An entrepreneurial mother who swapped a high-powered project management career to launch her own ceramics business, Popolo Ceramico, is on course to open 50 franchises within three years.
Christina Taylor-Chisholm was working as a project manager for telecoms giant BT when she had her daughter Lola.
Keen to spend more time with her daughter she quit her job and returned to her artistic roots, having studied art at Newcastle .
Mrs Taylor-Chisholm had always had a passion for ceramics so invested in a kiln, retrained in the skill and created a job which meant she could work her own hours within a creative environment.
That was eight years ago and the resulting business, Popolo Ceramico, has proven a success with its personalised bowls, baubles and cups, as well as its prints of children’s hands and feet.
After finding success with her venture, Mrs Taylor-Chisholm has expanded the business through a number of franchises across the North East, also creating a raft of jobs.
The mobile business is based in Newcastle’s Biscuit Factory but she is now looking to expand the business nationally with the ultimate goal of opening 100 franchises.
Ms Taylor-Chisholm said: “I have five franchisees in the North East and they all work at home. They go to mother and baby coffee mornings and groups, where they set up.
“I have taken on three new franchises in Yorkshire and one in West Sussex as well.
“I took on my first franchise in Gateshead where I did a pilot and it went really well. I advertised regionally and took on another four franchises.
“But it is over the last six months that we have expanded nationally. We are now advertising across the UK.
“We are going location by location at the moment. The target is to get 100 franchises. If I get to 100, then it is happy days.
“I am hoping to get to 50 within five years of setting up the franchises, so within the next three years.”
As well as selling a variety of ceramic gifts, Ceramico Popolo also caters to children’s parties and its personalised piggy banks were even featured in an advert for KFC.
“The marketing company from KFC phoned me up and said they needed personalised piggy banks and they needed them within two week,” said Mrs Taylor-Chisholm.
“They needed 50 and they were really keen, so we worked day and night to get them done.
“On the advert they smashed a lot of them which is why they needed so many made.”
She has also designed the logo for North East children’s charity, the Graham Wylie Foundation.
Popolo Ceramico has proved not only a commercial success but has also improved the work/life balance for many of the franchisees, and resulted in an award.
Mrs Taylor-Chisholm recently won an award for Self-Employed Parent of the Year at the Mum and Working award ceremony in London.
Commenting on the award win she said: “I was delighted to win the award. I love the job I’ve created and I wanted to give others the same opportunity to be creative, earn a great income, but most importantly spend time with their families and have a great work/life balance.”
Source: Chronicle Live