When we talk about customers we don’t necessarily think about little people – by that we mean under 5s, tiny babies even.  Obviously, their parents are the decision-makers now, however the children themselves are both tomorrow’s consumers of arts and culture and today’s focus for our creative products and work.

There is a growing recognition of the value of creative work with young children and babies as well as the demand for beautiful products for this age group.  Recently we talked about the new business in Dorchester set up by Charlotte Loving – Loving by Nature – a reusable nappy shop that is also a community artistic space, with potential for events for parents who love arts and new media. Read more here

New startup freelance photographer Toni-Marie Roper is new to the arts and culture sector, but also recognises the growth in this sector.

Initially inspired, mentored and supported by Robert Golden, Toni-Marie is a portrait photographer of little children and tiny babies (under 3 months). Toni also recognises the value in having an inspirational mentor when starting out in her creative career,

 ‘Without Robert’s mentoring, support, invaluable knowledge and critique I wouldn’t have discovered my skill, technique or passion for photography.’

This past year Toni-Marie has engaged with business development opportunities through the Culture+ programme and is in the process of setting up a new business with additional support from The Princes Trust, who has provided her with a business mentor.

She has also attended Dorset Growth Hub Business Planning training and is currently being mentored for her artistic practice by Bournemouth based Tracy Willis, a maternity and baby photographer.

More recently she has received a Highly Commended award for photography from National Photographic Society, which is setting her in good stead for a thriving career.

Toni-Marie Roper Portrait Studio 2018

Toni-Marie Roper Portrait Studio 2018

We asked Toni about her aspirations for her business from here:

My dream is to establish a successful, strong, independent photography business whilst being able to give 100% to my 2 young children to allow them every given opportunity they deserve.

I want to capture precious memories and give parents a timeless beautiful piece of art for them to treasure.

What attracts you to work with children and babies?

I love seeing the uncorrupted freedom of a child, they do not fear or judge and I find their curiosity to learn just fascinating.

Working with tiny babies is an absolute honour. Simply to photograph a baby so new and so precious will always be a privilege to me.

I have worked extremely hard to train, learn and consistently improve my technique and style. I am hoping to launch ‘Elegant Exposures Fine Art Photography’ in the coming year and I am excited to capture the innocent beauty of many children from all different backgrounds.

Toni-Marie Roper Portrait Studio 2018

We look forward to seeing Toni-Marie’s continuing business venture thrive in the world of tiny people.

To read more from other creative startup enterprises working in the early years, head over to our interview with Dorset based creative practitioner Jo Burlington who set up Oops Wow; messy process based art groups for small children in Bridport and West Dorset here