December 18, 2018 Creative, Product

Handmade bags.

Beverley Sanders likes fabric – of every pattern, design and illustration style. Fabrics in florals, geometrics, cartoons and skulls are all neatly folded and stored, ready as options for her next project.

Bev had sewn many of her children’s clothes as a way to save money when her three daughters were growing up. Now more than 30 years on, she is a grandmother of seven. She has stitched many colourful nappy bags and with a little encouragement from her daughters, she decided to sell what she made.

Bev had often thought her hobby had the potential to become a business but had no idea if it would succeed.

After seven years in her retail job, she decided to take the plunge. “I googled help on ways to start my own business and came across NEIS,” Bev explains. “I felt like I could be wasting my time starting my own sewing business, and I was worried about delivering the work. The coaching and mentoring through NEIS at BRACE Education & Training gave me confidence in myself and my abilities.”

With support from NEIS in business planning and researching markets, Bev felt prepared. “My grandkids call me ‘Spikey Nana’, so that is what I now call my business,” says Bev.

Spikey Nana makes quality handbags, purses, travel bags, nappy and overnight bags; with orders coming in through Facebook, Etsy and Instagram. Bev is a talented seamstress and her skill is evident in all her products. Her bags are lined, often in contrasting colours, with zipped compartments, straps and metal clasps. The fabrics available are a wide and varied collection, with something for every taste.

“NEIS has given me the opportunity to grow my network by introducing me to likeminded people through mentoring and programs.”

Bev is proud to now have customers in every State and Territory of Australia. She is also excited to have made her first International sale – in Malaysia. The long-term plan is to open a small shop to showcase her work. Having a presence in her community is important to Bev, who would love to employ locals to help build sales and keep profits in the community.

The other long-term plan is not so local – a dream holiday to England. We hear the choice of fabric there is excellent!

If you have an idea for a new business, take the first step to self-employment with free NEIS training. Use the postcode search tool to locate your nearest NEIS provider for a chat. 

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