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Designs with comfort in mind


Designs with comfort in mind

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CHERYL TAYLOR’S ADVICE to people who find themselves jobless is this: start doing something that you like or learn a skill and make something that is sellable.

The owner of Cheryl’s Designs, which makes and sells customised soft furnishings, pouffes, footstools and storage ottomans, does not believe in sitting around the house and hoping either.

She said that having “reached a certain age” she decided it was time to start her own business. That was about seven years ago and she has not regretted her decision.

“I always had an interest in designing and I started with soft furnishings like throw cushions and then I branched into storage boxes. When I realised that most of the places you visit have a clutter problem and people are complaining, I then decided to venture into things to store things in,” she told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

“When I started I didn’t get a loan, I used the money that I had and when I sold an item I always made sure I bought some material. I still do that now, I learnt to make the cushions on my own and then I did a course and learnt to make the pouffes and so on,” she added.

Taylor, who exhibited her products at BMEX this year for the fourth time, is always looking for new pieces to add to her product line. This year she displayed a new storage product.

“It is a storage problem solution. I made it so that if you have a small space instead of placing the hampers on the floor you can hang them on the wall or the back of the door. It is made from fabric which you can take off the wooden areas and wash. It can be used to store toys, towels, shoes, anything you want to,” she said.

The Christ Church-based business woman is always looking for new things to make and her footstools, which she also displayed at Agrofest earlier this year, garnered lots of attention during BMEX.

“After some customers started saying they had a mum or dad at home who sat with their feet down all the time and wanted something to put their feet on, but at a certain height, I introduced the footstools as well as the pouffes. I have been making them for about three years and sales are not too bad,” she added.

She also produces and sells mirrors which she makes more contemporary in terms of colour and shape, as well as art deco jewellery hangers to make your pieces easier to find.

“The ideas come from browsing on the Internet and looking at different places to see what is trending on the market. I try to be always up to date in terms of what I think a person will want for his or her home. Most people are doing contemporary pieces,” she said.

Taylor added that she would customise any of her furnishings to suit the decor in customers’ homes. She buys the fabric from a local retailer. She said that there were peaks and troughs in the business and the current economic situation did have an impact.

“In terms of homes not being built as much as they used to, I’ve found that business is down since January started. People are not refurbishing or making changes for the different seasons and occasions. Most people say they refurbish once a year and people that have new homes will put in orders to get pieces. At certain times of the year, I still do good,” said the member of the Women Entrepreneurs of Barbados. She said participating in trade shows and mass-based events such as national festivals was a good avenue for pushing your products and name.

“I would advise any entrepreneur to get involved and advertise the products they have. I also take part in…Oistins [Fish Festival] and Bridgetown Market and if people have any other nice markets going on I try to attend them.”

Taylor makes all the items herself and says this is because she gets pleasure from doing so. And what is her advice to anyone contemplating making soft furnishings?

“Firstly, they will have to love what they do and then they will have to look at the market and know what is trending in terms of colours,” she said. (Green Bananas Media.)