20 Questions in the Wicklow Enterprise Hot Seat
What led you to starting your business? I always had a passion for sugarcraft in particular, but it was actually bullying in 3 different jobs that made me take the leap, I just thought, nothing could be tougher than that, so I went for it.
How did you raise the start-up funds you needed? I had been collecting bits of equipment over a lot of years, so had a good start. I had my savings, and got a grant from the enterprise board. I went down to €50 in my savings, but that just made me more determined to make it work, I still had to pay a mortgage, bills etc, so I couldn’t fail.
What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business? I’ll never forget the first 6 weeks after I started. I went down to €50 in my savings, but that just made me more determined to make it work, I still had to pay a mortgage, bills etc, so I couldn’t fail. Now looking back, I take only work that pays off, and don’t take work for the sake of having work. Also I wasn’t afraid to take help that was offered, through friends and family.
What’s the best business book you’ve ever read – if any (doesn’t have to be a business book, maybe a fictional story that inspired you in your business) None really, but my best lessons have been learned off social media, really just watching others run their business. I do lots of one day classes, workshops and soak up anything relevant on the internet.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most? Don’t think there is one in particular, I admire myself for taking the plunge to be honest, and its taken a lot of years for me to recognise that. Now that I am 11 years down the road, I see that if you have a really good product, people will find you and it will sell.
What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date? Probably that I am self- employed, so if it fails, I have no fall back, i.e. health insurance, social welfare is just not there. It always seems very unfair that there is nothing there for employers themselves.
What has been the proudest moment in your business so far – your proudest achievement, or moment of significance to you? My proudest is when I get an order from overseas, so this week one of my toppers went to Denmark. I also just got a really large order for a bakery in Dublin. Orders like that have proven to me I have the groundwork done really well and it is a huge success, and I always think it’s a bit mad that my little business is being found by people all over the world. My proudest achievement is my Olympic Silver Medal and European Cup medal, for the Irish Culinary and Bakery team. Last weekend I won Silver at the BSG Dublin Sugarcraft Show, all those awards make me proud as they take so much time and challenge me to my max to achieve them.
What was the best piece of business advice you ever got? It’s a quote I never forget… ”Selling Is… Communication For Persuasion” I always quote it in my head.
Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there? I don’t have a technique, I just believe in really hard work and never losing the passion for my craft. My number one rule is a good product at a fair price.
What magazine do you never miss each month? Don’t read much magazines, but never go a day without Facebook.
What is your favourite film? Happy Feet
What is your favourite ad – on TV, radio or viral? Oh the Kellogs Cornflakes add, the Christmas one, the original one.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business? Don’t give up on you idea, if it doesn’t work straight away, keep plugging at it until you have it right. Above listen to you customers, they will tell you what works. Be flexible, but don’t be a fool
What do you like to do when you’re not running your business? Any hobbies? Eating, which I do a lot of???
Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance? What is it?! No I seem to work a lot, I try to have the rule to shut the work door and turn off the computer after 6.00. I don’t answer the phone after 6.
What’s your website? Tell us your address. www.sweetcreations.ie
Do you have a Facebook page? Let us know what it is. https://www.facebook.com/sweetcreations.ie
Are you on Twitter? Share your profile if you like. Not on there.
How has LEO Wicklow helped you and/or your business? Wicklow and Offaly Enterprise are a huge part of why I am where I am. I have done many of the courses with them, have had financial help through the building of my website, start up grant and the food academy. I could never have done some of wht I have done without their help.
If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently? Not a thing, not even the bullying, if that had never happened me, I would probably never have started my business, so wouldn’t have reached my potential. I often think about my x-bosses, and thank them for making my life hell for so many years, it made my life what it is today. And tough and all as it was, it made me a tougher person, but also better person.