All posts filed under “Local business

Alyson Reid from The Creamery Can

So The Creamery Can is up and running now as a brand new business and all of a sudden we are thrust into a very different life dynamic! I have learned much on the journey this far and there is still much more to learn for the future.

Like many, perhaps reading this article with a dream of launching a new business, I would say there is never the perfect, fail-safe time to start! It’s really much more about your own personal drive and ambition to make it fly than all the market research in the world. Of course it makes sense to consider the market but we have proved that if you really believe you have something to offer and you are willing to commit fully to making it a success then so it shall be. You must believe in your business, and in yourself, even when perhaps others around you don’t yet share your vision. Stay focused.

I also believe in creating community and good relationships with customers and local businesses. We are very privileged to have such a great location close to a busy main road, yet in the middle of the countryside. It’s just a total joy to meet new friends and neighbours as we get to know those we are seeking to serve. They are so much more than another customer order! We try as far as possible to cater for the specific needs of everyone who comes through our doors. They will be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome and we are genuinely delighted to see very single person and to honour their requirements. People matter – not just profit! As one customer cheerfully remarked ‘You’re like the village pub except you’re not a pub!’ We get that!

That also goes for the guys delivering everything from the groceries to the crockery, our friends at the local Post Office who help us get change – all these folks we are getting to know because this is part of who we are as a business. If we can’t cater for someone we are happy to recommend other local outlets who can. On a wider scale we are so excited for all the businesses linked into Ballymena Today because we can learn and benefit so much from working together in community, particularly with honour and mutual blessing at the core.

So above all the practical challenges and targets of launching and running your own business – and yes there are many – my main points of advice to anyone thinking of making a start is :-

  • Be clear of what your business vision is – what you want to achieve and how to get there
  • Invest not just financially but with your heart and passion. Your business will matter more to you than anyone else. It’s up to you to preserve your enthusiasm!
  • Hold true to core values of trust, integrity and respect.
  • You will be a learner continually. Don’t be afraid to fail or be offended when you do!

Personally I look forward to the launch of many more new enterprises in our town and beyond. From all our team at The Creamery Can – every success and best wishes!

Louise & Gloria from LL Crafts

LL Crafts is a small cottage industry at Galgorm, Ballymena, Co.Antrim established by myself Northern Irish Artist and Art Tutor Louise Lester (BA Hons). Family run for 13 years now, LL Crafts has enjoyed a great relationship with my customer’s community and further afield, building all the time. I offer bespoke personalised ‘Hand-Painted Crafts & Gifts’, big or small my craft commissioned orders are suitable for any occasion.

LL Crafts high standard motto is- ‘Quality : Pride : Deliver’ and all crafts are eco-friendly and cross-community.
Offering ‘Anything painted onto Anything’ is always a great challenge and I have had some brilliant unusual items supplied by customers to be painted!

Where it all started …….

I graduated from University of Ulster, Belfast in 2001 and then headed back home to the countryside, where my passion and love for art really kicked in! With the support of my family, the ‘Gracehill Village Fair’ was my starting event, progressing on to my local ‘Saturday Market’, even doing a Christmas Eve market. What a great bunch of folk the market stall holders were, and they did look after me well …… it’s a great place to start! For those initial five months I listened to all ideas, feedback and comments, realising that there’s never a bad comment, only a challenging one! Plenty of craft fairs and events were also great opportunities to advertise my products and increase the awareness of my business.

So, with ‘baby steps’ and attention to detail, LL Crafts has continued to grow, to be the successful business it is today. I learned at college that – “Your best lessons are your worst mistakes” and my mum’s motto always was- “Make molehills out of mountains”. These are both great building blocks to base any business on. 

My passion for art is now also being passed onto others, via my ‘Enjoy Painting Art Classes’ which have been building up as eight years. I love tutoring in my ‘Cross-Community Art Classes’ and my ‘Art & Card Workshops’.

I still couldn’t stop there though, LL Crafts Fundraising was created five years ago and it is such a good ‘feel factor’ being able to use my art to give something back to the community! We love doing small, simple and supportive fundraising.

Also, LL Crafts now as two years has been offering ‘Work Experience’ to art students from local schools and colleges, giving them a taste of what LL Crafts involves and allowing us to get involved with the next generation of budding artists!