UPHOLSTERER and designer Kirsty Hull loves nothing more than to re-upholster and restore vintage chairs transforming them into something truly special – with this in mind she decided to start up her own business.

“I offer a bespoke service” said Kirsty, who recently founded Kirsty Hall Ltd, “all of my chairs are upholstered using traditional methods and materials, with tied springs and hand embroidered covers. This includes my ‘collection’ of repeatable designs and my ‘vintage’ collection of one off restorations.

“I also offer a full re-upholstery service and due to the traditional way I work, I can alter designs and fabrics to suit the needs of the customer.”

Kirsty has put a lot of time and dedication into developing her collection of handcrafted furniture and uses her unique creativity and craftsmanship combined with traditional methods of upholstery to produce her work.

“I am really pleased with the work I have produced so far,” added Kirsty, “I know I am producing unique pieces that will last a lifetime and I am delighted that I will be exhibiting at the Liverpool Design Festival this year, where I one of my vintage chairs is being offered as a prize to visitors. This will be a fantastic opportunity to gain further exposure for my work.”

Prior to starting up her own business 28-year-old Kirsty was working as a recruitment consultant and with bosses urging her to go for promotion she knew it was now or never to start up her own business.

Kirsty said: “I was working long hours in recruitment, but earning a good living from doing so. It reached the point where I was expected to further my career and as much as I enjoyed my job my heart wasn’t really in it, I knew I wanted to return to something more creative.

“I left my job, which was a big gamble, not knowing what my income would be. As soon as I decided I wanted to start the business I knew I had to do it ASAP, before I lost my nerve! I still can’t believe I took the risk but am so glad I did.”

Back in 2004 Kirsty graduated from the Glasgow School Art and went on to train in traditional upholstery with AMUSF, the Association of Masters of Upholsterers. It was always her intention to use the skills she had learned along with her natural creativity and it was this that spurred her on to start up her own business.

“I absolutely love what I do now” says Kirsty, “and I have been very lucky to have a supportive partner and family. I feel fulfilled now that I am doing something I really wanted to do and already I have been asked to complete some really interesting pieces of work including re-upholstering and restoring a 200 year old day bed.

“It’s amazing to be able to take an old piece of furniture and completely transform it so that it fits in with contemporary design. I live in a very modern apartment but have a vintage dinning table and odd, oak and mahogany chairs all upholstered in different vibrant fabrics, the contrast with the contemporary building looks fantastic.

“My work is quite unusual and it is starting to get noticed, I’m hoping that more people will hear about what I do through word of mouth and showing at exhibitions like Liverpool Design Festival.”

Once she had decided to start up her own business Kirsty came along to Train 2000 after finding the organisation online. Kirsty accessed free help and advice under the business start up programme.

She said: “Train 2000 was fantastic, I came away £500 better off after receiving the Liverpool Vision grant. Huda, my adviser was extremely helpful and she looked at all areas of my business plan with me.

“I also attended a number of the one day courses on offer and they proved to be very useful. It’s daunting striking out on your own but the support offered by these courses can really improve your knowledge and confidence, filling in the gaps around tax, accounting, PR etc. and making your ideas achievable.”

To find out more about the unique, creative work of Kirsty Hull you can visit her website at www.kirstyhull.co.uk or email info@kirstyhull.co.uk

And, if you’re a woman in the Merseyside area and are interested in starting up your own business call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk