Sapphire, photographer and card producer

Sapphire lives in Ayrshire in Scotland, she is a keen photographer who enjoys taking pictures of local scenes.

I used to see pictures in magazines, and think ‘ooh, I wish I could do that’!

Sapphire is a disabled person who in the past was shy and struggled to appreciate her skills and talents.

I felt shy because people don’t realise that people with disabilities can do things. So, we hide our talents because we’re scared of people judging us

Sapphire and cards

Sapphire connected with a local project run by charity Hansel called Enterprising Minds. The project was led by Alyson Miller who worked with local disabled people to help them explore their talents and passions and use them to set up their own enterprise or group.

I was introduced to Alyson by my OT who said that she’d heard of Enterprising Minds, and that it might be a good idea for me. Alyson came to visit me and looked at my pictures on my phone. At first, I didn’t want to show them to anybody. But I slowly agreed to do it. Alyson really liked my pictures and asked me if I’d ‘like to show people how good you are?’

Together they came up with the idea of turning Sapphire’s photos into greetings cards. Alyson helped Sapphire think about all the practical aspects of doing this, to source materials, make and package the cards, work out pricing and find potential customers.

Alyson helped me to turn my photos into cards, and then she came with me to talk to the people who run the shop, who agreed to sell my cards. My cards started to sell like hot cakes. One day we went in, and they’d all sold out. People were coming in and saying, ooh, those pictures are unusual, I like them.

What helped?

Alyson and Hansel supported Sapphire to appreciate her skills and think how she might be able to use them.

It was good to be given a challenge. Most people with disabilities are hiding

She also gained support from family and professionals and local businesses who helped her to sell her cards.

Challenges

Initially Sapphire was uncertain about her talent and lacked the confidence to use it well. She was also challenged by some of the practical aspects of making and selling her cards.

Cutting the pictures to the right size for the cards. I found this really difficult

Sapphire had a period of ill health and this has had an impact on her ability to make and sell her cards.

Being in hospital because I had been ill. I really wanted to do the cards again, but I just needed to get myself better first.

The Enterprising Minds project came to an end and this has had an impact on Sapphire and her enterprise.

It feels like it’s all been paused. Things are go, stop, go, stop, and we need them to keep going.

Achievements and impact

Sapphire has gained personal confidence from making and selling her cards.

It’s made a big difference. It has helped me to be more confident, because I used to be shy

Sapphire has also gained some income from her enterprise which helped her buy materials for future card production. It also had a huge impact on her self-esteem.

There was money in the jar and I was speechless. It was the first time I had ever earned money in my life, and I was totally shocked. I was really happy to be making money back from this. It also helped me to buy the things I needed to carry on.

The future

Sapphire has some great ideas as how she might develop her enterprise including putting pictures into different formats such as mugs and on canvas.

I was thinking maybe sometime in the future to see if we could put the pictures on canvas, and maybe put them in a cafe somewhere. I would also like to put my pictures onto mugs.

She is clear that people in her position need help and support to shine and that is not always available.

We need more projects like Enterprising Minds. At one time, I was like, I don’t want to show you, but then someone said, come on, you’ve got talent, and in my mind, I would say no, I’m going to get judged. We need more encouragement, because people are always closing doors on us. People are always telling us what we can’t do. Sometimes we need someone to see what we can do. Someone to give us a wee push.