Name: Nelly Naylor
Graduating Year: 2014
Degree: BA (Hons) Photography
Location: The Workstation, Sheffield
During her final year at University, Nelly began shadowing wedding photographers in the area, to improve her portfolio and experience. She also attended a range of workshops at the Careers and Employability Centre on things like business management and self-employment. Nelly used her motivation to work hard on her grades and gain experience where she could however, she found it difficult to keep this up initially, after heading home upon completing her degree. After working at a restaurant for a short while and taking a breather after all that hard work, she received an offer to be the manager of a studio based in her home town of Hull!
In this position, she gained a lot of valuable experience, not just in using a studio to capture family portraits and more, but also with regards to managing staff and the business side of things. After just under a year in this role, Nelly decided to head out on her own, using what she’d learnt to develop her own business, in her own way. “The next day I went downstairs in my dressing gown and got started. My parents thought I was nuts!” Even though she had no idea what to do and where to start, she began making marketing materials, designing her brand and logo etc., developing the face of her company.
Although her business started off small, with friends and family, Nelly soon found she was travelling all over the place, doing events, pop-up studio shoots and all sorts! This meant her portfolio expanded rapidly and gained some diversity but, she felt almost as if she were rolling with things and not knowing where she was headed. Things changed when she moved back to Sheffield around a year ago, even though she had more bills to pay and more things to think about, she had the full support of the Sheffield Hallam Careers and Employability Centre right at her fingertips.
“I’ve had so much help from the Careers Centre and Enterprise Team since I’ve been back in Sheffield, I’ve got a mentor, and I mentor students myself, I have several business advisers and there’s help there whenever I need it.” Nelly has also been networking fiercely since coming back to Sheffield, with the help of Jill White she’s met with hundreds of freelancers and local small businesses. She also goes to several events at Hallam and beyond to help others, promote the Careers centre services and offer advice.
“My advisers at the University are always there for anything, big or small, they’ve become more like friends. Five years of support is a long time when you think about it, but when you’re building a business it’s a vital lifeline and, I never get the feeling it’ll end there. They’ve even helped me arrange a working space in the Workstation building and helped me with funding, working alone can be lonely, it makes a big difference having somewhere to go every morning and having people around you, working towards similar goals.”
If you want to get in touch with Nelly for any advice, help or just a friendly chat, she’s one of the most cheerful, kind people in Sheffield! You can find all her contact details and website links at the top of the page.
This is the first of a series of Hallam Insiders blog posts about Enterprising Sheffield Hallam students and their experiences so, keep an eye out for the rest of the series!