“I went to Outset Bristol because I realised that there were many gaps in my knowledge of how to run a small business,” she said. “It has proved to be a great programme with committed and knowledgeable advisors.”
Penny progressed through Outset Bristol’s programme of workshops, receiving support to help her get started. She found the group workshop setting particularly helpful because it gave her the opportunity to make presentations as her business idea progressed and the chance to pitch to a group of like-minded entrepreneurs.
“In my case, I treated it as a presentation to my ‘prospective buyers’: talking through my range and the inspiration behind it. This was very helpful, as was the tangible feedback from bringing in our own business cards.
“All the sessions provided us with a good set of handouts, which we could refer back to when needed. The earlier ones were most useful for getting to know the group and actually building confidence in one’s ability to set up in business.”
Penny achieved her goal in November 2011, registering her new business, Penny Seume Designs. Since then, she has won a Distinction award at The Society of Designer Craftsmen’s annual show for her New York skyline-inspired collection of home accessories and sofas.
Today her range is stocked in galleries and shops around the UK and her designs are being manufactured and sold abroad in major retail hubs such as New York.
In the future, Penny plans to grow her export business while continuing to provide bespoke design work for her private clients. She will also introduce new Bath and London-inspired designs to her silk scarf range later this year.