My Story - Chapter 4 - Product to Market
I have never been shy in asking for help. During my research I made contact with a lady in Hollywood, LA, who had a fabulous company that was supplying some of the most outstanding table linen to A List Celebrities for parties and high profile events. I told her of my situation and through our discussions and formed friendship, we identified that her “last season” was still streets ahead of anything available in the UK, so to get me started I used some of her stock as samples, to demonstrate an example of the “Luxury” range I would offer and go onto design and manufacture myself. I sourced locally a manufacturer to make my chair covers and every day table linen and napkins.
My first chair cover template was made from a borrowed chair off Marriott Hotel Gosforth. I was so excited! I made them in a number of colours and put matching napkins with them. Each chair cover we offered would be cut from a template of the venues chair, ensuring the perfect fit.
I now had product to take to market, but no vehicle to get there.
I did have a car sat on the drive, a nice Range Rover Sport. I had been waiting weeks for the contract hire company to take it away. Well, waste not want not. I borrowed the money off my parents to insure it by the day and put enough fuel in it to get me to meetings and home again.
I turned up to present Simply Bows and Chair Covers in a new Range Rover, pulling a silver suitcase of product. Now that goes to show, everything is not always as it seems!!
When pitching for business, I told each prospective client of my situation, including the fact the car wasn’t mine! I have never been one to pretend I’m something that I’m not.
I explained my Brand Values, why I believed I could offer a better service and product and before I knew it, I was offered the opportunity to be on the preferred supplier list of most of the Luxury Hotels in the North East of England.
Could I possibly now save our home?
Next... Growing the Brand
"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
"I joined the team at Simply Bows & Chair Covers Northumberland in 2015, this was a big step for me but Sarah gave me some good advice and lots of support. This was the best move I made and I have not looked back. Thanks to Sarah's guidance and time that she has invested in me, I feel stronger and more confident not only in my work but in life in general..."
Debbie - Simply Bows & Chair Covers, Northumberland