April 7, 2019 Creative

Illustrative art.

Here is a short story about overcoming and adapting, with a little help from NEIS training.

Rachel Wood is an illustrative artist from Melbourne, with a background in ice skating. “I have always enjoyed and immersed myself in the creative arts,” says Rachel. “I was also an elite competitive figure skater.”

“I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had to stop competitive skating,” explains Rachel. “That time of being unwell was extremely frustrating, but I started illustrating and my new story began. I was working in a ballet shop and was asked to create some illustrated cards to sell in-store. This grew into my first two illustrated greeting cards series ‘Classic Ballet’ and ‘Christmas Surprise’. From there came the idea to turn my illustrations into a business. I am so glad that I enrolled into the NEIS program at Box Hill Institute.”

“Doing NEIS was the best decision I made,” says Rachel. “I learnt so much through the training and found it really inspiring to be around teachers and students who cared about my ideas. It was a really supportive and stimulating learning environment. By June 2018 I had enough illustrations and products to take my cards to markets, ice skating events, retailers and organisations. The goal is to continue developing new illustrations and products for my customers each year.”

The whimsical illustrations from Rachel Belle Design are produced as prints, cards and gifts. There is an air of nostalgia to Rachel’s illustrations of figure skaters and ballet dancers, that echoes childhood storybooks and fairy tales. They have been warmly received by buyers.

Rachel recently opened an Etsy store, and has also branched out into figure skating coaching. With her figure skating illustrations being the most popular, Rachel has found both businesses intertwine naturally. Being well-known and respected in the competitive skating world has boosted sales of her illustrations, and she now also offers a custom portrait service which has been embraced by fellow ice skaters.

A happy custom-portrait customer!

“I’m just so excited to be able to share my illustrations with a growing audience,” says Rachel happily. “The NEIS program opened my eyes to more ways of achieving my goals; showing me where hard work and persistence can get you. It was hard at times, but more than worth it for the independence and confidence I now have, that I had never experienced before.”

“I have been very open about my struggle with OCD and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I hope my story will inspire people to achieve their goals regardless of set backs, illnesses or challenges.”

Thanks for your story Rachel. We hope your business keeps growing, but also leaves you some time to get out on the ice.

Do you need some help for a new start in your own business? NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat. 

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