After a year of unemployment, ambitious young Natalie Luke from Duns decided it was time to take control of her future by launching her own business.
The 21-year-old graduated from Fife College with an HND in photography last June hoping to embark on a career in her chosen field.
But after months of searching for photographic work - and for jobs in other sectors – she finally made the decision to become self-employed.
And last week Natalie Luke Photography was officially launched.
“I’d invested a lot of time and money in gaining my qualifications, travelling from my home in Duns to Fife three times a week for two years because I am so passionate about photography,” recalled Natalie.
“I came out of college thinking I’d be able to find a job easily, but that wasn’t the case. It was a hard year but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.”
Natalie’s breakthrough came when she contacted the Business Gateway Scottish Borders advice service.
“It had always been my ambition to work for myself, but my plan was to get a job, get some money behind me and take it from there,” explained Natalie. “My failure to get that job merely accelerated my plan.
“Attending the Business Gateway courses for book-keeping, finance, social media, marketing and website developments was extremely useful.
“They all helped me understand what it takes to start a business. I was even advised to speak to Youth Business Scotland which gave me a grant to help with my start-up costs.”
Alongside weddings, portraits and special occasions, Natalie is looking to specialise in newborn baby photography and has even enrolled in a course to further develop the techniques required of the genre.
“I did some market research and found there is a demand for affordably priced newborn photography in the Borders,” said Natalie.
“My business lends itself to this because my studio is portable which means I will be taking pictures of babies – and all of my clients – in surroundings in which they feel comfortable.
“I also have a photo booth which can be hired to capture fun memories at events. This is also something people wanted, and so far it has been a hit everywhere it has been set up.”
Commending the new enterprise, Business Gateway advisor Lyn Galloway said many young people like Natalie were finding it hard securing work, even with qualifications.
“She has studied hard to launch her own business and our start-up courses have given here the knowhow, and the confidence, to get going,” said Lyn.
“Natalie is looking forward to helping people in the Borders capture special moments for years to come and we wish her every success.”
For more information on Natalie Luke Photography visitwww.facebook.com/NatalieLukePhotography
To find out how Business Gateway Scottish Borders can help you visit www.bgateway.com/scottishborders or call 01835 818315.