Business Profile: Sperrin Sparkles

Contact: Claire Robertson
Business: Sperrin Sparkles
T: (028) 8224 2881
M: 07742081728

Business Profile: Sperrin Sparkles


Can you describe your business?

Sperrin Sparkles is a home spun cottage industry where I design and create bespoke beaded costume jewellery and gifts. I fashion jewellery for all occasions from casual comfortable everyday pieces to sparkling evening wear from quality beads at affordable prices. Recently I have created a new range ‘Celtic Keepsakes’, which has allowed me to incorporate a love of Irish symbols into my work. This range has proved very popular with both locals and tourists alike.

Why did you start your business?

Eight years ago, my husband first suggested I sign up for a jewellery making course, he knew I have always enjoyed crafts and jewellery and I think secretly just wanted me out of the house. Little did he know what he had started. I quickly fell in love with the craft, a way to express my creativity, relax and buy shiny beads. Family and friends expressed that I had a flair and a talent for it and through their encouragement I took my first steps into turning my hobby into a business and started onto the small craft fair circuit. The sense of pride I enjoyed hearing the compliments of strangers and seeing people purchasing my creations drove me to take the plunge and follow my passion full time. Five years ago I attended a business start-up programme through Omagh Enterprise, who helped me develop the skills I needed to draw up a business plan and get the ball rolling.

What are the best things about running your own business?

Being your own boss has to be top of the list. Being responsible for every aspect of the business means I am continually learning, but It allows me to fit my business around my family life and you get great satisfaction when a job is well done. Pride. I still find it surreal that I have created thousands of pieces of jewellery which have been sold all over the world. I am also very lucky to have built up a loyal customer base who repeatedly buy my creations. Being able to choose my own working hours. It has allowed me to mix with like-minded people and take an active role as one of the five directors of the Omagh Craft Collective CIC of which I am also very proud. We are a non-profit making organisation giving up our time voluntarily to set up and run a pop up shop for the eight to 12 week period on the run up to Christmas. Now in our sixth year we stock the wares of thirty plus talented local crafters. The shop is run by its crafters. Over 85 per-cent of what goes into the till goes straight back to the producers. We are only able to do this thanks to the support we get from our customers and for that I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you.

What are the main challenges facing your business?

Jewellery is a very competitive market and in the world of hand crafted goods there are many hobbyists selling their work for ridiculously low prices as often all they request is the cost of their materials. Having your own business and selling to make a living is a very different story. Less than fifty percent of my time is actually spent designing and creating my jewellery. The rest of the time is spent doing clerical work, photographing and cataloguing my pieces and promoting the business on social media etc. all of which has to be factored in to the price of my work so keeping it affordable yet profitable is a constant challenge. Keeping up with fashion trends and continually evolving to keep my business fresh and my repeat customers engaged can also be quite a test but one I enjoy.

What advice would you give someone starting a business?

You need to be more than just passionate about what you do. You need to know about business. Make a business plan, do your research, set realistic targets and strive to meet them. Borrow as little as possible and let your business grow on its profits. Be prepared to work long hours but if you enjoying what you are doing it will not seem like work. Seek advice, you may not use it all but it’s good to get other people’s views and perspectives on your ideas and problems. From day one put customer service top of your list of priorities

Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less.

Worth every effort.