In this week’s Supporting Local feature we caught up with Samantha Stuart of Pretty Bowtique based in Carrick on Suir.
Tell us a little about about Pretty Bowtique:
My name is Samantha - I’m a mum of three and the owner, designer and maker behind Pretty Bowtique. Pretty Bowtique is an Irish handmade children’s hair accessories business creating pieces for children of all ages and many occasions.
I design and hand make beautiful pieces for new babies, christenings, first birthdays, everyday bows , communions and weddings and it is so wonderful to be part of many treasured moments. All the pieces are handmade in Pretty Bowtique home studio using only the best and safest materials to bring you only the best products and a Pretty Bowtique collection that is unique in its own way.
When did Pretty Bowtique start?
I started the business in 2017 while I was a stay at home mum.
How many work in the business?
What has been the biggest challenge since the business began?
Having no employees and doing all the work on my own. As the business is growing and growing it's very hard to keep on top of everything. I would say administration is an area of the business I dislike the most and find it hard to keep on top of it.
I have an extremely supportive husband and teenage daughter who help me when they can. I love the making process and I get lost making pieces and coming up with new ideas. I would make all day and never get fed up of it. It brings me so much joy.
What has been your proudest moment in the business?
Getting my own website and seeing my products being sent to every county in Ireland daily and turning the business into a full time job. It makes me so happy to see so many people love my work and use my pieces for many occasions in their little ladies lives and come back again and again to buy from me.
Who inspires you from a business perspective?
I've been extremely lucky to have so much support on my business journey from the local LEO office in Clonmel providing me with super mentors like Irish Designer Aoife Harrington. I was also very lucky to get onto the Acorns programme, a programme for woman entrepreneurs. On this programme you are given a mentor and get to work on a team with other female entrepreneurs. I have gotten so much out of this programme. But I must mention that I have been very lucky to meet a fellow female entrepreneur Tara from the feel good collective based in Clonmel. She encourages, supports and inspires me every day. She is an amazing business woman and friend.
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How has the business adapted in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?
During the Covid pandemic my business has been at a record high. Customers have been gifting many items for new baby gift, birthday gifts and random gifting. Also it gave me the chance to create a new communion collection which has been a massive hit and I am delighted to work with other small business owners and designers.
For example Triona from Darcybow Dresses, who designs communion dresses, and we work very closely together, Lynne from My Dress Bridal who recently set up a new Communion room here in Carrick on Suir and my pieces are available to view and try on.
We also got to work with John Murphy photography to take amazing pictures in Raheen house when we came out of the first lock down.
What is your advice to others starting out in the industry?
Do your homework first, plan and prepare. Look at the market. Have your goals in place and revisit them often. Having your own business is extremely hard work you need to be invested in it personally and work hard at it but also love what you do as it can be a 24/7 job.
Where can people find out more:
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