Interview with artist Olga Calado

Olga Calado

We are delighted to share this interview with one of our Women Off to Work (WOW) project participants.

Olga Calado is a talented artist who we have supported to secure exhibitions of her work. The interview emphasises the importance of careful planning for your business, including those in creative industries.

How did your business start?

My business started with the layout of a written business plan, where I had a chronological follow up of course of actions. The first thing I did was the creation of a project consisting of three paintings to be exhibited at Tate Modern. Social media was used for the first time to talk about my art and business.

What was your lightbulb moment, if any?

The setting up of the written business plan in quasi-chronological order was already quite enlightening, plus to be able to visualise and live each time of the process. Therefore, I could say while you understand the business is a process, it is achievable!

You were successful in pitching to a panel for a £250 grant at our WOW micro-business grant event. What was your secret to doing so well?

Thank you for that. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to say and how to say it.

What is your advice to other small businesses preparing to pitch their business ideas?

Well, first of all, knowing what you want to say and how it will be said. It is good to know a structure. Beginning, middle and end.

The beginning would be a presentation of yourself and your product/service. The middle part could be talking about how you are going to produce your product/service, and whom it will help. If you feel confident, you could talk a bit about promotion strategies. The end is about where your product/service is going to take you, your prospective view about how the business will develop in the short to medium time.

What has your micro-business grant allowed you to achieve?

Starting a business from zero, you plan your first steps. As a starter in business you tend to have expenses before any gain, the micro-business grant helps to achieve these first steps earlier in time.

Can you tell us more about the exhibitions?

Thank you for asking, I had two exhibitions. A collective exhibition at Tate Modern and a solo exhibition at Paddington Works.

The first one, last summer, was about a triptych depicting “Dunes in Movement”, how these processes appear along the years, and the second one is about nature in the big cities. Considering Paddington Works a place to help start small businesses, I came with the parallelism of these small businesses and the seeds in the cities, where these seeds find places to germinate.

The business idea is like a seed ready to germinate if a proper space is given.

What is next for the business?

I am planning, of course, an exhibition, this time about “Dunes in England”.

Find out more about Olga and her work on her website at