Wednesday January 1 2014

Manchester quilt maker crafts new business with free start-up advice

Manchester quilt maker crafts new business with free start-up advice

Manchester entrepreneur Lisa Watson has launched her first collection of handmade quilts with the help of one of the UK’s leading business start-up support services, Blue Orchid.
Quilts by Lisa Watson is a limited collection of traditional heirloom quilts, individually designed with a contemporary edge. Handcrafted in Manchester, the quilts are made using strictly British materials, right down to the buttons and thread. The range pays homage to Lisa’s Scottish heritage using luxurious fabrics like Harris Tweed and velvet in three rich colourways.

Lisa has worked across Manchester’s public sector in education and the arts since she first moved to the city from Edinburgh as a student in 1989. Inspired by her involvement with various textile-based arts commissions and successful businesswomen in the region, she began researching her own business ideas online. It was during this time she came across Blue Orchid’s local start-up services and applied for its help.
Working with a dedicated Blue Orchid business advisor, Lisa was able to shape a formal business plan that helped transform her idea for a bespoke quilt collection into a viable commercial proposition. She completed an intensive business bookkeeping workshop facilitated by Blue Orchid, and was able to work with her advisor on a one-on-one basis to develop the company name and structure.
Speaking about the support she received, Lisa Watson said: “It’s fantastic to be able to call upon an organisation like Blue Orchid. My advisor Stuart is a truly business-minded individual and is always forthcoming with information and objective advice. The seminar I attended on bookkeeping was actually quite exciting, and it’s encouraging to see just how many other people are starting their own businesses right here in Manchester.”
Quilts by Lisa Watson will launch an ecommerce platform in November. Using her home as a base for the business has helped Lisa to avoid the kind of costly overheads that many start-ups struggle with. She has spent the last few months building relationships with quality suppliers, and will continue to grow her customer base by networking with peers and potential retail stockists.
Blue Orchid business advisor Stuart Ridgway said: “By marrying her expertise in embroidery design and practical patchwork and quilting skills with the desire to be her own boss, Lisa has introduced a unique and high quality product to the market. The workmanship and materials that have gone into the range mean the quilts are made to last, and as a result the business shows every sign of becoming a fixture for designer soft furnishings in the UK.”
Interested entrepreneurs across Greater Manchester can access one-to-one business advice and support through Blue Orchid’s locally-based business start-up service. Based in easily accessible local venues, Blue Orchid’s business advisors work in the local community to offer a complete package of support for individuals wishing to set up their own business.
For more information about the services provided by Blue Orchid, please visit http://www.blueorchid.co.uk/


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