Meet the girl who Glamour mag dubbed the ‘One to Watch 2014’ and the ‘next Rankin’.
At just 20, Shropshire’s Care Johnson already has five businesses up and running! Aged 15, Care decided to leave school and delve into a new world in which she knew nothing about. At 17, she secured a Prince’s Trust Development Award to buy a digital camera and complete a six-month photography internship. Since, Care has gone it alone, making a name for herself across the UK including working alongside, internationally-renowned photographer Rankin and meeting with David Cameron.
Now in 2014, Care is onto her next bigger and better project – ‘The Dream Academy’. She currently stands as an Ambassador for Startup Britain and The Princes Trust and has most recently been nominated for the Celebrating Youth Excellence Awards 2014.
You must hear this all the time, but sheesh girl you are soo INSPIRATIONAL! How does it feel to have made all of these exceptional achievements?
From being a rebellious teenager and leaving school at such a young age, with no business skills, it still shocks me to see how far I have come in such a short space of time. I simply threw myself into the deep end – which was self-employment, learning the tricks of the trade, learning how to self-promote and tackle every hurdle along the way. I never even dreamed of doing half of the things I have done, because before I didn’t have any real goals when I started out in business and when you know nothing about business, it seems pretty unrealistic to set goals, the only goal I had in mind was to learn new things.
How have you developed since the first time you picked up a camera in 2011?
When I started out as a photographer in 2011, I knew absolutely nothing about the equipment photographer’s use. I knew nothing about the technical side of the equipment and I didn’t have a clue about business. In the three years I have been doing photography, I have spent a year and a half studying photography online, building up my portfolio, learning how to edit images, building up a client base and promoting myself as a photographer. These last 15 months have been spent volunteering my time to help other people, helping the local community and doing a lot of charity work. I am currently doing weekly photography workshops for youngsters under the age of 16 and I am also junior editor for our local not for profit, volunteer led community magazine – I Heart SY Magazine.
What life lesson has your entrepreneurial journey taught you so far?
I have faced some extremely difficult barriers which at the time, made me want to quit. After a strong network of friends around me, I troopered through, faced all the problems and came out on top. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have succeeded with anything. So I guess the main thing it has taught me is, no matter how tough things get, do not give up.
“I have faced some extremely difficult barriers which at the time, made me want to quit. After a strong network of friends around me, I troopered through, faced all the problems and came out on top.”
What was it like working on a campaign with the internationally renowned Rankin for The Prince’s Trust Tomorrow Campaign, 2012?
The most interesting part for me as a photographer was being able to see the way he and his team worked. They worked so efficiently and it was nice to see a big team do that. I came back with more motivation and inspiration. The most exciting part was taking his portrait! Overall, it was a fantastic experience, because it raised vital funds to help other young budding entrepreneurs.
You made the huge decision to leave school at 15. What influenced your decision not to follow the traditional education route?
At the age of 15, I didn’t really know what I wanted as a career path. I knew I wanted to work with horses but I also knew I didn’t want to study. I am the sort of person who likes to learn hands on. I landed myself a fantastic job on an Olympic event yard in Shropshire but a few months down the line my allergies forced me to give up the only thing I loved doing. I knew I didn’t want to be jobless and I wanted to prove to people that I could turn my life around. So this is when I got into photography and after receiving my first camera from The Prince’s Trust on the 12th April 2011, I haven’t stopped. It lifted my spirits and kept me occupied, which was exactly what I needed. I love teaching myself new things and I prefer to teach myself than to be taught by others.
You often talk about your passion for getting young people into self-employment. Do you think the current education system does enough to encourage this?
The current education system does a fantastic job of encouraging youngsters to get into work. There are so many advantages to being self-employed; as well as many rewards too. I believe that being self-employed pushes you as an individual, yes it can get quite stressful, but once you look back and see how far you have come, the benefits in the long run are worth it. It teaches you a life experience that no textbook could ever show you. I feel I can connect with young people more than the typical business person. I am now 20 and have five businesses – Qualified makeup artist, The Shropshire Print Company, Photographer, Motivational speaker and Photoshop Retoucher. It just shows that anything is possible, and with the right encouragement, other young people will see this too.
This year you are set to launch the ‘Dream Academy’, what is the concept behind this initiative?
Dream Academy is all about motivating youngsters to try new things. It’s about making them aware of all the facilities and help available to them. It is also about inspiring them to have and set goals, and most importantly to achieve these goals. I am massively passionate about this project and want to help young people discover what they are passionate about whether it is a new hobby or dream to run their own business.
What advice can you give to a Skool Girl?
Never give up on your dreams. No matter what struggles you are facing, put all your effort and emotions into what you are passionate about. It pays off, believe me!
Cover photo & feature image taken by: Care Johnson Photography