My Story - Chapter 1
10 years ago this year, I had an idea. to start my own business, that idea became multi award winning www.simplybowsandchaircovers.co.uk
I thought some of you may like to know where and how it all began. I plan over the next few weeks to give you chapters in separate posts.
The Dark Days
I'm not sure where I found the strength to be creative and to think strategically about setting up a business, because my former colleagues and I had just lost the events company that I was a director in, which was forced to close in the recession of 2008, leaving me a bankrupt single mum on income support. I’ll never forget my first experience in Consett Job Centre, sat next to a guy on the sick who had apparently fallen off a roof and him trying to sell me his mobile phone.
My head was all over the place as not only was I on income support, which I found humiliating as I had never ever relied on anyone for money, but I could also no longer pay my mortgage and therefore it was only a matter of time before the home I shared with my 9 year old son was repossessed. To lose all control, no bank account no financial security for my sons future was one of the darkest times of my life. I felt that I had failed him.
Whilst the roof was still over our heads and I had a home computer, I decided to use my time being unemployed wisely. I had identified whilst in events a gap in the market for specialist event linen and chair covers and after further research knew I could deliver better than that available.
I realised being at home how important it was to have time with my son, he was growing up before my eyes, I wanted my own business, to paddle my own canoe and most importantly it had to fit around him.
Next... Making a Plan
"Sarah Pittendrigh was a fantastic addition to our speaking roster at our small business initiative event, #SBS Small Business Sunday 2019. Sharing her journey on building up her business, as well as how to franchise a business, her session proved invaluable for our small business attendees and the feedback has been excellent! Thank you Sarah."
Jess Littlewood - #SBS Small Business Sunday, Theo Paphitis Retail Group
"Sarah is everything a successful entrepreneur should be, creative, tenacious with a clear vision on how to develop her business. She never ceases to impress me with her energy, attention to detail and most importantly, is always comfortable leading from the front with her hands on management style..."
Nick Holmes - Former MD at Rockliffe Hall, Non Executive Director positions at Gisborough Hall, Swinton Estate and Ramside Hall
"Having set up my business when I was 23, Sarah's advice and experiences in the wedding industry were a vital part in the success of my Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchise. As a franchisor, Sarah has always been on the other end of the phone to help me with my dilemmas and pass on her experience and business advice..."
Joanne Smith - Simply Bows and Chair Covers Lancashire
"Sarah was asked to support the wedding product here. Right from the first meeting she was professional, personable and down to earth. She found out as much information as possible, including attending events to get a feel for our product first hand and give her the best insight..."
Ruairidh Taylor - Hotel Manager, Gisborough Hall Hotel
"I hope our paths cross again before too long because I think you’re a brilliant example to budding doubters like me and a flipping great individual too! Thanks again for the inspiration you are and always be aware that folks like me, who’ve had the good fortune to meet you, are better for it..."
Alan Green - Corporate Photographer
"Sarah is an extremely good listener and will look at projects from all angles and give help and advice from her perspective.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Sarah as a mentor and indeed will be back in touch with her soon with regards to my next business venture..."
"I was so inspired by Sarah’s story, where she had been, what she had endured and the phenomenal success she made Simply Bows and Chair Covers I just knew I had to be a part of this great business model.
I have now been running my franchise for the last 4 years and I love it. Sarah is very supportive, knowledgeable and I know if I need advice she will always be there..."
Adele - Simply Bows & Chair Covers, South Wales