Having run his own carpentry firm from the age of 19, Martin Gaisford decided on a radical career change from carpenter to thespian launching his own corporate entertainment company, Art Deco Productions (http://www.artdecoproductions.co.uk) in 2002.

Art deco

Art Deco Productions provides corporate and private entertainment including team performing at events in the UK and overseas, and have entertained a host of notable clients including fashion designer Stella McCartney and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

All plots are professionally written and performed by professional actors. Expanding upon this, Martin said: “The formats we offer are many and varied. We don’t stop at murder mystery and we can offer bespoke events.

“Our original team challenge activities include CSI: Murder Squad, Spy Mission Challenge, Soap Opera Challenge, Murder Investigation and our hilarious dinner theatre format, all popular choices which we feel are unrivalled in the industry.”

Martin also makes appearances as Hercule Poirot, being the officially endorsed Hercule Poirot lookalike for Agatha Christie Ltd.

The company have performed at venues such as Burgh Island Hotel, Cliveden and on the Orient Express, as well as working further afield in Europe including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and even Richard Branson’s villa in Lake Como, Italy.

Wanting to grow his business and explore options for expansion, Martin contacted NBV Enterprise Solutions and worked closely with a business adviser who helped him establish clear objectives and take measured steps to achieving his goals.

Martin received one-to-one business mentoring support and was able to access a master class in order to broaden his business know-how. Speaking about his initial aims, Martin said: “I wanted to grow the business, increasing sales by 50% within the year and continue to meet the requirements at the top end of the corporate entertainment market.

“Since contacting NBV I have delegated more tasks within the company allowing me more time to grow the business. It has changed my mind-set to see the bigger picture.”

As for the future, Martin pulls out a long handwritten list, scratches his head and wonders where to start.

However, his journey in self-employment has inspired him to move beyond sectors and explore the possibility of helping others who wish to start their own business.

“With Art Deco I would like to move into theatre productions but personally I would love the opportunity to share my experiences with others through start-up mentoring as I feel I have a lot to offer,” Martin concludes.

“It has been a great high and a continual learning curve packed with new challenges and ultimately a great sense of achievement.”