Ballymoney Ceramic Artist/Maker, Zara McLaughlin, is a very talented lady. We caught up with Zara to find out a little more about her successful business.
What prompted you to start your own business?
I always had a love for Art at school.
When I was around 16, I took part in a work experience programme where I spent a few days at the fashion and design hub in Derry.
I met a lot of young female entrepreneurs who were running their own fashion business independently, and I just loved the sense of freedom, ownership and pride that came with building something for yourself that I knew I wanted to make a career out of something that I loved to do.
It wasn’t until I went to Ulster University, to study Ceramics, that I fell in love with pottery.
My business started at the beginning of lockdown, when I set up a small studio space in my garage to make and sell pottery online. A couple of years later I opened my very own studio in the Acorn Centre in Ballymoney!
In your experience what are the main challenges faced by women in the business world?
As a woman, I feel like the main challenge for me is being taken seriously, but as a young entrepreneur, I feel that could have more to do with my age than my gender.
I do try to actively surround myself with other female entrepreneurs and collaborate with female founded organisations.
I think one of the challenges surrounding my gender is that there is this narrative that we can’t work together. However, I have found with the women I surround myself with that they are all actively working hard on changing that narrative. Championing each other and raising each other up. At least that’s how I feel in my local community.
What advice would you give to other women who were considering starting up their own business?
My one piece of advice that I give to everyone is ‘Just Start.’
If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, you will find an excuse.
The truth is nobody really knows what they’re doing, whether they want to admit that or not, but I will always support the voice of any female founder as If they are my own big sister. We have a voice now. It’s using that voice and feeling empowered enough to use it to fight for a life you can’t wait to wake up to.
If you have an idea and need help to bring it to life, get in touch with us here at Enterprise Causeway.