Undoubtedly 2022 was one of the most difficult years in memory for business, especially if you were thinking of starting your own. But despite considerable challenges many local entrepreneurs decided to take the plunge, carving out new business ventures across the Causeway Borough, including these 5…

Alison Jamieson quit her job in early 2022 and having moved from Belfast to Portstewart, began seriously considering how she could use her training as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and strong interest in the benefits of yoga for mental health.

Her vision was to bring yoga practices to unique venues, tapping into the beauty across the Causeway Coast.

Alison established Causeway Yoga in October, securing the delivery of classes in venues Me & Mrs Jones Hotel, Portstewart and the Orangery at Drenagh Estate, Limavady.

“I’ve had incredible support to make my dream a reality! All of my classes have a focus on relaxation and stress relief, with time for chat and connections afterwards. The feedback has been so positive and it’s an absolute joy getting to know lots of regulars. Hearing people leaving a class saying how relaxed they felt, and how much they loved being able to switch off, just reinforces why I love the practice yoga!”

Facebook: @Causeway_Yoga

Instagram: @causewayyoga

Alison Jamieson, Causeway Yoga

Karla-Jayne Murdock decided to purchase a set of crayons to encourage her son Beauden to enhance his fine motor skills, however, soon realised that there weren’t many options to choose from in order to let his imagination flow. So, she decided she would create her own.

Still working part-time teaching Home Economics, Karla perfectly understood the needs of growing children. She knew she wanted to create shapes and colours that would inspire learning and creativity, that would aid brain development and improve memory, that could be used to express feelings, and which could help with sensory issues.

Karla researched different moulds and colours, experimenting with temperatures and pouring techniques to create a first batch for Easter gifts.

Encouraged by her family, she began making all of her crayons at home, from her kitchen and began distributing her made-to-order sets from Etsy.

Karla wears a lot of hats – Product Developer, Crayon Maker, Packaging Department, Social Media Manager, Sales, part-time Home Economics & Child Development Teacher, but her business has gone from strength to strength; selling out orders, growing her followers on Instagram and Etsy and coming runner up in the highly competitive Start Her Up Initiative – a regional promotion to encourage women into self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Instagram: @thelittlecrayonco_

Karla-Jayne Murdock, The Little Crayon Co.

Pouring her heart and soul into a new coffee and take-away business in Ballymoney was Elizabeth Connelly. Lizzy’s Coffee Hut is located outside Steele’s Farm Supplies, serving tea, coffee, sweet treats, soup and savouries, with gluten free options and some doggy treats. It’s open 9am – 3pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 9am – 1pm on Saturday’s.

Just recently, Elizabeth expanded her business offering her van and catering services at events.

“I have achieved something I thought I couldn’t! I have proved to myself that anything is possible if you put your mind to it! I honestly couldn’t have done it without doing the business course. I truly recommend if anyone is wanting to, or thinking of, starting their own business to pick up the phone, or send an email!”

Facebook: @Lizzy’s_Coffee_Hut

Elizabeth Connelly, Lizzy’s Coffee Hut

Turning his hand to a new business was Pat Brown, who had had a lifetime working with furniture and enjoyed the personal sales experience with customers.

His dream of moving into a retail environment remained dormant until June 2022, when he got the opportunity to apply to a pod in Makers House, upstairs in The Designerie, Bushmills.

“This creative hub was the perfect platform to showcase and sell my work, in both wood, and leather, whilst also affording me the opportunity to work within the vibrant and creative community.”

Bare Leaf’s products incorporate bespoke pieces of furniture, made from a variety of woods (often mixed woods); hand turned wooden pieces; leather work, hand cut and sewn, using traditional methods; and commissions for personal tastes.

 Pat also has a small selection at The Orangery, Drenagh Estate, Limavady.

“In the past few months, I have made bespoke pieces of furniture for new homes, refurbished beautiful pieces that will last a lifetime and created special retirement, graduation and birthday gifts.”

Instagram: @bareleafmakers

Pat Brown, Bare Leaf Makers

Securing a 12-month sponsored pod in Makers House at The Designerie in Bushmills last September, Claire Smyth wanted to expand her abstract art business – Palette Design Art.

Claire’s artwork is inspired by the colours and textures of the North Coast, the place she has called home all her life.

“A year ago, I took the risk of reducing my hours as a primary school teacher to allow more time to build this creative business and what a year it’s been! It has been so rewarding and humbling to see it grow, develop and challenge me in many different ways. I’m literally learning something new every day.”

Claire has also recently started offering painting workshops, for both children and adults, something which she is very excited to expand and develop in 2023.

Instagram: @palettedesign.art

Claire Smyth, Palette Design Art

If you have been inspired by these business journeys and have an idea that you want to explore, or simply need help accessing funding, marketing support or business advice, then get in touch with Enterprise Causeway on 028 7035 6318, or email info@enterprisecauseway.co.uk