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Design Business Bootcamp

The Design Business Bootcamp is a short course with a leading design expert to develop design startups and give them the support and ideas for the next steps of their businesses.

Design Startup: Build Your Own

Design Startup is a 3 day business start-up program covering three of the key elements of getting your business off the ground – ideation, prototyping and selling your work.  This series of taster workshops allows startups to start planning these elements for their own business idea and get a business idea off the ground within a short but focused period of time.

#blickstudios on
The first of our summer events to be announced this week is our summer meet. A get-together with 2 amazing local creative speakers sharing their stories for other creatives to gain inspiration and connect with other like-minded creatives.


 Theme: Courage

Having the courage to start something. It always takes courage to start something. To do things differently and follow your own path. In the current climate of financial uncertainty it takes even more courage to go for it and follow your dreams. In our first proper in-person event since 2020, in this period of uncertainty and rebuilding, ‘Courage’ seemed the perfect theme to pick to inspire us all to stay motivated, have the confidence to put ourselves out there and keep going.

We have invited 2 local speakers to be announced shortly to share their creative journeys and stories of courage at our summer get-together which will be followed with the opportunity to catch up and connect with a small group of local creatives in a relaxed and informal setting.


Event Details

Date: Wednesday 23rd August 2023

Time: 8.00-9.30pm

Venue: Blick Shared Studios, 51 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6RY

Cost: Free
BOOK YOUR TICKET on our website. Link in bio

This August, we are excited to return with our first program of in-person events since 2020. A series of summer workshops and gatherings for creatives who want to take some time out for themselves, to develop their creative ideas and to connect with other like-minded creatives. More details coming soon

#belfastcreatives #belfastcity #belfastartists #creatives #creativehub #creativespace #creativeworkspace
Love the light that comes down through the lightwell in our Cotton Court studios in the Cathedral Quarter #creativehub #studiospace #creativeworkspace #productivespaces #workingspace #cathedralquarter #Belfast #cqbelfast
Some Easter reading for anyone still off or taking it easy at work this week. One final post for now on the first series of ‘Our Time is Now’ video podcast made in collaboration with Creating A Space. 

The series shares the stories of 5 different Belfast creatives. We have tried to showcase a diverse range of creatives from different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, ages, education, skill sets, and sectors to show that anyone with the drive and determination can be successful in starting their own creative business.

There are a lot of different things to take from each individual interview, as well as some ongoing themes that feature throughout. If you dream of running your own creative business here are some things we thought were most important that came out of the series of interviews.

1. You have to be brave, believe in yourself, be willing to put yourself out there and risk failure

2. Following your passion will keep you motivated and inspired

3. You have to be authentic and stick to your values for people to connect with you and your brand

4. You have to be consistent in your efforts, trust the process, keep going and not give up

5. You can be successful no matter what age you start and no matter what your background

6. There are many mediums to express your creativity and many ways to be successful

7. The road to success is not linear; everyone suffers failures and encounters personal and professional problems and challenges. It's how you respond to those challenges that matters

8. You create your own luck by putting yourself out there and saying yes to opportunities and taking risks

9. Financial uncertainty can be the push you need to become successful. It can help you to focus and force you to commit

10. Running a creative business is hard but it can offer you the opportunity to live life on your own terms

We wrote a blog with more details on our website (link in profile)

We hope that you have enjoyed this video podcast series and feel inspired to follow your dreams. Thank you for following us on this journey over the last 6 weeks and listening to these incredible people.

If you missed the interviews the links are all in our profile.
Happy Easter! the sun is shining, and it finally feels like spring. If you're self-employed, it can be tempting to work over holidays as you don't get paid otherwise, and there is always something useful you could be doing, but try and take a break this Easter weekend. Enjoy the good weather and some time off to relax and rest without feeling guilty, and you will be more productive when you return to work

#Easter #self-employed #self-employedlife #self-employedcreative #smallbusinessowners #creative entrepreneurs #worklifebalance #prioritiserest #worksmarter
Our Time is Now Tony McGaharan – What we Learnt

We wrote a short blog about our ‘Our Time is Now’ interview with Tony McGaharan. Tony is a learning designer and founder of @peopleplaybook  a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive. Tony is our fifth and final interviewee for this series of ‘Our Time is Now’ video podcast

Here is a summary of what we learnt from Tony’s interview (full blog on our website) :

1. Travel opens your mind, broadens your horizons and helps you grow

“I learned a lot about myself in this new environment, launching into a new family, a new school, a new country, a new culture, everything. That really boosted my confidence, in a way that was indescribable and inspired me in a way I didn’t think would be possible. That I would start to see my life outside of Belfast. More globally.”

