Q&A with Susannagh Grogran founder of Susannagh Grogan Accessories
Photography credited to Peter Rowan
- Tell us about your business.
After a long and successful career designing fashion prints for leading names in London and New York, I launched my own luxury accessory label in 2009. I now design and manufacture high end silk scarves of varying sizes as well as printed leather accessories including purses, passport/travel document holders, and clutches. My label is sold in Brown Thomas and other leading shops. I also undertake specific scarf commissions most recently for Antropologie USA & UK, Aerlingus Boutique magazine and The Royal Collection Shop UK.
- How has Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown supported your business to date? Which support(s) has been most beneficial to you and your business?
When I started out my design experience was exceptionally solid but I had little accountancy experience so I took one of the business finance courses with The Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. Later on I went onto the 'Accelerate Your Business' course was extremely helpful in structuring growth plans, putting my ideas into actual plans and other practical ways to help my business. I still refer to my notes from the Accelerate course at regular intervals. Additionally I have received grants for marketing overseas which has helped me make initial contact with customers that have gone on to become very important to my business. Overall LEO DLR has been extremely helpful in supporting my business.
- What is your best sales tip?
Listen to your customer and don’t talk at them; you often learn more by listening to what they want. Love what you sell; people recognise if people are disingenuous or have ulterior motives so be genuine and positive and you must believe in what you are offering it’s impossible to sell it otherwise.
- What was the best business advice you have received?
Don’t take it personally. Often a customer may move on, it’s the ebb and flow of business especially in the fashion industry which can be fickle. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket for the same reason.
- How did you raise the finance for your business?
I started out with personal savings of €2000. From then on I tried to make the business pay for its self but if I need a loan for a specific project requiring large financing I have gone to the bank. I do regular cash flows and keep strict accounts as ultimately the figures have to add up no matter how beautiful my design might be and sometimes I have had to make hard design decisions on the back of financial ones.
- What are the best digital tools you have used to grow your business?
Mail chimp for newletters. Wordpress for website and photoshop for design. The internet has totally opened up how I work and allows me to work internationally easily. It’s amazing that I have done business purely through email alone and one of my largest sales was via email only, we never met or talked.
- What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Put the work in at quiet times, all hard work is ground work for outcomes you mightn’t have thought of yet and it usually pays off. You’ll get bad news days as ups and downs are part and parcel of any business so, dust yourself off, remain professional and keep working. Get help where needed and stick to what you do best. Most importantly always remember that your customer is #1.