Pictured above; Sharon Kerr (Poise and Presents) and Julie Halliday (Business Adviser, Mallusk Enterprise Park)
Local female entrepreneur Sharon Kerr from Newtownabbey received support to pursue her business idea from Mallusk Enterprise Park. We grabbed 5 minutes of her time to find out more……..
Did you always want to be self employed?
To be perfectly honest, I had never thought of becoming a business owner before registering for a course at Mallusk Enterprise Park a few years ago. I have always been content enough in full-time employment with a fixed income and the security a Local Government job brings with it.
How long did you have the idea before meeting with a Business Adviser to discuss?
This idea I had for about 4 weeks before arranging an appointment with Mallusk Enterprise Park. Once I brought a couple of samples and received positive feedback, an appointment with a Go For It business mentor was arranged for me.
What does your business do?
My business combines faux flowers with arts and crafts to create unusual and bespoke arrangements for most occasions in life. I provide a very personal local service to those attending weddings, school formals, day at the races, gala dinner dances as well as a range of bespoke faux floral arrangements for special occasions. I specialise in wrist corsages and buttonholes which are hand sewn in place for integrity and prolonged usage. I also create dummy cake tiers for celebrations including weddings for those couples working to a limited financial budget.
How long have you been trading?
I started trading in September 2018.
Are you happy that you chose self-employment?
I don’t regret starting a business, in fact now that I have I would have regretted not taking the plunge. I feel a sense of ownership and purpose, a sense of fulfillment for my talents and am able to share my talent to create unusual and bespoke items that play a small part in my customers special occasions. I could never have imagined that within 3 months of trading some of my samples would be on display in prime location boutiques in Belfast and Larne, I’m still trying to take that in.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone starting up what would it be?
My advice would be this, even experts get it wrong. Take all the advice you can get from various sources and see what fits best with you and how you manage and cope with decisions. You won’t always get it right, in fact you’ll probably get a lot of things wrong, put it down to experience and learn from it.
Was the Go For It Programme beneficial to you? If so, how?
The Go For It Programme was a starting point for me. I knew very little about business and the programme laid the foundations on which I could build a small business. The fact that I had a mentor and the staff at Mallusk Enterprise Park to turn to for assistance meant that I could pass my fears and worries to them for answers and possible solutions.
What was the best part of the program?
For me it was the time allocated to spend with the business mentor. That meant a real person was giving you information, guidance and encouragement to progress to the next stage. It’s one thing to source information about starting a business from the web or books, in reality a person who has been there and done that is core to your decision making process.
How did you finance your business?
I started my business at 48 and I didn’t want to start off with loans or any borrowed finance, so we had a few pounds in the bank I purchased some supplies and as I sell each one I buy more stock. This way when I do make greater progress apart from the usual bills we all have to pay, the profits are mine which is a great sense of achievement.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I have no plans to operate from a commercial setting at this point, but I wouldn’t rule it out altogether. I’d like to have a workshop but I’d need to move house to have the room for a workshop. If the business continues to grow and my reputation for great quality arrangements continues to spread I’d like to take some floristry courses so I could expand my range.
To visit Poise & Presents click here
If you have a business idea which you would like to explore please contact the team in Mallusk Enterprise Park by clicking here