2. Putting yourself out there and gaining experience will lead to opportunities

“The opportunity came up to apply for a head coach job. I had to apply. I had to take the risk.I put my best foot forward and got the job. It was such an incredible experience for me. So formative, taking on a leadership role at such a young age.”

3. Take risks and say yes to opportunities in order to grow

Throughout his interview Tony talks about his experiences of saying yes to opportunities, moving to America and Sweden. Dublin and Singapore and different job opportunities, coaching basketball and at Google. He shares how these experiences have shaped his life, built his confidence and skills and led to further success and unplanned opportunities.

4. Follow your own path and live life on your own terms

“The beauty of this life that we get to live is that you can do it however you want.”

5. Don’t be too fixed on what you believe is the path you are meant to follow

“I’ve always had hope and optimism that if this one thing that I think is amazing doesn’t work out there are a million other things that I could do.”

You can read the full blog on our website, you can also listen or watch Tony's full interview online now (links in profile)
What an amazing week it’s been hearing Tony McGaharan's beautiful story around building confidence and taking risks. Tony is a learning designer and founder of @peopleplaybook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and interactive.

Tony is our 5th and final interviewee for this series of ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted to be sharing his full hour long interview with you today.

From the beginning of his journey, Tony has put himself into different circumstances to grow as a person. He always knew that he wanted to follow his own path and not be limited to staying in Belfast. We get to hear how he has lived in different countries working with Google, to then moving back to the UK for love and realizing that it was time to leave Google altogether.

That led him to start thinking about what he could create on his own and finally took the big leap to start his own business in March 2020. He shares that he started out in his bedroom with a laptop to now having several offices and a team of people. Tony shares gratitude for all the people who had the confidence to trust him and give him an opportunity to grow.

We hope that you enjoy this full-length interview and take the inspiration to follow your own dreams, to pursue your own path, and have the courage to do so.

Thank you for following us on this journey over the last 5 weeks and listening to these incredible people!

You can listen or watch Tony's full interview online now (links in profile and below)

On Spotify:

On Youtube:

Or find Tony's and all the other interviews on our website:

#entrepreneurship #entrepreneurs #businessjourney #Belfast #belfastcity #ourtimeisnow
Our Time is Now: Tony McGaharan on being open to opportunities and seeing where the path leads

In this clip, Tony shares how he came home from Sweden, finished his teaching degree & was working with a non profit organisation, whilst being a freelance coach & facilitator.

In this period, he then got an amazing opportunity to work with Google & joined this incredible job in Dublin.

He shares that he was in Dublin for a year & half, and was going through a break up, which lead him to apply for a role in Singapore.

There is a running theme throughout this story of being open to opportunities & seeing where the path leads.
Our Time is Now: Tony McGaharan on the beauty of living life on your own terms

In this clip, Tony encapsulates what this project is about. He talks about how everyone has their own journey to take, their own path to follow and how we are all meant for so much more.

Tony talks about how he has developed an optimistic mindset around what he has created.

He shares that if we can take the pressure off a specific path that might feel linear & 100% what we want to do - hold on to that, but keep in mind that there are many other ways to build a career & the life that you want.

Tony shares that this mindset gives him comfort & enables him to take risks.

How inspiring & so powerful!

#personaldevelopment #personaljourney #business journey
Our Time is Now: Tony McGaharan on taking risks to build confidence.

In this clip, Tony shares a beautiful story illustrating how he built his confidence in his early 20’s. Tony moved to Sweden when he was 21/22 to take an Erasmus year and ended up staying for a full year acting as a coach for a female basketball team. He shares a moment when he was doubting himself and didn’t feel like he was qualified, but overcame that doubt by believing he could learn what he needed to.

He really believed that he could do it and anything that he lacked in skills or experience, he could make up for by his passion to learn.

This is a great story about putting yourself out there and taking the risks you need to move forward towards the dreams that you have.

Stay tuned for the full release this Friday!

#confidence #businessjourney #coaching #Belfast #smallbusiness #Belfastcity
We are so excited to share with you our last interview of this podcast series. Over the last 5 weeks, you have heard from such a range and diverse group of people who live and thrive in Belfast.

