Last year, Sheila Bennett, a seamstress with a lifetime of experience in the textile industry, joined threads with her daughter Patricia, when her own dress making and design premises had to close its doors, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The increasing push across mainstream and social media, to back home grown businesses over the festive period of 2020, saw the industrial duo expand their services into the online world, with the launch of Patriciab.ie.
“I could stitch before I could write”, Patricia begins.
“In her earlier business days, mam would have sought advice from the LEO, who are extremely helpful. In my situation, I tend to turn to mam a lot, as she has so much business knowledge at this stage. It’s great for me to be able to bounce off her so much, because of her experience in the industry.”
If I wasn’t on social media, I don’t think I would have the same insight into what people want
Utilising the free world of social media to market products and connect with customers is vital for any business nowadays, but particularly under the current restrictions, Patricia agrees,
“If I wasn’t on social media, I don’t think I would have the same insight into what people want.
“That’s where our research is gathered and it’s where we get most of our product feedback. I also use social media to share and direct people towards the website.”
“People feel they know you on social media and it helps build a customer relationship. They love to see the actual manufacturing process too and Instagram is the ideal space to share that. There is far more of a grab by interacting with customers on social media, than just having a website.”
While there is certainly no shortage of passion or ideas, balancing a full-time career as a primary teacher with running a business is demanding, Patricia is not afraid to admit,
“There were plenty of late nights working and a busy couple of months, which we are very thankful for.
Having a partner to turn to is so important. It doesn’t have to be an official business partner
“But, finding the right work life balance is very tricky. I accept and trust though, that we will get there and find the right balance. ”
Emphasising the importance of a supportive network, Patricia speaks highly of her family’s backing to date,
“Having a partner to turn to is so important. It doesn’t have to be an official business partner.
“As long as you have somebody who will encourage you and not point out the negatives; somebody you can trust.
“Teamwork for us is a massive aspect of the business. We have all the family rowing in and it really helps the process.”
You could think of one hundred reasons people won’t like something, but you can’t dwell on that
Patricia believes in a recipe of a sprinkle of luck and a lot of pluck, for business success,
“In business, you are learning every day and every week. Don’t talk yourself down.
“You could think of one hundred reasons people won’t like something, but you can’t dwell on that. If I’ve learned anything these last few months it’s that you’ll never know if you don’t try!”
Find @Patriciabie on Instagram for more.
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