An Omagh based jeweller has taken a golden opportunity to launch a new bespoke jewellery business thanks to support from the Go For It Programme, in association with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
Experienced goldsmith Stephanie Allen has returned home from London to Northern Ireland after 17 years to set up Stephanie Allen Bespoke Jewellery. Her workshop in Omagh is open by appointment and specialises in contemporary jewellery made from the finest quality materials.
Stephanie commented, “I have always had a flair for art and design, as well as loving jewellery of all sorts. My parents own Hazel Allen Jewellers, Omagh, and so from a young age I was around beautiful pieces of jewellery. When I was 15, my parents arranged a summer internship for me with a Master Jeweller in Hatton Garden. He had over 60 years’ experience and created bespoke luxury jewellery to order- it was a truly amazing introduction to the craft and from then I’ve been hooked!”
“After I completed my BA (Hons) in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing and Jewellery Design at UCCA in Kent, I moved back to London to hone my craft. I worked in workshops for the most exclusive jewellers in London on Bond Street, Hatton Garden and Mayfair. I really had some amazing opportunities to work under the most experienced mentors and make luxury pieces of jewellery for the most exclusive clients.”
“I always knew I would return home and when I did, I started to get enquiries from local people who knew about my experience and wanted a bespoke piece of jewellery made. I realised that there was a gap in the market and knew that I had the skills to offer something totally unique. I knew I wanted to set up my own business, but I wasn’t sure how to. I went along to an information evening and it all went from there.
“I have always worked in workshops and so I really understood diamond mounting and the technical side but wasn’t sure operationally how to make it work as a business. The Go For It Programme were really invaluable for that. They offered expert advice and support and we worked together to really refine the business idea and proposition. The encouragement and support were second to none.
The Go For It Programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Stephanie continued, “I worked with my business advisor to really understand the niche audience I wanted to target and the best methods of communication to reach them. We worked through the legal and insurance requirements as well as completing financial projections. These were a massive eye opener into what was possible with my new business.
“Through the Go For It Programme, I was signposted to other forms of support and guidance as well as funding opportunities. Without the Go For It Programme, I wouldn’t have known how to apply for the funding, or that it was even an option for me. It really has been a truly invaluable resource and I really would have struggled to set up my business without the help of the Go For It Programme.”
Councillor Chris Smyth, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: “The Go For It Programme is providing accessible, free and tailored business support – giving people the confidence, contacts and the knowledge they need to start trading. I wish Stephanie every continued success with Stephanie Allen Bespoke Jewellery and encourage anyone thinking about starting their own business to go for it and get in touch!”
Nicholas O’Shiel, Chief Executive, Omagh Enterprise for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, said; “We were delighted to be able to support Stephanie in the start-up stage of her business. Stephanie was in a position of vast knowledge and expertise for her field, but lacked the business acumen to launch her business. That’s where we were able to step in and help.
“Through the completion of her business plan, we were able to finalise Stephanie’s business proposition. Stephanie’s creations are truly amazing, like nothing I’ve seen before in Northern Ireland. Stephanie has now launched her website www.stephanieallenjewellery.com and a luxurious jewellery collection called the Causeway Collection, inspired on (by?) the Giant’s Causeway which celebrates her homecoming. I look forward to seeing her business grow and many people wearing her pieces in the near future.
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It Programme on 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com.