Business Incubator and retail academy in Paisley, Scotland
Kate Pickering

Kate Pickering

Kate founded Vanilla Ink in 2009 with the goal to bridging the gap from education into industry. Knowing that it can be difficult to find your place within the ever changing landscape, Kate developed Vanilla Ink designed to support and promote jewellers in the early stages of their careers.
Having a degree in Jewellery herself and a masters in design, Kate understands the difficulties new designers face when setting up their own business and Kate wanted to create a space that allowed collaborations, mistakes and time to reflect.

Business Descriptor: Vanilla Ink is Scotland’s unique jewellery studio, with the aim of developing new talent by providing a supportive incubator ‘pod’. Vanilla Ink enables the UK’s best new designers to develop and grow their business in a fully equipped workshop, with each ‘Inker’ given tailored mentoring and monthly professional development workshops throughout the year- the perfect starter package to ensure each ‘Inker’ develops confidence and business skills to last a lifetime.
We think there is a difference between making jewellery and being a jeweller; the difference between having a dream and making it real is understanding the market and your place in it; and that there is a need for a supportive transition from education to independent success as a maker. We know it’s a big and sometimes scary world out there but only if you’re on your own. That’s why we offer a friendly, collaborative and an affordable studio environment, expert one to one mentoring from industry professionals, tailored business advice and support, and time to find your feet, make mistakes and make your mark.
At Vanilla Ink, we are making more than jewellery, we are Making Jewellery Work.


What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle on my own every so often and the biggest challenge is then trying to pick myself back up and push through the downers cause the uppers are way better. I guess that’s self doubt!

How do you define success?

Being happy and content. Waking up everyday and being thrilled to start the day and being in control of your own future.

If you could give your start-up self one piece of advice what would it be?

Be tenacious and grow a thick skin. Running your own business and believing in your own ideas can be difficult. If you want something that badly you need to believe and grow a thick skin.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Great British Sewing Bee, Masterchef, Great British Bake-off – all the stuff that most people like but I feel ashamed for doing so, something about losing my non existent street cred I guess.


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