Tuesday 20 February 2018

My Big Idea: My range of personalised wall art for kids has begun to take off on international markets

Creating something for her daughter’s room inspired Claire Tormey’s business idea
Creating something for her daughter’s room inspired Claire Tormey’s business idea
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Mum of one Claire Tormey (30) is the owner of www.lovelywallletters.com, an online store run from her home in Bray, Co Wicklow. Her business sells personalised wall art and other products to parents of young children.

"It all started off small, around 2013. I don't have a background in design but I enjoy crafts.

My daughter Amélie had arrived the previous year and I decided to make something for her wall, eventually producing a cloth-covered version of her name that could be hung up.

I made some more personalised wall hangings for friends' children and then enquiries starting come in.

The first big step was building a website, which I mostly did myself, although I have a web designer working on a new version at the moment. Customers can order personalised wall art for any kind of name, including Irish names with fádas in them, which makes my offering quite unusual.

I buy the letters ready-made and import the fabric from the US, and put the two together.

Most of my orders come from Ireland, but I have a fast-growing international business and can ship all around the world. I am getting a lot of orders in from the UK, Canada and Australia, where there are big ex-pat communities.

I have added a range of other products to the website in the past few months, again all targeted at children - from play sets to beds.

I want to be a one-stop-shop for furniture and decorations for kids, with a focus on personalisation. I'm planning to add my own jewellery range soon, made of cloth, targeted at mums and daughters.

The main challenge has probably been finance. I have funded everything myself. Expanding without taking on debt has been tricky.

Another thing I would do differently if I could would be to set up a studio away from home. Working from home makes it difficult to separate work and life and it's challenging in terms of space.

But at the same time, it makes sense to work from home until my daughter starts school.

I have been expanding slowly until now with the help of my fiancé, but the next step is to taken someone on. I hope to do that before Christmas, my busiest season."

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