My Business: Photography is my biggest passion, with travel and nature photography being my favourite subjects. I sell prints of my work from my studio, through stockists and online. I also really love design and finding a way to combine the two and have a giftware range of Glasgow Banter products which are stocked across Glasgow.
Starting Out: My journey into photography began in late 2006 when I got the opportunity to go and explore some of the far flung destinations I had been craving. I bought a semi-pro digital SLR and went travelling for 2 years, teaching myself photography along the way. It was a life changing trip and when I returned to Scotland I was well and truly bitten by the travel bug and decided to set up Lesley Williamson Photography on a part time basis in 2010.
Previous jobs: Mostly office based admin roles which has helped with the more tedious side of running a business.
“Typical” working day: I usually get up around 7 and I’m in my studio for 9, which I walk to as often as possible. I share my studio with 3 other creatives and we have a shop area which opens at 10am. I spend my morning replying to emails and catching up on social media, promotion, updating my website and Etsy shops etc etc. All the admin tasks that come with running a business. Then I process any wholesale and online orders and get them packed up. In the afternoon I work on new images or new designs. I’m currently working on a new textile range that I’m hoping to produce. In the evenings I work from home on anything that needs immediate attention and social media and then at the weekend I get out with my camera.
Self employment highs: Being my own boss and getting to photograph and create things that I really love. Seeing my work sell and raise a smile or a laugh or bring back memories of a place for someone. That’s very humbling!
Self employment lows: It can be stressful at times. The stakes seem higher. There’s only me there to do everything and it’s my reputation on the line if something goes wrong. It’s difficult to switch off even when you’re taking a break but I still wouldn’t change it as a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like work when you love what you’re creating.
Inspiration: I have been hooked on travel and nature ever since I was a young child and grew up on a staple diet of David Attenborough programmes. I would spend my time day dreaming about seeing polar bears in the Arctic or standing on the shoulders of giant mountains. Twenty years on, not much has changed. I call Glasgow my home and I’m very fond of it, but I’m at my happiest out in the wilds, camping and walking the hills or taking in the sights and sounds of a new rustic town. Watching the light change is a favourite pastime and photographing it has become something of an obsession. I seem to find inspiration everywhere I look.
Find me: I sell on my website, on Etsy, from my studio and from shops across the Glasgow area.
Business Achievements: Having my photographs published in magazines and products featured in The Herald and Sunday Mail. Stocking my work in some of my favourite little gift shops in Glasgow. Moving from a home office (corner of my living room) to an actual dedicated studio in January of this year.
Longterm Goals: I have a few other ranges that I’d like to put into production. The first is a textile range and I’d like to see that stocked in shops up and down the country. I’m working on a rebrand and creating a separate label for my product ranges which I’m hoping to launch later this year to set them apart from my photographic prints.
Promotion: Day to day I use social media, Facebook, Twitter etc and have found Facebook adverts to work quite well. I see daily traffic from Facebook through to my website as well as from Shop Scotland. The best promotion I’ve had came from working with The Glasgow PR Girl – Maria Ure. She helped push my Glasgow Banter range at the end of last year and made my year end sales the best to date.
Popular and Favourite Products: My favourite products at the moment are my Scottish Landscape canvasses. They are so vibrant and really great quality. My Glasgow Banter coasters and cards remain my most popular products.
With Hindsight: Go with your gut! I’ve made a few bad decisions along the way because I didn’t trust that nagging feeling. Don’t undervalue yourself or set your prices too low.
At Home: I have a fantastic copper lamp from Owl and Cat that I bought at a big event last year and a print from Orwell and Goode. I also have a landscape photograph from the Applecross Gallery that I bought on a trip up there last Autumn. It’s of the Torridon mountains.
Favourite Designers: I love the work of Holly Sharpe. I’ll eventually get a chance to buy one of her prints.
In my Private Jet: That’s a hard one. There are so many places. I’m going back to Italy this year. Iceland is an incredible place and I would go back to Australia in a heartbeat!
Favourite independent shop? Ae Fond Kiss
Favourite destination in Scotland? Glencoe and also Arisaig.
Favourite Scottish Tourist Attraction? Any of our castles.
Favourite Scottish Band? Chvrches
Favourite Scottish Celebrity: Ewan McGregor or James McAvoy
Hidden Scotland: Glen Affric is so beautiful.
Best thing about Scotland: The landscape.
Do you believe in Nessie? Of course!
Favourite Film: Jurassic Park
Favourite Book: The Harry Potter series
Shop Scotland – http://shop-scotland.com/lesleywilliamson.html
Website – www.lesleywilliamson.com
Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LesleyGrayPhoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lesleywho/
Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/lesleywphoto/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/lesleywphoto
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lesleywilliamsonphotography/
Massive thanks Lesley for being part of In the Shop Window. Look out for another of our Glasgow based members in the next Shop Window very soon ….