Business Star – Sarah Phillips

22 December 2010

Sarah Phillips is proprietor of Pelenna Patchworks, an online store for patchwork and quilting materials, based in Pontrhydyfen.   

Here, she answers LNPT’s Business Star Q&A. Questionmaster: Rachel Howells.  

Three words that describe your business
Online patchwork sales  

How did you get started?
I was an electrical engineer based in Cardiff, but I didn’t like my job. At the same time, I decided I wanted to make my own clothes so I bought a book about sewing, and I never got past the chapter about patchwork!  

How did that become a business?
Once I started patchwork as a hobby, I found I couldn’t buy materials anywhere in this area, and the websites weren’t really very good either, so I decided to start my own, working from home, and it’s grown from there.  

Who buys from you?
I have lots of regular customers, including members of the local Port Talbot sewing group, Stitch By Stitch, who meet at Pontrhydyfen Community Centre on the first Saturday of every month. I also have customers from all over the world, including one lady from Saudi Arabia. Because I’m online, I get people from all over the world.  

Describe your average day.
The first thing I do is download my orders and print them off, then I go through to my order room and make up the first batch. That usually takes care of the morning. I have a same-day ordering feature on the website, so I check that at 12 o’clock, and then I make up those orders in the early afternoon. The postman comes to collect everything at five o’clock. If I have spare time I work on updating the website and do the books.  

What’s the best thing about your job?
Working for myself, although people think you can just get up and go whenever you want to, but it’s just me, so it doesn’t really work like that. The only holiday I’ve had since I started the business was my honeymoon. I had to shut everything down while I was away.  

What do you like best about Port Talbot?
I just love the countryside. It’s so beautiful, and it’s perfect for walking the dog.  

What do you to unwind?
We play a lot of pool and visit a lot of castles. Hang on, does that make me sound sad?  

Company website www.pelennapatchworks.co.uk
Personal Aged 32, married to Stephen, with a pet dog called Cassie 

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