Every picture tells a story
8 March 2012
Ten years ago Rebecca Sykes was a school drop-out teenage mum, out-of-work, visiting her boyfriend in prison and feeling very negative about her future. Now the young woman is seeking to expand her commercial photography business, meeting royalty and feeling very positive about her life and work.
Snap-happy businesswoman Rebecca runs Blush Photography from her office at Fairfield House in Barnsley town centre. She has worked hard to move on from her past and get to where she is today.
When Rebecca was 17, she left home, moved in with her boyfriend and abandoned her ‘A’ levels at Kingstone School. Then, when she was five months pregnant, her boyfriend was sent to prison for four years and she began to feel she had thrown her life away.
“I had thought of myself as a bit of a rebel, but then I was so depressed and ashamed. I hated taking my baby to prison on visits,” said Rebecca. She determined to turn her life around for the sake of herself and her son Louis.
“I had always dreamed of being a photographer,” said Rebecca. “So I decided to take an ‘A’ level in photography at Barnsley College and then a HND in photography at Leeds College of Art and Design.”
Four years later Rebecca celebrated her graduation with new partner Tim and, in April 2008, she set up Blush Photography. Since then her business has grown steadily with more and more assignments to take photographs at weddings, proms, toddler groups and schools.
She is now being supported by Enterprising Barnsley to market the corporate side of her business, to seek new clients and to investigate employing an assistant.
Rebecca said: “I am really happy with the way things are going and I now want to look at growing my business. At this quieter time of year for weddings and events, I am concentrating on marketing my services to more business clients under my corporate brand ‘Rebecca Sykes Photography’.”
Rebecca has already photographed products for delis and sweet shops and covered corporate events ranging from golf days to presentation nights and clay pigeon shoots to exclusive balls. Her client list includes RBS Insurance, Love2Eat, Greenflag and the Prince’s Trust, who gave her lots of support when she set up in business.
“The rebellious side of me thought mentoring from both the Prince’s Trust, and now from Enterprising Barnsley, was a bit un-cool at first – but I have learned so much about running a business. I’ve quickly realised it’s a good idea to get all the advice and guidance I can.”
Rebecca has also become an ardent ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and met Prince Charles twice – once at Clarence House and once when he recently visited Barnsley.
“I have spoken at Prince’s Trust events about my experience in order to encourage others to set up their own business and to persuade big business to financially support the Trust. It is a brilliant scheme. Meeting Prince Charles – twice – was fantastic too! My son Louis thinks it’s awesome.”
Enterprising Barnsley Business Development Manager John Heckingbottom said: “Rebecca’s energy and enthusiasm is borne out of her determination to turn her life around. She has developed her skills and confidence through an enormous amount of commitment to her business and also by doing things like public speaking for the Prince’s Trust. We are delighted to have such an ambitious young business woman in Barnsley and are pleased to support her plans to expand her client list across the region.”
The Enterprising Barnsley
programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential and has led to the protection and creation of more than a 1,000 jobs since it was set up in 2009. Supported financially by the European Union, phase two of the project has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Rebecca was awarded the 2010 Yorkshire and Humberside ‘Enterprise Award’ by the Prince’s Trust.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC). For more information about Enterprising Barnsley go to www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk
or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at firstname.lastname@example.org