26 July 2018
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Name: Ciaran Smith
Job Title: Business Founder & Shoe Repairer
Location: Liverpool
Social handles: @ciaransmith / @artandsoleco

We can’t believe that the third Catalyst programme is coming to an end… It’s been quite the journey packed full of insights, new experiences, personal development and incredible people. To share with OH’s community just how talented this bunch are – we’ve been chatting to them to share their own story.

Here we have, the co-founder and brains behind Liverpool’s newest member of the independent business family, Art & Sole.

Hey! We might know you, but OH’s community need to get to the gritty on who you are... Tell us a little about the story of you.

My name is Ciaran Smith, and the story so far is…I am a marketing graduate, with a passion for learning, connecting and bringing positive energy to those around me. Where these traits will take me i’m not quite sure yet, but I look forward to the journey.

Everybody has their weird and wonderful... What’s something that people don’t usually know about you?

I can be incredibly introverted. I found a great sense of power and lack of loneliness once I realised how important it is to do things on your own, whether it’s moving to a new country or just trying a new restaurant. Doing these things by yourself gives you the freedom to follow your passions and your gut instinct (literally) without having to rely on others. This can feel especially difficult in a world today where we’re always so connected but getting away from all that and being by yourself can make you happier than you think, at least it does for myself.

We’re thrilled to share the Catalyst journey with you! Why did you want to be a part of it?

The opportunity to join catalyst was presented to me at a time of frustration and concern towards my future. I felt I was stuck in an endless cycle of online application followed by rejection, leaving me with a feeling of knowing where I wanted to be but with no map as to how to get there. Catalyst felt like it would be the perfect combination of personal growth and meaningful connections, paving the way for a more optimistic future.

We’re inspired each and every week by the Catalyst group. But we want to know, what inspires you?

While I have strong admiration’s for many entrepreneurs and their tenacity to create their own successes, I do so with a respect that their journeys may be much different than my own. Inspiration for me only reveals the idea and the affirmation that it can be achieved but behind all these stories and the true reasons for their success is the intention and persistence those people had to create the life they wanted, not the life they felt they had to choose. That’s what I’m working on now…

What do you think has been your significant moment of the programme and why was it so out standish for you?

I’ve never been great at remembering nor labelling a specific moment as defining, however, Catalyst as a whole has provided me an incredible clarity and positive energy towards creating and launching my own business. Whether it was through the people I met alongside me on the course who generously lent me their skills/opinions or the mentors and speakers throughout the program who gave me the confirmations I needed to launch my brand. Overall, i feel a great sense of gratitude towards the last ten weeks for allowing me to overcome any doubts or vulnerabilities I felt before it began.

Cohort 3 of OH Catalyst has been an absolute ball! How have you felt about the experience and what has benefitted you the most?

Each week spent at Catalyst felt like everything for me was lining up and I was exactly where I needed to be; whether it was hearing a piece of information, participating in a workshop or a simple handshake and introduction. The hard work has only just begun but my mindset for the future is aligned with my goals and the Catalyst programme has to be credited for that.

And finally, what’s on the horizon?

As mentioned previously, I have recently launched my own business: Art & Sole, a shoe restoration service in Liverpool. It initially started as a way for me to develop my skills in business and marketing and create a sort of living CV but has now become a 24/7 passion project which I can’t wait to see what’s in store for it in the future.

However, I am also a realist and appreciate it’s never easy or predictable so I am always aware that it’s not so much about what am I going to do for the next 80 years but more so, what am I going to do tomorrow which brings me one day closer to the life I envision for myself and those around me?…

Article by
Victoria Murray
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