This week we are excited to share Tony’s story. Tony McGaharan is a learning design and founder of People Playbook @peopleplaybook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive. Tony is our 5th and final interviewee for this series of ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted to be sharing his interview with you this week.

In this clip to start the week, Tony dives into how he struggled with confidence as a kid, but developed his confidence through living in a different country when he was young. He shares how, by living in America, it inspired him to think about his life differently. Tony talks about how he always knew he wanted to work with young people, so he started coaching basketball at a young age. This was the building blocks of his life, and the lessons he learnt during that period run through his entire life until now.

Stay tuned for the full release this Friday!

#creativejourney #learningdesign #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #learninganddevelopment
Our Time is Now: Tanice Samuels on being a fashion content creator and influencer?

What an incredible week it has been to hear Tanice Samuel's @taniceelizabeth story! We are delighted to be able to share the full episode today. 

Tanice is a content creator and influencer and the 4th creative we have interviewed for 'Our Time is Now' video podcast series which focuses on telling the stories of creatives from Belfast.

In her interview we hear about Tanice's creative journey from getting pregnant at 18, through studying and working in Law for 10 years and how through using Instagram to express her creativity through fashion and makeup and her style overtime she was approached by brands and became a professional content creator and influencer.

Tanice dives into what being a content creator is like, how she navigates her job and gives us a peek into the fashion world.

Tanice’s story is a story of determination and resilience. She talks about how important it is to be yourself if you want people to connect with you online.

We hope you enjoy this conversation and are inspired to create your creative dreams.

You can find Tanice's online on YouTube and Spotify links below and in our profile.

You can watch the episode on Youtube:

Or listen to it on Spotify:

You can also find all the episodes and video clips on our website:

This project is in collaboration with Creating A Space @creatingaspace who directed & produced this series.

This project is supported by Belfast City Council

#contentcreation #creativewomen #creatives #creativeentrepreneurs #creativeentrepreneur #creativejourney #creativewoman
Our Time is Now: Tanice Samuels on having the courage to leave a stable job and steady income to become a self-employed creative 

In this clip, Tanice shares how she turned a hobby into a business and became a professional content creator. She shares how she always remained true to herself, her values, and only working with brands that she aligned with.There is such a thrill when you pursue your creative path full time. The road is scary because you don’t have a consistent income. However, you can push yourself to go get your dream & make it a reality. What an incredible story so far, and we hope you’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Tanice! 

Stay tuned for the full release tomorrow!

#self-employment #creative #contentcreator #contentcreation #selfemployed #creativebusinessowner #creativeentrepeneur #creativejourney
Our Time is Now: Tanice Samuels on using your creativity to help you through tough times

It’s so incredible to have heard so many stories of resilience within this project so far. How people have lost their loved ones and overcome grief, which lead them to really expressing themselves creatively
In this clip, Tanice shares how she lost her dad a few years ago and how that impacted her mentally and physically
She shares how she felt so lost and didn’t know what to do with herself.
When she took some extended time off from work, she started documenting her life, sharing the things that she loved.
Form there, her husband said that she should post the photographs she was taking on Instagram and that became the start of her creating her brand.
Creativity was the thing that got her through the hardest time in her life.
How incredible.
Stay tuned for the full release this Friday

#contentcreation #creative #creativeentrepreneurship #creativeentrepreneur
Our Time is Now: Tanice Samuels content creator and influencer - have you ever struggled with being your full self?

In this clip, Tanice shares her journey of working as a lawyer for 10 years before embarking on her creative career and gives us an insight into what the corporate world can be like.

She shares that in the corporate world, it’s very focused on climbing the career ladder and how many men would rise through the ranks.

She shares that it wasn't a place for her to express her full self and that she wasn’t able to express her creativity.

Stay tuned for the full release this Friday!
Our Time is Now:: Tanice Samuels content creator and influencer - have you ever had people not believe in you?

Welcome back to another week of wonderful stories! We are so excited to kick off this week with the incredible Tanice Samuels @taniceelizabeth who is a content creator based in Belfast.

This week, we dive into her story of how she got pregnant at 18 and was determined to finish school and go to university to study law. 

She shares that she pushed herself because she wanted to create an amazing life for her and her son.

What an inspiring story hopefully it will give you the motivation needed for this wonderful Monday evening!

Stay tuned for the full episode release this Friday!

