Pat Brown began thinking about starting his own business.
A carpenter for over 30 years, he enjoyed the personal sales experience with customers and had started doing small orders for bespoke furniture and leather wallets, for friends and family, as a hobby.
However, the business dream remained dormant until June 2022, when Pat was recommended by a family friend to visit Enterprise Causeway’s website to see the range of business support programmes on offer that could help bring his desire to life.
Whilst researching, Pat noticed a vacancy for a Pod at Makers House in The Designerie, Bushmills, and after chatting it over with his wife, Mariese, submitted an application that was successful, moving in straight away with a range of samples that he had developed over the previous few months.
To help Pat on his entrepreneurial journey, and grow his business and product line, he took part in the Exploring Enterprise Programme to avail of one-to-one mentoring, business advice and group training workshops, with expert local guest speakers.
“The Exploring Enterprise Programme was so useful. Whilst I was self-employed for over 30 years as a carpenter/joiner, moving into a retail environment was a new and different experience.
“I developed my branding, a simple reflection of the natural materials I work with.
“I was particularly worried about developing a social media presence, but the course, and my business mentor, were great at providing me with simple, easy to follow tools and advice. I’m now managing an Instagram account, including shooting and uploading videos, which I never dreamt of!”
“The programme also showcased a range of different retail businesses which was both interesting, and informative.”
“Having a pod at The Designerie has become the perfect platform through which to showcase and sell my work, whilst giving me the opportunity to work within the vibrant and creative community.”
Pat’s work incorporates:
- 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.
- Commissions for personal tastes.
As well as his pod at The Designerie, a small selection of Pat’s work can be found at The Orangery, Drenagh Estate, Limavady.
Updates on Pat’s business can be found on his Instagram page – @bareleafmakers.
A website and Facebook page are in development.
Reflecting on his new business Pat stated:
“I enjoy hearing why customers buy my work. When working with natural materials, for example in woodturning, there is always a little element of surprise in how a piece will look when it is finished as the wood gives up its natural qualities.
In the past few months, I have made bespoke pieces of furniture for new homes, refurbished beautiful pieces that will last a lifetime and helped customers to decide on pieces to complement their existing furnishings.
“My hand-turned pens with leather pouch have been bought as retirement, graduation, birthday gifts and by some who just want a lovely writing instrument for themselves.
“One recent purchase was made for a very special couple to sign their wedding register with – ‘a beautiful gift to be treasured’ they said.”