Turning a home ironing service into a successful operation supplying over 400 weddings a year is no mean feat.
Taking on 5 staff and turning over £200,000 a year is even more impressive when you consider that Sinead Norton from Coleraine was faced with a shock redundancy and the need to provide for 4 children.
Yet that’s exactly what Sinead did and she added another 3 children to her family during her journey – moving from advertising her skills with the smoothing iron on her front lawn to opening Swift Cleaning and Ironing Services in Moneymore in little over a year.
Driven to succeed Sinead spotted a gap in the market for laundering wedding linens. She set her sights on working directly with hotels to maximise events and soon reaped the benefits.
“A year after opening we were contracted to 13 local hotels and we gave up our laundry and ironing service to open our services directly to brides.
We still use our professional laundry equipment, but now Swift Wedding Services launder our own stock, worth in excess of £60,000. This has allowed us to supply anddress more than 3,600 weddings and events in the last six years.
Our rapid growth is paying dividends and this year we are going to take on another three full time staff members as we gear up to expand the business even further.”
The pitfalls that entrepreneur Sinead Norton faced and avoided along the way are proving inspirational to a new generation of female entrepreneurs looking to create or grow their own businesses.
Sinead’s passion for helping women, especially mums, make their way in business has spurred her on to take a new challenge – supporting and encouraging mothers build their businesses through her newly created Mums at Work Group.
The newly formed and fast-growing community of like-minded mums in business has gained over 1,000 members, since January 2018. With each contributor keen to support each other personally and professionally.
“I understand how busy life can be with work and kids. But I also know how important it is to take the time to find help and advice on how to build your business and market yourself.
I know more than most how isolated the working mother can be and time to yourself is very limited.
I’ve started this group with the aim of helping any Mum who aspires to have a challenging, stimulating and fulfilling work career whilst having the freedom and flexibility to be with their family.
We want to offer support, guidance and a little me time for all working mums at our meet ups.”
Ranging from full-time employed mums looking to start a business to successful female entrepreneurs the member profile is as diverse as the mums themselves and meet up are sure to be vibrant events with inspirational rosters of speakers.
Following the success of 3 meet ups, and hundreds of requests from working mums across Northern Ireland. Sinead has put together a number of inspirational meet ups for March and April, with the aim to running a minimum of one per month throughout the year.
The next event will take place, in Belfast Crumlin Road Gaol, on Monday 19th March where local business mums will come together to hear from inspirational speakers including: Sonya McAllister, founder WST Community, Multi award winning hair dresser Keris Weir, Aly Harte, artist, writer and educator from East Belfast and Erin Lyle founder of Belfast’s first boutique fitness and dance studio.
Followed by a northwest event in Bushtown Hotel, Coleriane on 27th March 2018, where mums can join Sinead and local guest speakers, Anna McAuley, The Savvy Retailer, Stylist Iris Rowntree, Geri Martin, The Chocolate Manor NI and Jil Peterson from The Stables Flower Company.