Business management

Charis Jones, Sculpted Steel

As part of our campaign with Getty Images to change the image of female-led entrepreneurship, the owner of Stoke-on-Trent blacksmiths Sculpted Steel tells her business story.

Sculpted Steel

Charis Jones set up Sculpted Steel in 2008 after graduating with a degree in 3D design craft. Using a combination of traditional forging techniques, contemporary design and modern technology, she creates sculptural ironwork for interiors, gardens and public spaces.

“I specialise in ‘sketching in steel’, turning drawings into sculptural panels,” explains Jones. “I set up my own business because I needed the flexibility to work around my then young family, and I wanted to be my own boss and make my own decisions.”

In 2020, facing up to the very real possibility that the business she had worked so hard for might not survive the year was tough. “I had to do a lot more trading online as most of the markets and galleries I use were shut,” she says. “It was a challenge as it’s not something I enjoy doing; I’d much rather be in the forge, bashing away on a piece of hot metal, than bashing away on a computer keyboard.

“But it gave me time to look at where I want the business to go and make some decisions about where to focus in the future. I was able to create some work purely for my own enjoyment, which has sparked ideas for a whole new range of garden sculpture that I plan to launch next summer.”

I’d much rather be in the forge, bashing away on a piece of hot metal, than bashing away on a computer keyboard

Charis Jones
Owner of Sculpted Steel

Jones says she has enjoyed many standout moments over the past 12 years: “Every commission is special and deserves the same attention and care. Celebrating 10 years in business with all the people who have helped and supported me on the way was very special and reminded me just how far I have come.

She says her best piece of advice for women looking to launch their own business is to “create a good support network to help you. It can be very lonely, and having people who you can ask for advice or share your concerns with makes a big difference.”

She says she is proud of her business and its place in the bank and Getty Images’ Female Focus #BeTheRoleModel initiative. “It is a great opportunity to represent all the women challenging stereotypes, pushing boundaries and creating fantastic businesses.”

Charis Jones of Sculpted Steel continued to trade throughout a challenging 2020. She boosted her digital presence and, by spending more time on her strategy, developed ideas for new products in 2021.

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