This week, for the seventh in this series of interviews with (female) small business owners, I am very happy to be talking to my friend Sharon Robins, who owns a business located in the City of Durham (UK). Sharon and I are members of the same quilt group, so I have been privileged to see the development of her business at first hand.
What is the name of your business? Raggy Robin
When did it start? May 2015. (My Etsy shop began in 2014.)
Why did you decide to start a business?
I wanted to work in a creative career, which I wasn’t doing before. I wanted to incorporate my teaching training as well.
What jobs had you done before?
I worked in the NHS for 12 years, in retail, in a factory, doing office jobs, I cleaned houses and worked behind the bar in pubs and clubs. It was never fulfilling – that thing where you want to get out of bed on a morning.
Tell me a bit about the business?
I had an environmental background. I wanted to do something that would bring in the idea of ‘think globally, act locally’. I can help people locally to recycle and re-purpose. I write appliqué patterns, encouraging people to re-cycle or even use the tiniest bits of fabric, hence the name ‘Raggy Robin’. In the shop, I have the saying ‘Your aim in life is to find your passion and your purpose in life is to share it’. My ‘Patch Club’ started with the idea of using just small pieces.
What things have been difficult for you in setting up/running your business?
Doing everything yourself, when you are a one-man band: shopping, cleaning, accounts, serving in the shop, teaching, running the website, answering every email.
What would you say to someone in the early stages of setting up a business?
Don’t have all your eggs in one basket! You must have multiple sources of income.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
I just love the freedom and the creativity. I can just invent something, make something new, invent a new stitch, host a sewing party if I want to.
And in other news…
My cot quilt pattern ‘I Spy A…’ appears in the current edition of Quilt Now.
It’s a colourful quilt that uses novelty prints set in a maze-like trail – lots for a young child to look at. You can find the pattern on page 84 of Issue 41, which looks like this: