A CREATIVE business started during lockdown has grown and enabled its founder to work around her fibromyalgia.

Sam Groves and husband Jason, both 34 and from Swinton, now run three businesses out of Newton’s Co-Working Space on The Rock in Bury.

When Sam’s mum got a diamond painting kit last January, her poor eyesight meant she was struggling to complete it so she passed it to her daughter.

Sam said: “I am an avid crafter and I completed the painting, but I found the tools provided were difficult to use.

“I have fibromyalgia and the pens to pick up the diamonds were very thin and the trays that were provided to separate the diamonds did not work very well because they had rounded sides, so the diamonds didn’t sit properly.”

By March 2020, just before the first lockdown, Sam launched Painting With Diamonds.

Jason said: “When the lockdown happened my business was hit hard, retainers were cancelled and proposals were halted, but we supported each other throughout. Sam’s business was able to grow and I was able to help her with marketing, design and develop the websites.”

Sam developed a new style of pen using polymer clay to thicken the pen, making it easier to grip. The clay was baked in an oven for an hour, then embellished before being hardened with several layers of resin.

Sam also sells bespoke acrylic pens and is looking to source local suppliers.

Later Sam decided to extend the range by redesigning the tray used to hold the diamonds and bought her first 3D printer.

Jason, who runs a creative agency, Dot Leaf, offering printing, website and graphic design, created a CAD design of the first products.

Now Sam’s business has four printers supplying intricate seven shelf stack units for the diamond trays. A large diamond tray that once took seven-and-a-half hours on her original printer can now be made in just two-and-a-half on the newer version.

Sam said: “When I sold accessories to an influencer, Rachel Rae from Ireland, who has a huge YouTube following she blogged about it and my sales soared.

“I have very exacting standards and there were lots of prototypes of the products that were not good enough, but now I have the skills to design my own accessories and get them 3D printed.

“Running my own business means that I am able to work around my Fibromyalgia. If I push myself too far then I really suffer, but being self-employed I am able to take a day off if I need to.

“I manufacture shelving, pen stands, funnels, trays and create versions for special occasions and sell everything online at www.paintingwithdiamonds.co.uk and www.diamondcraftsupplies.co.uk

“My first customer for both businesses lives in Kuwait, and she still buys from me. I have sold to New Zealand, America, Singapore, Canada, the UK and all over Europe.”

Jason added: “We have gone from a having small office upstairs to being in one of the largest spaces at Newton’s and my business has grown and been able to take on a new web designer.”