SME APPRECIATION WEEK – THE STUDIO
One of our chosen SME Appreciation Week businesses is The Studio, based in Neath and owned by Sonia Hawking.
The Studio has been in operation for just over 2 years, Sonia owns the business and studied glass at the renowned architectural glass school in Swansea between 1997-2002, she holds a First Class Honours Degree and a Masters in glass as well as a number of public art and private commissions to date.
As part of her training, Sonia learned how to use the kiln and cut glass and solder lead. She never turns down work as part of her passion is to inspire others to take up a creative role.
Sonia has received some very prestigious contracts for establishments like the Celtic Manor where she made the glass and artwork for the VIP dining area and chandeliers.
Sonia holds classes at her studio for members of the public to attend where they can make their own gifts, learn how to use the equipment and cut glass.
How Has the Business Diversified During the Pandemic?
The Studio started to use Social Media utilising Instagram and currently has 215 followers.
Sonia has had to put classes on hold due to the pandemic, however, her customer base for commissioned work has continued and all customers have been by appointment only and walk-ins to the shop.
Sonia has secured contracts with Castle Bingo throughout the Pandemic and this has had a very positive impact on sustaining her business.
The Studio changed premises for a period of time and went to work in a unit run by Silverseal Glass & Glazing Co, based in Neath, who were very supportive and helped her through this difficult period.
There has been an issue with the supply chain due to the pandemic, as normally Sonia would visit a glass supplier in Bristol. Pre-pandemic, Sonia would be able to view on-site and choose what piece had the right feel for her to work with whereas due to the pandemic, glass had to be ordered without viewing so this has made it more difficult for the business.
Sonia’s customer service is second to none and she has a great deal of pride and passion in her work to be first-class for her customers. The Studio is a friendly warm environment and everyone that enters whether as a stranger or an acquaintance leaves as friends.