Starting her own business was the opportunity for her to ditch the day job and turn an avocation she enjoyed doing into her occupation.
Liz explains how Ahoy Dare started:
“I was working as an IT trainer in the corporate world, but realised I was just going through the motions and wasn’t loving life. I was on maternity leave when Covid-19 hit which impacted my plans when it was time to go back to work, having to work from home when I’d just spent 12 months at home! I lost the drive I once had for my job, and I was tired of the office politics.
“Then one day I took myself off to my summer house at the end of the garden to get on my knitting machine and I just thought, you know what… you only live once! Knitting and designing clothes is what I enjoy doing and it isn’t causing me stress – I want to do this for a living, and that was the start of Ahoy Dare.”
Established in November 2021, Ahoy Dare is a slow fashion/sustainable company. All designs are unique, and they celebrate Portsea Island, which has a unique culture of its own. Liz makes everything by hand, customises and re-purposes materials to create her designs. She currently has a range of snoods that are perfect for winter.
“When I first started the business, I had a lot of energy and determination to get going, but as a sole entrepreneur – you must go it alone and it’s easy to start doubting yourself.
“Outset Start and Grow gave me confidence. Setting up a business is big and scary, and it was great to have people I could go to and ask for help. And if they couldn’t help me, they knew someone who could. There were also lots of business workshops available and they have helped me develop my business. Robert Bentley at Outset Start and Grow – Portsmouth helped me put together my grant application, and it meant a lot to have someone believe in me.”
Liz successfully applied for a £2,675 grant from Outset Start and Grow to help her grow the business:
“The grant was great because it enabled me to procure equipment that I wouldn’t have been able to afford for a couple of years. I bought a new coverstitch machine and steam iron press, along with a new computer and software for designing my knitwear. All of this enables me to make the garments more quickly and to a higher quality finish. For example, ironing an item can take 10-15 minutes but by using the professional press it’s completed in seconds. This reduces my cost of labour and therefore I’m able to produce items at an affordable price for my customers.”
Liz has moved to a new studio and is exhibiting at the forthcoming Victorious Festival 2022 in Southsea, which will enable her to showcase her designs and sell clothing.
She’s looking forward to a bright future doing what she enjoys most:
“Outset Start and Grow has enabled me to position the business for success much sooner than I had anticipated. I can now start planning ways to increase my profit and expand the business. I could employ staff to help me, buy a premises to start a shop or further develop my website and make the most of online marketplaces.”
Follow Liz’s progress and look at her online store: www.ahoydare.com
Find out more about how Outset Start and Grow can support your business to get off the ground or reach the next level.