#ourtimeisnow #contentcreator #creativejourney
#businessjourney #inspiration
Don’t forget you can listen to the full hour long interview with Mel Carroll illustrator, designer and the founder and director of Usfolk Illustration agency now on Spotify and Youtube (links in profile). We also wrote a short blog on some of the key things we learnt from Mel’s interview. 

1. Art and Creativity can be a useful outlet and a tool for self-expression and personal development

“I used art as escapism. It allowed me to disappear into my own world.”

“Instead of being the queer kid I was the kid who was really good at drawing.”

“My creativity came from my queerness.”

2. The journey to success as a creative isn’t always linear or easy

“My whole university history is pretty messy. I had a mental breakdown. I lost my mum when I was a late teenager doing my A-levels. I don't think I properly dealt with it.”

3. Sometimes, the toughest experiences in life turn out to be the most valuable

“In hindsight, it was one of the best things that happened to me. When I was first in university, I didn't really appreciate it. I wasn’t really interested in the learning aspect. It was more about the partying and the fun. When I went back, I felt really lucky to be able to do it. Financially, it wasn’t easy for me. But I really appreciated every minute of it.”

4. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and put in the hard work to build your skills and portfolio

“It’s your portfolio that matters.”

“When starting out, I didn’t have the skills I needed, but I was pretty sure I was going to learn them. I think you have to put that effort in when you are starting out.”

5. You only live once and should follow your passion

“Something that I regret not doing when I was younger was not following my passion for painting.”

“Follow your passion for drawing and painting and never stop.”

You can read the full blog on our website (link in profile)

#ourtimeisnow #illustration
#illustrator #creativejourney
#artist #Belfastcity #usfolk #usfolkillustrate
Our Time is Now: Mel Carroll - what piece of advice would you give your younger self?

This is a question that we always ask at the end of each interview. It’s always so beautiful to acknowledge your journey on how far you've come & what it has taken for you to get to where you are now.

In this clip, Mel shares that he wishes that he followed his passion more instead of being so worried about getting an adult job.

He shares his passion for fine art painting & to lean more into what brings you joy.

It’s been such an amazing week hearing Mel’s journey & we are so excited to share the full release of the episode tomorrow!

#creativestartups #creativejourney #followyourdreams #followyourpassion #artist #illustration
Our Time is Now: Mel Carroll on putting yourself out there 

In this clip, Mel shares his journey of how he got his first job creating logos. He shares that he didn't have the skillset or didn't feel like he was qualified for the job, but pushed himself to get better at his craft.

This then led to him building an amazing skill set within branding.

He shares that it’s important for creatives to put themselves out & build their portfolios to get the type of work they want!

Stay tuned for the full release this Friday!
Our Time is Now: Mel Carroll on dealing with grief and mental health struggles

In this clip, Mel shares with us his journey with grief, his mental health & how his mother passed away when he was a teenager.

He shared that he had to be taken out of university after having a mental break down & then came back a year later, only to find himself more in love with what he was doing.

It’s so refreshing to hear these types of stories because we can always assume that everyone’s journey in linear & straight forward.

It’s beautiful to hear the rawness & openness on how Mel navigated all of this at such a young age.

Stay tuned for the full release this Friday!

#creativeentrepeneur #illustrator #artist #creativejourney #mental health #creativity #creativebusinessowner #creativeentrepreneurship #business #businessjourney #businessstory
Our Time is Now: Mel Carroll on using your art and creativity as an escape

Happy Monday, everyone! We are so excited to start a new week with a new story! 

We are delighted this week to interview Mel Carroll @melcarroll_usfolk who is a designer, illustrator and the founder of UsFolk illustration agency @usfolkillustrate

In this clip, we get to hear how Mel had a huge passion for art and design from very early in his life. 

He tells us that he knew he was gay from a very young age and used art as a means to escape as well as to develop skills that gave him confidence and validation. Being good at drawing meant he wasn't seen or didn't feel like just that 'queer kid'.

He beautifully shares that his “creativity came from his queerness” 

Stay tuned for the full release on Friday!
Don't miss the full hour long interview we did with Linzi Rooney as part of our new video podcast series 'Our Time is Now' 

Linzi shares her story and creative journey from graduating from art college and working in journalism and photography to founder and owner of @wearebornandbred_ a Belfast City Centre store and e-commerce brand specialising in  Belfast and Irish themed gifts 

Link to watch or listen in our profile 

#creativewisdom #creativejourney #creativeentrepreneurship #creativeentrepreneur #businessjourney #Belfast #belfastcity #creative #businessadvice #creativeinspiration