I joined the Women in Business YES YOU CAN Programme last year.
I thought that you might like to know a little about me and how Les Papillons became what it is and hopefully follow to see what will happen next.
Tell us about your business and your role within Les Papillons.
My business grew from a hobby. I had always loved to paint and had a deep need to be creative. I also loved that feeling I get when someone loves what you do and puts their hand in their pocket to buy what you make. I want them to buy more!
Les Papillons is my business. I paint miniatures onto jewellery, predominantly of little landscapes and pet portraits to wear. I also paint larger paintings to hang, but this is limited because of arthritis in my painting hand. As well as painting, I design traditional crockery for the modern home. These ideas are thrown on a wheel which I paint before being fired.
Recently, I have worked with a Donegal factory to produce clothing, bags, table linen and homeware with my artwork printed onto them. I use quality velvet, fabric made from recycled plastic, ethically sourced bamboo, Irish linen and Donegal tweed to make these.
I design and outsource printing and other tasks that I don't have time to complete anymore... a good sign. I'm busy, but I am the creator. As a sole trader, I am also responsible for finding new sales streams and working on social media.
What aspect of the Yes You Can Programme did you take part in?
The Explore It Programme as confidence is a hard sought skill. It must be worked on, reaffirmed, and believed. The thought of joining a was daunting. When applying, I initally failed to get accepted due to not filling out my application form properly. However, I was lucky enough that there were extra spaces available. It was for start-ups and the women I was introduced to were so generous with their knowledge and advice.
I'm now on WIB mentoring programme with Sarah Mackie, joint owner of Larchfield Estate, and she is providing encouragement and business wisdom. She is viewing my business from a distance and helping me see it for what it is and what it can be!
Why did you decide to get involved in Yes You Can?
I got involved with the Yes You Can programme because I really didn't know what I was doing, I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how to get there.
How was the Yes You Can experience?
I'd have probably given up without Yes You Can. The programme has a structure, but it also feels organic. Kyrene Moynihan, from Foods to Flourish, was on the same programme as me and she said it best - 'small steps climb mountains'. The Yes You Can experience gave me the information I needed to know in bite sized pieces and introduced me to people who gave me the information I needed at the right time to elevate my business idea to the next level. I didn't have a road map, but the people who went before me gave me directions.
Which skills or experiences from the programme helped most in your business?
Confidence was first and foremost. Also, access to new contacts and recognising that if I can't do it/ don't have time to do it, then it is best to give it to someone else who can do it. In my case I needed someone who could sort out a website and link it to social media as well as needing an accountant. It’s all about making connections. It is good to be in a room with women who know what it is like.
What is your advice to those who are thinking of applying?
Do it! Don't be shy. Listen and ask questions and don't join to sell. Join to learn how to sell in order to grow your business. Turn up for every class. It is a fantastic opportunity. Don't waste it...