An Interview With…Joanna Pirie – Bowery Productions

Tell us a little bit about you and your business. When did you start and what made you decide to start your own business?

I started Bowery Productions, a filming and editing company when my son was a year old.  I had worked as a TV producer for 14 years and gave up my staff job at the BBC to be able to spend more time with Oscar.  My previous job involved long hours and a lot of travel. I wanted to find a job that I could work around my son and the best option was to start up myself.

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How long has your business been up and running?

Bowery Productions will be three years old this November


Where are you based?

I am based in Glasgow but travel for filming.


What did you do before starting your business?

Before starting my company, I was a TV producer mostly making documentaries.  My most difficult challenge was filming a documentary with Russell Brand which involved a month travelling with him across America in a car!


How did you feel when you had just launched your business?

I was excited and ready for a challenge.


What were the main challenges or most important things to learn when you first started?

My son suffered a lot from tonsillitis, working for myself meant many days curled up on the sofa one arm around Oscar and the other editing on my computer.  My main challenge is not replying to emails when my husband and I have just sat down to watch a film.  Having my own business has meant I never know how or when to stop working.


 Did you get lots of support from family and friends?

My husband was great.  As an actor, he is used to the freelance world, so has been very supportive. He even trained up to film for Bowery, although I haven’t quite let him near the edits yet!  My friends and family were also great and offered lots of babysitting duties.

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Once you had started how long did it take for you to feel that it was an established business? 

I am almost fully booked for this year, and have actually taken on more than planned – which was the same as last year, so I feel that I have managed what I set out to do.


How did it feel when you secured your first client?

It was very exciting.  I almost didn’t believe they wanted to book me and kept trying to put them off.


What types of services do you offer?

Bowery Productions films and edits weddings, corporates and charity films.  The majority of our work goes up online.


What are the best things about running your own business?

The absolute best thing is working around me, when I want a day with my son and husband I get it.  When I want to go for lunch or a Yoga class during the day, I can. I like to work in the evenings and have lots of family days.


What are the worst?

Not switching off, always replying to emails and phone calls.


Is there anything you wished you’d known before you started? 

I have been fortune with getting clients, however I do need to learn to promote myself more.


What do you feel has been your greatest achievement so far?

I work regularly for Penguin Publishing filming with authors for their YouTube channel. I also film for The Sun newspaper as well as many other well known companies.  Bowery Productions was chosen to film the celebrity wedding of James Buckley (Jay from the Inbetweeners) as well as a Lord and Lady’s beautiful daughter’s wedding which included many well known faces.  I have been delighted that Bowery has achieved so many wonderful clients.


If you weren’t running your own business what do you think you would be doing?

I would still be working in television and feeling frustrated that I was missing my son growing up, thankfully that is not the case as Oscar is only at nursery 2 days a week.


 What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Seeing friends and family, Yoga and Meditation.


What advice would you give to other mums thinking about starting up their own business?

Take the risk, especially if it helps you achieve a work/family balance and enjoy it. Having a family and working for yourself is a wonderful position to be in, I highly recommend it.


Do you think running your own business has had a positive effect on your children and how they view you as a working mum?

I think having so much time with him has been invaluable.  He starts school next year and we have so much fun together.

I was filming in a beautiful 5 star hotel last week and had my 3 year old son with me, he commented “wow mummy I like your office, where does your computer sit” I had to explain that “sadly that is not my office, my office is the room that you leave all your toys in!”

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What plans do you have for your business in the future?

When my son starts school, I plan to expand and employe more people.


Where can we find out more about Bowery Productions? 



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