Having trained to level 2 in painting and decorating, Caz found even getting a chance to interview for available work was tricky. “I felt like because I was a woman it was hard to even get my foot in the door. When I would call up about the work they would hear a girl’s voice on the end of the phone and would laugh.”
Even when Caz was given a chance of work, she felt real discrimination from her male counterparts. She said:
“They would really put me down and criticise me, which had a real impact on my confidence. I was even paid less than the men on site. They couldn’t believe a woman was capable of doing hands on work. Looking back now I remember that in reality when I looked at my paint work it was obvious real care had been taken, and theirs the gloss was just everywhere. I took more pride in the job and it showed.”
Caz was then given redundancy from the firm where she had watched her confidence diminish:
“When I was made redundant it was the best thing that could have happened. It felt like a golden key out of there and I knew I could do this by myself, set up my own painting and decorating firm to offer the good service I knew I had given but had never been credited for.”
Caz returned to college to complete extra training to Level 3 which further developed her skills in wallpapering and additional specialist techniques such as using gold leaf, coving installation, spray painting, wood graining and stencilling.
She knew she wanted to set up a small business, but just needed some help to get things off the ground. It was then Caz found that she could receive free support and advice from local women’s enterprise support agency ‘The Women’s Organisation’, so joined their Accelerating Women’s Enterprise programme which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund.
She reflected “I came to The Women’s Organisation, went on some of their business workshops and was given a business adviser to help me. They taught me where to look and what to do in order to get my business going. The guidance they gave, the confidence building and just generally pointing me in the right direction was fantastic. Having dealt with the negative comments before I needed to rebuild my confidence, learn to get organised and take responsibility for myself, and I feel like I have achieved that. Reading back over my business plan I sounded so superior! That in itself was a real confidence boost and I finally realised I wasn’t the person those negative people had made me out to be.”
But Caz hadn’t always dreamed of a life of decorating. “When I was younger I really wanted to be an actor! But when I did acting I found that I gravitated towards painting the sets, and so I think from there I just really fell into this trade which is one always in demand, which I feel was a lucky break. I’d love to work on sets professionally now, and who knows, maybe that will be the next stage of my business down the line.”
Confidence is no longer an issue for Caz who is gaining more by the day as she watches her business grow.
“At first when I was doing jobs for people I’d be saying ‘ring me if there are any problems’ and I would find instead I was being rung by people who wanted more work doing. That was a great boost” said Caz.
‘Caz the Painter’ is your local female decorator. Professional, friendly service at your doorstep. In her words – “Caz the Painter do exactly what it says on the tin!”
For the first time in her life Caz is finding being a woman is a real advantage.
“I think now I am working for myself I can see to my customers being a woman makes me more trust worthy in their eyes. The idea of hiring me is more inviting because they know I will be house trained! It’s a great feeling. But the best thing about working for yourself is having that freedom to do what you want and when you want. To choose which work you want to take on. I look after my nan a lot, so I can manage jobs around popping in to see her.”
To find out more about the services Caz can offer you can stop by and ‘like’ her facebook page www.facebook.com/CazthePainter88
And if like Caz you would like support to build your confidence and follow your dream of running your own business, why not get in touch with The Women’s Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by ST84Photogrpahy