform to allow all UK small businesses to pre-sell their meals, events, hotel bookings etc. for cash now on a promise to redeem these at a later date.