Feather being cleaned carefully with a paintbrush

The object doctor will see you now

With over 25 years’ experience in art and heritage conservation, Ticca Ogilvie turned to NBSL to support a dream of establishing a service that allowed her to use her global expertise and knowledge to benefit the wider cultural industry.

Borders Conservation Studio (BCS), owned by Ticca, now offers specialist knowledge helping to conserve and restore valued cultural heritage objects. Providing comprehensive museum-style conservation services to galleries, historic houses, archaeology units, and individuals, BCS works out of fully-equipped and insured studio premises. ICON Accredited, Ticca delivers expert conservation advice and treatments through her practice, meeting the highest technical and ethical standards laid out by the Institute of Conservation.

An impressive start – all thanks to the support from NBSL providing Ticca with the confidence and courage to establish her business with the right mindset. “Although I’ve worked across the globe for major heritage institutions and international sites, I thought you needed to be business-orientated and an entrepreneurial type of character to start a business. The training and support that NBSL provided showed me that it all starts with a simple set of practical skills and encouraged me to find the confidence to promote my technical ability backed up by a solid business plan identifying ways of ensuring my service had a long-term sustainable future.”

Ticca continued, “The workshops helped demystify the running of a business and got me thinking more creatively about the structure and design of my business – not what I have to do but what I want to do to make my business a success and most importantly, enjoyable”

The vast range of workshops allowed Ticca to understand the brand behind the business bringing an emotional appeal to a wider audience. In the museum world, Ticca refers to her conservation skills, but having identified a new audience – those with private treasures or objects that require some tender loving care, she refers to herself as an object doctor. “I now run a business that brings sick objects back to life. I’m a kind of object doctor; a breather of life into poorly treasures. In my private practice, I put splints onto broken feather ornaments, stabilise metal corrosion with doses of specially formulated chemicals; perform invisible keyhole surgery on everything from broken dolls to painted Egyptian coffins. One of my favourite things I do for people is deliver training that teaches them how to care for their treasures themselves – how to prevent damage in the first place so that these objects are given a new lease on life and are valued for years to come.”

One of the best tips that Ticca has learned from her start up journey with NBSL is never stop learning and seek out support wherever you can. “I regularly revisit my business plan, and look at how I can continue to add value and grow – testing new ideas all the time. It’s a hard path to begin with – especially with the pandemic always in the background, but the support received from NBSL has given me the courage to really appreciate my technical skills and understand their commercial worth to the benefit of my customers”

Scott Rowland, Enterprise Advisor for NBSL, is pleased to see so many people see the benefit of self-employment and recognise the importance of planning a business based on existing technical skills to build a bright, independent future. “The calibre of people looking at self-employment is at an all-time high and we are proud to stand alongside our enterprise partners across the North East inspiring our next generation of entrepreneurs”.