A pair of entrepreneurs from Oldham have turned their dreams of being business owners into a reality with the help of ForViva group member Villages Housing Association.

Tattoo artist Chris Fable launched Violet Studios on Yorkshire Street in November 2016 after teaming up with the landlord’s innovative Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat programme.

Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat was launched to support people looking to set up their own business ventures, with access to grant funding and one-to-one training and advice.

Chris had been creating designs and working in tattoo parlours for the past 12 years, before a friend convinced him to go it alone.

He won funding from Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat in a Dragons’ Den-style pitch where he explained his plan to open up space in his studio to other likeminded businesses.

He says having easy access to advice is vital for people starting their own businesses.

“When I was setting up I got lots of advice on tax and the start-up process,” he said. “Just to have someone on the end of the phone who can offer some guidance when you need it is really reassuring.

“The idea is to provide lots of different services out of the studio. Services already include tattoos, piercings, nails, eyebrow threading, professional makeup and tanning booths and we hope to have more soon.”

One of the businesses being run out of Chris’s studio is Dotty Nails and Makeup, which is owned by the inspirational Eve Hayes.

Mum-of-two Eve, 33, left her office job in human resources five years ago shortly after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

After taking some time off from work, Eve turned to the Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat programme when she had the idea of launching her own nail and makeup business.

Eve explained: “It took me a long time to recover after I was diagnosed with MS. I had to learn how to do a lot of things all over again.

“I decided I wanted to do something with my life and went back to college to study nails and makeup. I’ve always been very creative and I loved every minute of it.”

After initially providing her service from home Eve decided to take the plunge and look for retail premises expand into the studio, with a grant from Villages helping her to purchase the stock she needed to grow the business.

“I was working at people’s houses originally, which wasn’t very professional,” she said. “The support from Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat was really important in helping me get established. Now I just want to get on and do well.

“I’m so happy doing what I’m doing. If I could skip to work every day I would.”

If you have a business idea that you want to see become a reality, or would like to find out more about Don’t Keep it Under Your Hat, please contact Villages Housing Association on 0300 123 55 22 or email enterprise@villages.org.uk

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