It was ter­ri­fy­ing’

ex­pe­ri­ences led her to cre­ate the prod­uct @Lisa_j _Smyth

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

the smell in the house when you walk in.

“I re­ally en­joy that side of things but there is also a lot of pa­per­work and that takes up a lot of time.

“If I sell some­thing I have to be able to say ex­actly where I got each in­gre­di­ent that is used in the cream or bar.”

Betty cur­rently sells her prod­ucts at a va­ri­ety of fairs and mar­kets, but she has be­come more se­lec­tive when it comes to choos­ing which event to at­tend.

“I try to go to places where all the prod­ucts that are be­ing sold are hand­made so peo­ple know that I am not sell­ing some­thing that is bulk made,” says Betty.

“The first time I did a mar­ket I found the whole ex­pe­ri­ence ter­ri­fy­ing.

“I sat be­hind the ta­ble and waited for peo­ple to come to me and then I re­alised that I had to ap­proach po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

“I re­mem­ber the first time I asked some­one if they wanted to try one of my creams and they said ‘no’, I was ab­so­lutely mor­ti­fied.

“I don’t take it per­son­ally now though, I just un­der­stand that not ev­ery­one is in­ter­ested in buy­ing some­thing from me.”

Betty now rel­ishes the in­ter­ac­tion with cus­tomers — and she gets par­tic­u­lar sat­is­fac­tion that she is sell­ing some­thing she has cre­ated and pro­duced her­self.

“I can’t de­scribe the buzz,” she says.

“It feels even bet­ter when it is a re­peat cus­tomer.”

As a start-up busi­ness with no mar­ket­ing bud­get, Betty re­lies heav­ily upon word of mouth and so­cial me­dia when it comes to ad­ver­tis­ing her prod­ucts.

“Face­book and In­sta­gram have been es­sen­tial,” she says.

“I didn’t re­ally have much ex­pe­ri­ence of ei­ther be­fore­hand and I ac­tu­ally had to have help to set up my In­sta­gram ac­count, but they are so im­por­tant to get your mes­sage out there.”

She has also turned to busi­ness­peo­ple at the fairs and mar­kets she at­tends to pick up tips and ad­vice. And she is now part of the cur­rent in­take at the Ul­ster Bank Entrepreneur Ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme. “It has been such won­der­ful help so far and I feel very lucky to be a part of it,” she says. “You get such won­der­ful sup­port and you get to meet all sorts of other peo­ple with a range of ex­pe­ri­ence, which is so im­por­tant when you are set­ting up your own busi­ness. “One of the first things I had to do was a pitch and I was up the whole night be­fore prac­tis­ing be­cause it was so im­por­tant to me that I prove I had the right to be there.”

De­spite this, A Bliss­ful Blend is not Betty’s first ex­pe­ri­ence of the busi­ness world. Af­ter leav­ing school, she started off her work­ing life em­ployed as a bank of­fi­cial.

“It was a dif­fer­ent world back then and I re­mem­ber go­ing to the ca­reer ad­viser in school and telling them that I wanted to work in the bank and be­ing told that girls from sec­ondary schools didn’t get a job in the bank, only peo­ple from gram­mar school worked in a bank,” says Betty.

“That only made me more de­ter­mined, that’s the way I have al­ways been through­out my life, if some­one tells me I can’t do some­thing I work harder to achieve my goal.

“I did get a job in the bank and I stayed there un­til I had my chil­dren when I took a ca­reer break.

“I have four daugh­ters and once they grew up a bit I went back to the bank, but I sub­se­quently had a break down and ended up leav­ing.

“I can laugh about it now, but at the time I dealt with what was go­ing on by go­ing out to the gar­den and dig­ging and I joke that I am lucky I didn’t end up in Aus­tralia.”

Af­ter leav­ing her job, Betty set up pot­tery stu­dio Sea­side Ceram­ics in 2002.

“Set­ting up a busi­ness for the first time was def­i­nitely a chal­lenge, I made so many mis­takes and prob­a­bly the big­gest of th­ese was the fact that there are givers and tak­ers in this world and I am a giver,” she says.

“But I learned a lot along the way — it can be dif­fi­cult when you start up your busi­ness be­cause you think that you should do what­ever you’re asked by a cus­tomer, but I learned to say no and I re­ally en­joyed it.”

The busi­ness flour­ished but she was forced to pull down the shut­ters in 2010 as a re­sult of her mother’s ill health.

“I was told she only had a few months to live so some­thing had to give as I was work­ing 24/7 at the time and, of course, it was al­ways go­ing to be my busi­ness,” says Betty.

“It wasn’t a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion and I didn’t re­gret it at all.

“Then my four daugh­ters all got mar­ried in 2014 and af­ter that I started to won­der what I was go­ing to do with my­self.

“I felt like I was Betty the mum, Betty the nana, but that part of me who worked and ran a busi­ness didn’t ex­ist any­more, which is why I am en­joy­ing my­self so much now.

“Ul­ti­mately, I would love to sell my prod­ucts in shops and I do have some ideas of how I am go­ing to achieve that.

“How­ever, what is most im­por­tant to me is that I am lov­ing every minute of what I am do­ing.”

Next week, the Big In­ter­view speaks to Jan­nine Wad­dell, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Wad­dell Me­dia

I would love to sell my prod­ucts in shops and I do have some ideas of how I am go­ing to achieve that

Betty Rodgers and (be­low) with her grand­daugh­ter An­nie, whose eczema in­spired Betty to cre­ate her A Bliss­ful Blend cream

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.