John O'Donnell of Sewing machines Ireland had a struggling business, reliant on local trade, then with advice and financial assistance from Local Enterprise Office he discovered new markets on-line and is turning the business around. The perfect example of this is a new order from the Irish Countrywoman's Association for their An Grainan Programme. Sewing and knitting have enjoyed a mild renaissance of late with an emphasis on traditional values and money saving habits. This combined with a new national presence has given John O'Donnell's business a new lease of life.
The first Singer Sewing machine shop in Waterford was established in Broad St in the late 1890s selling and repairing sewing machines and accessories, wool, material and haberdashery. The current owner, John O'Donnell is the second generation in the family business. His father, the late Tommy O Donnell came to Waterford with his Wife Breda, (who is still involved in the business) in the early sixties from Mallow to take over the running of the shop. John was born and lived upstairs over the shop in the late sixties so he literally has being involved in sewing machines all his life!
The business is nationwide, selling and repairing sewing machine to many schools and colleges throughout the republic, also supplying industrial sewing machines.
John explains how he approached the Enterprise Office, "In 2010 I approached the City Enterprise Office to see about getting some help to start up an Ecommerce web-site. We had a home page and dot com name (sewingmachinesireland.com) I talked to Ciaran who was most helpful and he asked me to summit a business plan in relation to the web-site and how it would work. The enterprise board agreed to give us a 50% grant to develop the site, which has been a great success and really broadened our business from a regional to national level. The Enterprise Office arranged training to help us expand our business online which I found extremely effective. Sometimes being self- employed is a lonely place and we all need help to re-energise and motivate ourselves."
"My selling points were that we can sell sewing machines at the same prices as UK web-sites though offer a better back-up service if something goes wrong. Most Irish people will buy Irish if the prices are similar. Also with the new motorway from Dublin potential customers can come down in under two hours and sample the sewing machines before they buy. We have 80% of the sewing machines that are featured on our site in stock at any one time."
Sewingmachinesireland.com supply and service almost all the major sewing machine brands, Pfaff, Janome, Husqvarna Viking and of course Singer . We normally have in stock up to forty different types of sewing machines to choose from and we demonstrate and repair on the premises all the machines that we sell.
Local Enterprise Office offers support services for start-up and existing SME's in Waterford city. If you have a new business idea or are running a business that requires assistance you can contact the Enterprise Office by phoning 051-852883 or check out what they have to offer first on www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford.