Business name / website address?
Sarah Haran Accessories – sarahharan.com
To empower women by designing thoughtful handbags that give women confidence in every situation.
Where are you based?
I am based in the Village of Kilmacolm in Scotland. My studio is attached to my house which is a very lucky situation
Where are your clients based?
My clients are global. I have had sales in both the UK and more recently the United States and even Sweden.
Where are you now in the lifecycle of your business?
Im really in the first phase when it comes to brand awareness and sales execution but with design and products I am well along the line.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Five years is such a long time in the evolution of a business especially as things are changing so much faster around us these days. My plan would be to continue on my mission of creating a global accessories brand that continues to empower women and give them confidence knowing they are carrying their life in style.
What motivated you to start your business?
I was motivated to start my business as I wanted a change in my career. I had worked in IT for over 20 years in a 24 x7 operational role and felt I needed a new challenge. I had started to make handbags as a hobby and the opportunity to pivot my career came along and I was at a cross roads with my hobby – let it continue as a hobby business or focus on it and see if it could grow. I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it
What have been your most difficult challenges so far?
Finding manufacturing in the UK was a massive challenge in the beginning. Partly because I was learning on the job but also because there are so few manufacturers of handbags in the UK – the lack of skills is the issue for them, so few people are taught basic sewing skills at school these days. Now the main challenge is sales execution, selling handbags in a very crowded market place is a hideous challenge but we have a an excellent high quality product that does resonate with our target market.
What have been your biggest wins and most satisfying highs?
The most satisfying part of my journey is when I get positive feedback from customers. They are so engaged once they start to use my product that it all makes it worthwhile.
How do you let off steam/relax?
I unwind a lot of the time on the computer! It sounds a bit strange but I like discovering new things and the internet is a great place to wander and read about new ideas, browse new shops, look at exhibitions or shows that help give me inspiration. Other than that I enjoy downtime with my family and as almost empty nesters my husband and I are taking time to do different things now that they kids have their own interests and university life.
What are the most valuable tools you use to communicate with your clients?
Email, WhatsApp and other social media such as facebook and Instagram. I also use Slack to manage suppliers and the G Suite by Google to share documents across my team.
What’s your personal motto?
“Who dares wins” and “Every day is a school day”. I think you have to put yourself out there and try different things, if you never dare to try you certainly will never win, and of course be willing to learn.
Pick one person (male or female) who has inspired you most on your journey?
There have been many who have inspired me at different stages of my career but most recently has been Jo Malone. Her go to attitude and her tenacity are very admirable. Also Lynne Kennedy who runs Business Women Scotland and recently was awarded an MBE for her services for business women in Scotland is pretty inspiring.
Pick one person who would be your dream business or life mentor?
Jo Malone for sure.
Why is being part of a membership organisation like The Goddess Formula (ie. creating a likeminded business support community) important to you?
Being part of a group like the Goddess Formula is essential really to business women who are running small businesses. One of the things that is hard is the loneliness of being on your own in your business, it’s easy to get isolated and become self-referencing so having a support community helps reduce those feelings and its great to know there are a set of people you can ask