When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
When Covid-19 hit, and local entrepreneurs Richard and Natalie Stewart found themselves being made redundant, that is exactly what they did when they turned their hobby and passion for wood-crafting into a business.
Richard explains how they commenced Hoddmimir’s Wood Craft: “We both came from stable jobs but when Covid hit, we were made redundant. We fell back on our woodworking hobby and decided to look at turning it into a business. It is a scary step walking away from a full-time job and a stable income. But we turned that negative into a positive.”
Supported through Universal Credit during their start-up period, they also availed of mentoring support with a business adviser from Antrim Enterprise.
“We had so many untold amount of questions. Thankfully people like Jennifer from Antrim Enterprise were there to help and support us. From forming partnerships to HMRC to promoting ourselves to take forward our projects.”
There are two sides to the business; retail and live demonstrations of traditional woodworking techniques. The retail is both corporate gift and craft items for sale in craft and speciality markets, fairs as well as directly through their website. Their products are inspired by historical artifacts from the Viking and Celtic history with imagery being hand-painted or burned onto the turned wood by Natalie.
On self-employment Natalie says: “We wouldn’t go back as we enjoy what we do far too much. We have a better work life balance even though we probably work harder and longer than we’ve ever worked in a job before. The difference is it’s for us, it’s for our family. Our children are now even considering self-employment options.”
Antrim Enterprise were amazing to break things down into smaller steps and navigate us through all the legal stuff to become a partnership.”
Richard concludes by saying: “If you are passionate about something, just do it. Take the help you can get. It is there. Just do it.”
The Entrepreneurship Programme provides free coaching and a range of workshops on key business start topics along.
If you have a business idea, you’d like some guidance and support with contact Jennifer McWilliams, Antrim Enterprise 028 9446 7774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Entrepreneurship Programme is funded by the Antrim and Newtownabbey Labour Market Partnership.