Case Study

Local entrepreneur is dyeing to start her own business

The revival of cloth dyeing, upcycling, slow fashion, and artisanal products is well and truly on the rise as consumers nowadays are becoming more considerate of what they buy and why they buy. After months of training and research in this field, Gabriella Weatherhead, from Antrim decided to combine her love for textile design and nature and plant her business idea firmly on the ground.

Leaf Alkemy specialises in making naturally dyed textile designs for clothing and accessories, using a range of techniques including eco-printing with real plant material, Shibori resist dyeing, fabric painting and printing and solid colour plant dyes. Each item is made from natural fibres including reusable clothing and materials with every piece reflecting nature and immortalising the plants from our gardens, hedgerows, and forests.

“I feel that my key strength is the fact that it is unique in the type of products it offers, using the natural dyeing methods as well as the fact that each item is one of a kind, no two designs are the same. I am also always developing new products and continuing my training in new techniques in the complex botanical dyeing field”

Since starting her business in mid 2020 Gabriella has faced many challenges due to the Covid 19 restrictions as this has prevented the opening of markets and fairs, but she has not let this stop her and has used the time to develop her website and receive support from the Business Start Up Coaching programme to develop her marketing knowledge and social media presence.

“I am looking forward to getting back out there to showcase my pieces as sometimes photographs cannot convey the same experience as seeing the real thing”

Gabriella Weatherhead

How would Gabriella describe her coach

My coach forced me to think in a more focused way about what my business concept is, who my customers are, how to promote the business better, and helped me discover different ways of digital marketing. She was professional, knowledgeable while also very friendly and approachable.

How to avail of the Business Start Up Coaching Programme

Gabriella received coaching under Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council's Business Start Up Coaching Programme.

The programme which runs until June 2021, is available to anyone within the borough, who has completed a business plan under the Go For It programme

For further details on Go For It

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