Interview with a career change mum - Sinead Foley-West
Today I interview the brilliant Sinead Foley West who has the most beautiful shop called Seed in Somerset (she also sells online).
1) What gave you the idea to start up your business?
I had lots of super talented friends who couldn’t get represented by galleries because they weren’t already represented by anyone and hadn’t established a name for themselves. I decided I want to help support and represent artists and designers in the earlier stages of their career, giving them an outlet to sell with the hope they could then further develop their brand.
2) What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
I did a lot of research about how artists/designers work with galleries. I created a business plan and did many trade shows, then setup my website to sell online (www.designsbyseed.co.uk) before taking the leap to open my first shop.
3) Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
I didn’t receive any help or support in an official capacity. My Father had run his own business from an early age, so he helped me greatly with my plan and forecasts.
4) Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client
Seed sells work from emerging artists and designers, from homewares and art through to jewellery and accessories. 90% of what we sell is British and handmade and usually in very limited supply. I’m really passionate about supporting the individual and buying items with provenance and a story- that’s far more exciting than buying mass-produced items from the high street. So anyone who appreciates this ethos would be an ideal customer.
5) What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
When you have your own business it’s very personal. When a new artist sells their work I’m really excited for them, some people have been creating for a long time before they bring their products to market and it can be a solitary time. I love giving people the good news that someone loves their products as much as we do, all their hard work is paying off. When someone tells me they love the shop and what we do, it’s a fantastic feeling, I feel proud of everyone involved and our hard work.
6) What has been the biggest challenge?
Being 100 miles away! When I had my daughter I moved back to London as my husband’s work was based here, the shop is in Frome, Somerset. I miss not being able to pop into the shop easily and miss seeing all our lovely customers. We have a great team and we’ve adapted well, I just miss being there on a more regular basis.
7) If you could go back and give yourself some advise what would it be?
I think it’s important to be flexible and adapt. Seed still has the same ethos it always did, but as the market fluctuates it’s important to be nimble and adapt to customer requirements.