Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Victoria Dixon and I live in the beautiful Orkney Islands. I have two young children, Milly who is 5 years old and Robbie who just turned 2 years. I offer a range of personalised Magical portraits that make a very unique keepsake or a wonderful gift. Having had over ten years experience using a variety of different computer programs and effects I am able to take everyday photos and transform them into fantastic, enchanting works of art. I am providing a unique and beautiful way to add something completely different to a photograph. I am able to add a little bit of magic to make a beautiful personal gift for a friend or family member. I work to achieve an as photo realistic effect as possible – sometimes photographs just don’t capture the magic you feel they should. I just pulled a lot of my skills together – web design, creativity and photography and ‘Enhance-Me’ was born.
Where did the idea come from and when was the business founded?
I launched my business in February 2006 when my daughter was 15 months old. I had some problems with carrying babies prior to Milly and had a few losses. It was a very stressful and sad period of my life. It made me realise I didn’t want to pay someone else to look after Milly when she was born. It had taken us so long to have a healthy baby that I didn’t want to miss any of her early years so decided to find something I could turn my hand to that would allow me to work from home.
Initially, as a hobby, I had played around with image-editing software on my computer, and had submitted a few pictures to art galleries – these had sold well. Later I did a few free portrait enhancements for friends, who had requested that photographs of their children be transformed into fairies. These friends had such a positive reaction at the final result that I decided to dip my toe in the water and put the service online. Very little financial outlay was required – I had everything I needed! I didn’t even need to pay for a website – I was able to create and build my own website, with the assistance of a very helpful and patient husband who had worked in web design.
When my www.enhance-me.com website went live I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was surprised at just how quickly the orders came flooding in. I can’t even begin to describe how thrilling it is to find people who like and want the work that you do!
How are you successfully combining your business with your home life?
I am lucky in that my 5yr old going to nursery coincides with my 2 yr olds naptime (for now!), so I have two hrs every weekday morning I can devote to my business in term time. Mostly I work in the evenings though when my children are in bed, this means that apart from checking emails through the day and taking a few phone calls I am able to be Mum for the day and run the business at night. I love that my business enables me to remain at home with my children and not miss out on their early years while still contributing to our household income. Being able to choose the hours I work is a huge advantage and allows me to be there for the children and family when I need to be.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
My most challenging period of time is always the approach to Christmas. In the two weeks leading up to the festive season I receive in the region of 200 orders! I always panic slightly at the prospect of trying to juggle so much work with caring for my children, but with the help of my husband, parents-in-law and many late nights, I manage. My order intake increases every year in the approach to Christmas, but I am gradually finding ways of coping with it.
What plans do you have for your business?
I have a number of things in motion that I am currently working on involving themes etc, that I can’t mention yet (lips sealed!). I hope to either participate or advertise in the Scottish Baby Show at some point. I want to attend the Mumpreneur Conference this year as I have been nominated for an award ‘Best Online Business’. This will give me the opportunity to put a face to all the names of the women I have come to know via various networking forums. I also have some new products/services that I am hoping to launch this year that I am very optimistic about!
What makes your business stand out?
Each project is very important to me and great effort is put into creating the perfect fantasy portrait every time. With numerous fantasy themed images to choose from I can create a truly unusual gift or keepsake for any occasion, any age, anyone. Every portrait is created on an individual basis offering expertise and flexibility in the design process with a proofing system. A portrait can be tweaked to suit a client, colours can be changed, props such as animals, fairies, tiaras etc can be added at the request of the customer. I feel I provide a fast and personalised service and can create images in a high resolution in any dimensions requested. I always work to achieve an as photo realistic effect as possible, which I feel sets me apart from other Fantasy portrait artists.
Where can we find you?