Interview with Lesley Owen – Fifi Stith, Custom Teddy Bears

Which one of these best describes you?

Early Planning Stage

Start-up

Established

 

Briefly describe your business

Fifi Stitch is a handmade teddy bear brand located in the luxury family market, which exports globally.

Briefly describe your education

BA (hons) in Fashion and PGDip in Entrepreneurial Practises. 

 

What made you decide to work for yourself?

To be my own boss, to have complete control over my future and for financial stubility

 

Did you receive any kind of business support from your school, college or university ?

Yes / NO

 

What was this?

The Womens Enterprise Hub (WEH) at the University of South Wales. I also had support from Bright Ideas whilst I was studying my PGDip at the University of South Wales in the form of mentoring and funding.

 

What was the most valuable piece of advice you were given?

To increase my prices! For a long time I undervalued my work, largely due to confidence and it strangled the growth potential of my business. I was also thinking like an artist before a business owner for a long time which I was supported to change through mentoring.

What was the most difficult aspect to starting/running a business?

Time and funding.

Starting with £10 I got the business started by retained profits. This has resulted in a very slow growth. I have a web designer working for me which helps in regards to time, but I otherwise run the business and make my products solo. I’ve struggled to find funding due to the habby/craft part nature of the business. I’m developing symbolic capital now as I grow roots better into the luxury market, and have a strong plan to gain funding through different avenues to employ a maker to increase volume and speed of production of my handmade products.

 

Do you know what a business incubator and accelerator programme is?

YES / NO

 

Have you participated in either ?

YES / NO

 

Where was this?

na

Have you received any support from the Welsh Government?

YES / NO

What was this?

Advise from the Business Wales website and I’ve attended many business support workshops. I’m using Business Wales to now support me with finding funding. Other than this the Welsh Gov. part funded me to complete my PGDip in entrepreneurial practices.v

 

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting a business, what would it be?

Don’t let fear get in between you and your ambisions and don’t be nervious about asking for help. There is always people who will be happy to help.

 

What do you think business support in Wales is lacking?

Finance for new start ups

Role models, industry mentors

Affordable premises

Post start-up support

 

Thanks Lesley!

 

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