For the next in my series of interviews with women who own a small business, I’m talking to Sheena Roberts. I met Sheena at Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire whilst doing a level 3 City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Certificate course, taught by Barbara Weeks. At the time Sheena and I were both employed in other spheres but we are now both self-employed with our own small businesses.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Sheena recently at the NEC, during at the Festival of Quilts (see my posts about this here, here, here, here and here), where she managed to take a little time out from her role as The Quilters’ Guild Festival Officer to talk to me.
What is the name of your business? Green Man Quilts
When did it start? January 2010
Why did you decide to start a business?
I had always wanted to be able to use my patchwork and quilting skills to earn money. I realised I couldn’t earn enough from making things. I had a flash of inspiration that I could use my skills in teaching and build a business that way.
What jobs had you done before?
Primary School teacher, library assistant, office administrator, make-up artist. I was involved in a direct sales business. It was that introduction into business and multi-level marketing that gave me a good grounding.
Tell me a bit about the business?
I teach predominantly beginning or early patchworkers and quilters. Despite that, all my classes have a strong design element to them. I don’t teach from kits. There is always the opportunity to adapt, change and challenge.
What things have been difficult for you in setting up/running your business?
Getting ‘bums on seats’! It’s very hard as a new business to be well enough know to fill classes of 12 or 16. I found that an insurmountable battle. As a result, I refocused my business on providing personalises classes for much smaller groups.
What would you say to someone in the early stages of setting up a business?
Don’t stop. Never turn round. Never go back.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
The freedom to respond creatively to fresh challenges.
And in other news… there’s a new pattern, ‘Compass and Stars’. You can find it here.