Pod, the business accelerator hub launched to boost Bishop Auckland’s economic growth, is now offering creative ventures all-inclusive packages from as little as £30 a week.
Six new studios have been created within Pod, which to date has given more than 50 County Durham artists the opportunity to both sell and exhibit their work on an ongoing basis.
Now the call has gone out for ambitious and creative businesspeople to come forward and emulate the success of jewellery and homeware brand Gillian Arnold, which has increased its workforce and seen turnover double since becoming the first business to move into Pod just over a year ago.
Kate Gorman, Pod Manager, said: “Gillian Arnold is the perfect example of what the right business could achieve within Pod’s nurturing environment.
“Pod provides a great facility for local creative enterprises wanting space to grow and take advantage of the investment being made in the area, to tap into additional support services and mentoring to take their idea to the next level before moving out into the wider community.”
Gillian Arnold sells her jewellery, artwork and homeware through Pod. Since moving her business out of her Bishop Auckland home to the creative hub, she has added another 50 stockists nationally to the 100 who were already selling her creations, employed four new staff, and seen turnover double year on year.
Gillian said: “Pod has been a brilliant move for the business. It has given us the space to produce new and bigger products, take on staff and develop new lines, which in turn has seen our turnover double in just 12 months.
“Before this we were at breaking point in terms of the size of our operation and where we could take it. If we were still working from home we would probably be turning orders down.
“Part of the appeal of Pod wasn’t just the space, but the help and support it offers and the chance it will give us to help mentor the new businesses that will be moving in.”
Pod is looking to help creative businesses such as illustrators, web designers, jewellers, photographers, ceramicists, wood turners and leatherworkers.
Kate Gorman said: “Businesses will need to have a clear view of how they are going to grow their business and what their long-term vision is. Pod will be the place where they can experiment with new ideas and skills and seek out opportunities.”