I won #SBS on 20/04/2015 and was absolutely thrilled. It felt as if all the hard work was being rewarded.
I'm 17 and may have the exuberance of youth, but I believe passionately in my business – and the future of Barmy – and that passion and determination, together with a solid business plan, will hopefully take me where I want to go.
It all began with a bunting idea – and has led to a thriving Barmy business!
Yorkshire lass Eve Lodge was only 14 and a hard-working Year 10 student at Barnsley-based Horizon Community College when she decided to enter the town’s I Know I Can Challenge.
Now 17, Eve has seen Barmy grow - and sell bunting products all over the world, as well as to the set of Coronation Street!
Says Eve: “My original Barmy Bunting venture began after a conversation with my lovely Auntie Helen – a real inspiration – and led to a presentation that I put forward to the ‘Dragons Den’ at Horizon. I managed to finish in the top three, received £25, and began making Barmy Bunting! Through word of mouth, recommendations and my Facebook and Twitter pages, I managed to sell my bespoke pieces and make a bit of a profit.
“I went on to win three awards at the 2013 Gala Night IKIC presentation: Best Use of Online Resources; Most Innovative Business; and Key Stage Four Best Business.
“A few months after my success in the Barnsley IKIC Challenge I was approached by Barnsley Council’s Enterprising Young People project (EYP), who wanted to help my business grow. I was successfully put forward for an EYP grant (of up to £2,000) and feature on their promotional video.
Since then Barmy has gone from strength to strength - and I reached the final of business competition Yorkshire's Got Talent, and was also named joint-runner-up in the national Making Business Happen awards, in the Aspiring Entrepreneur category
“I've juggled the business with my studies, but I’ve always taken pride in the fact I’m a bit of a never-say-die, grafter. I’ll never think of myself as a straight A* student, but I emerged from Horizon with 16 GCSE’s and a business that’s getting bigger and better by the week, and I’m proud of that. Shelley College, A Levels and more of ‘Barmy’ are the next steps in the journey!
“I like to engage with my customers, and get to know their likes and dislikes. I listen – and then make bunting specially to order.
“Communication is key, together with the passion I put into the product and the business. When making bunting for someone you have to make it personal to them – special – and something that not only I would be proud to be associated with but also the customer is proud to put up in their home or office, or pass on as a present.
“Bunting has such a universal appeal – and my business is a family affair – I felt it was tailored to everyone, not just a particular category. It can be produced for babies, christenings, parties, Christmas, weddings, schools, anniversaries etc…
“My customers have come from all over, ranging from people in and around my hometown of Barnsley to Liverpool and London, France, New Zealand and over the Atlantic Ocean to Miami!
“Selling my first piece of bunting – a Merry Christmas banner – to a Primary School teacher who wanted it for her pupils, not only made me happy but it is also one of the things I am most proud of.
“It gave me a warm glow inside to know that not only someone liked my bunting enough to buy it, but also wanted it to give children pleasure.”
As Dr Seuss once said: "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"
Be the very best you can be - and never give up.