Female Founders - Kate Murray, Handled with Care Design

Take me back

#FemaleFounders: Kate Murray, Handled With Care Design

As Liverpool dwellers, we love interviewing Female Founders with a passion for our city. Kate Murray, founder of Handled With Care Design, does urban artwork – mostly of Liverpool! Her love for the city can be seen in the authenticity and character of her designs – it makes sense that her business is called ‘Handled With Care’! Not all of Kate’s art revolves around Liverpool though, with her drawings spanning from the Wirral to New York and beyond.

Kate works at the University of Liverpool as a Project Officer, training students to become peer mentors and coaches and developing projects that enhance the academic welfare of students. Her day job and design business meet with her love of sketchnoting. She incorporates sketchnoting into her everyday work – using it as a tool for training and generating ideas. Kate has even delivered a sketch noting workshop for our team, giving us insights on new ways to capture our thoughts, and we’ve been doodle-happy ever since!

Now, let’s find out how Handled With Care came to be and learn Kate’s advice to aspiring female founders.

1. Which 3 skills would you say are crucial to being a founder? 

Resilience, determination and creativity.

2. What’s your biggest business achievement to date? 

There are probably two things: I have just finished 3 commissions, they took a long time and of course, the subject matter meant a lot to the customer so it was really important that I captured the moments perfectly… the customer was so happy with them that different members of her family even got in touch to say how much they loved the pieces too! Another achievement is from when I first set up the business and was asked to be featured in the New York publication Food 52 for one of their home and design pieces.

3. What are the challenges you face now that are different from when you started your business? 

As it’s such a small business I would say the challenges remain the same really. I’ve always wanted my artworks to reach as many people as possible. So, I suppose at this point I am constantly thinking about how the business can continue to grow/develop whilst making it as accessible as possible.

4. What are the biggest barriers you face when it comes to growing your business? 

I suppose I just answered that one: figuring out the various ways you can continue to reach more people and make my work accessible/affordable.

5. If you could learn more about one area of marketing, what would it be? 

Haha, I’m a digital dinosaur so all of it! No, on a serious note I find that Instagram has been a really good tool in helping my business to grow. However, this is just one platform that some people might not use/have access to so, I suppose for me personally it’s about how you can use marketing to reach a wider audience that might not necessarily see my work otherwise, and considering the ways I could work more with the local community.

6. How did you recognise that you were an entrepreneurial person? 

I suppose I’ve always been really hard-working and I never give up. I set up the business in 2013 and had hardly any customers for the first few years, other than the odd sale here and there. I have always worked full-time and therefore all my spare time is taken up with managing the business. Over recent years my customer base has definitely started to grow, so I would say determination is key for anyone who is considering setting up their own business!

7. What makes you proudest about your company? 

Customer feedback and seeing how happy they are with their new piece of original art.

8. If someone was struggling with their confidence, what would your advice be? 

Only you can shout about your own capabilities and successes, believe in yourself. I can’t say I always practice what I preach so, don’t beat yourself up if from time to time you feel a bit down in the dumps, it’s normal but, keep on going, you’ll get there!

View this post on Instagram

Hope everyone is having nice Friday lunchtime. Over the past few months I’ve been working on these three commissions for a lovely customer’s anniversary. It was a gift so today’s been the first time I could share some pics, just in case they had a sneak peek. Finally got to finish off all the final details last weekend. So, here they are… Three commissions later and they’re finally in their new home. Happy Anniversary! x . . . . . #illustration #illustrator #design #drawing #draw #sketch #instagood #love #instadaily #art #artist #artwork #illustratorsoninstagram #illustragram #homedecor #liverpoolbloggers #procreate #freelanceillustrator #painting #artoninstagram #creative #instaart #sketching #liverpool #beautiful #paint #artistsoninstagram #artsy #giftideas #seftonpark

A post shared by Handled with Care Design (@handledwithcaredesign) on

9. If you could magically change one thing about your business now, what would it be? 

I would love to have the capacity to work on larger-scale projects whether it be on specific interior design projects or with another designer. I’d also love to try out different mediums and I really need a website (coming soon I promise!).

10. Tell us about another brilliant businesswoman that our readers should know about!

 It would have to be my friend Sarah Lovelock and her beautiful Lovelocks Coffee Shop. Sarah is an amazing example of making your dream happen and the coffee shop is great so you should definitely take a visit.

Take (sketch)note

If you’d like to commission Kate to do some lovely artwork for you or are interested in a sketchnoting workshop, hit her up at handledwithcaredesign@outlook.com! Make sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram to catch her latest designs. 

Not done reading about inspiring female founders? Read our latest interviews with Dijonn Taylor, Founder of Savvy Guest and Kirsten Little, Co-Founder of Make!

Follow Matchstick Creative on Instagram and Twitter.