A brand new recording studio opens its doors in Chepstow, with advisory and financial support from Business Wales.

An experienced producer, Ella-Louise Hart found herself unemployed because of Covid-19 and decided to combine her passion for producing and teaching music with the opportunity to earn a living. She launched Hart Studios in Chepstow providing popstar experience days, with support from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service. 

  • Successfully launched.
  • 1 job created.
  • Secured a £1,000 Monmouthshire Housing Association bursary.
  • £2,000 secured via the Business Wales Barriers Grant.
  • Signed up to the Business Wales Green Growth Pledge to reduce waste and to the Equality Pledge to provide an accessible service to all clients.

Introduction to business

Hart Studios was launched by Ella-Louise Hart. With over 20 years of recording experience, Ella started her studio, offering professional sound recording services as well as singing tuition at affordable prices.

Hart Studios will also provide a mobile recording booth service, catering for a variety of events and parties.

We caught up with Ella to learn more about why she decided to set out on her self-employment journey.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I started my own business for a number of reasons. The main reason was to be able to combine my passion with enterprise and hopefully turn a profit from the thing I love doing the most. Other motivating factors were to be in control of my own time, which would satisfy the needs of my immediate family, being able to offer them more support. 

The timing was surprisingly good. In the midst of Covid-19, I had found myself waiting for a job offer I received last February, which I am still waiting for to come to fruition. This meant that financially, I had never been worse off. I knew that realistically, to build a customer base, construct the items I needed (the booth funded by the Business Wales Barriers Grant), would take at least 6 months. Rather than sit idle for that time in a pandemic and wait for a job that I wouldn't really enjoy, I decided to use this time productively and begin building the business. The idea isn't new, it’s something I've had in mind for a number of years, but the decision to go for it was motivated by a desire to be in charge of my own time and life direction. 

How has the Business Wales Barriers Grant helped you overcome the challenges you have faced?

There have definitely been challenges along the road, financial barriers in particular. There are elements of the business that I would not have even been able to think about doing so quickly. The bread and butter of the business idea and immediate income is to provide singing tuition. This will provide a steady cash flow whilst I develop other areas of the business.

Without the Barriers Grant, this quite simply wouldn't have been possible. I secured the maximum grant of £2000, which helped me buy the vast majority of the items I need to build a mobile modular and expandable soundproof space. This booth would be transported to venues for events such as weddings, engagement parties, big birthdays, anniversaries and other landmark events. For example, at a wedding, guests will enter the booth, which will look like a giant amplifier and record messages of goodwill and good luck for the bride and groom. The bride and groom, along with their guests, will have also recorded the vocals to a special song. They will be filmed in 4K and a final audio-video composition will be sent to them. I planned to do this a couple of years down the line, but the cash flow that this service would offer to the business is significant. Thanks to the Barriers Grant, I will be able to introduce the idea sooner, which will mean that 2022 should be a very good year.

How did we help?

  • Successfully launched.
  • 1 job created.
  • Secured a £1,000 Monmouthshire Housing Association bursary.
  • £2,000 secured via the Business Wales Barriers Grant.
  • Signed up to the Business Wales Green Growth Pledge to reduce waste and to the Equality Pledge to provide an accessible service to all clients.

Ella attended a Monmouthshire Housing Association Bootcamp, delivered in partnership with Business Wales, which offered MHA tenants support to start their own businesses. Ella went on to attend a Business Wales start-up webinar and worked with her adviser, Melanie Phipps, and Cath Murray, a MHA adviser, to create her business plan, develop her cash flow, gain an understanding of marketing, insurance and bookkeeping. 

The support helped Ella secure a total investment of £3,000 from the Business Wales Barriers Grant towards the cost of her bespoke mobile recording booth and an MHA bursary to cover the cost of a music course. 

Ella is also working with Communities for Work to explore any additional financial support. She said: “Another factor that has contributed greatly to my success to date in bringing the commencement of the business around is [my adviser] Mel herself.

Mel has a vast knowledge on the set-up and development of a small business and without her help, there are areas in which I definitely would have missed a trick. 

Right from the initial webinar, I hoped that Mel would be my adviser and I feel very lucky that I was able to have her support. I truly feel like I am making strong advances towards thinking as a business owner, rather than an employee. Mel has helped by offering direct, clear and concise advice. She has reached out to other organisations who can offer support, providing me with new contacts and a mentor who will specifically help me with digital marketing and advertising. 

Mel has been instrumental in the success of the business, taking her time to fully educate me on the ins and outs, but at the same time, making me feel comfortable, instilling confidence, all whilst maintaining a friendly, inviting and professional manner.

I would also like to thank the MHA for their incredible support. Cath’s help has been key to getting the business to where it is now.”

Future plans and ambitions

There is a lot of scope for the future direction of the business. I would like to set up a contract with the local LEA, providing a high standard of musical and creative learning to children who come from underprivileged or marginalised backgrounds. This would be a charity-based operation, but is personally very important to me. I would eventually also like to have a venue of my own from which I can offer all of the above functions, events and celebrations. This is a very long-term goal, but I believe is within reach. 

I have very recently purchased all of the items I need to be able to construct the mobile booth. I have made a decision to film this as it is being built, so that potential customers can get excited with me. The video will be a ‘zero to hero’ kind of theme, with the final part of the video showing the booth used at an event. This would present a lovely visual representation of literally, building success.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

Share this page

Print this page