Turpentyne – renovating new business premises

iwoca customer Jenn Diaz runs Turpentyne, a fine art studio for children and teens. When the business outgrew its premises, she used our Flexi-Loan to turn an old salon into a space where her students can refine their skills.

19 March 2020

Jenn Diaz’s business venture began one Saturday morning in the hall of a community centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. Having taught art classes previously in America, Jenn wanted to give those in her community a better understanding of the fundamentals of art, and facilitate them to be creative in their own time too.

“I thought I’d start teaching an art class in my neighbourhood,” says Jenn. “So I opened one morning with a suitcase full of children’s art supplies, and it just snowballed. Two students turned into four, four turned into ten, one class turned into two until eventually my day was full on a Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Now some of our classes have a waiting list that’s 30 students long.”

Today, that small initiative that Jenn first began in 2017 has grown into a business that is loved by those in her community and further afield – with some students travelling from as far as Durham just to attend. She and her five staff teach a unique curriculum that bridges a gap Jenn feels exists in the current UK school system.

“There’s a real lack of art in education right now. Schools don’t have the funding for it and I don’t think the government has made it a priority,” she says. “We find that students are really hungry for the opportunity to do art – to have a place to learn about it or just to do it. We have an abundance of students.”

How iwoca helped Turpentyne

The popularity of Turpenyne’s classes meant that they had to move into bigger premises. Funding from iwoca:

  • Helped with renovation costs
  • Funded refitting the building so classes could be held there

“The process of applying for finance through iwoca was a lot simpler than I expected,” says Jenn. “The whole process of applying only took an hour and getting the funds was very fast – less than 24 hours.”

Expansion by popular demand

It’s clear from the demand for Jenn’s classes that Turpentyne is a business that addresses a real gap in the market. With the demand for its services increasing, it seems that opening another studio that enables them to teach more classes may well be on the cards.

“I don’t know if we can practically expand in Newcastle so the next studio may have to be in another location, perhaps somewhere in the Northeast. We try really hard to make sure we’re offering the very best. Good enough isn’t good enough and we want to make sure that every student's experience is spot on.”

words by <span>{authorName}</span>

Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes articles explaining financial topics, as well as guides on the best support for small businesses during coronavirus.

Article updated on: 16 October 2020

Is this article helpful?