This week the Carrick Times puts the questions to Paul and Barbara Crawford of Whitehead Home and Hardware.
Whitehead Home and Hardware is a family run shop in the picturesque village of Whitehead that offers a comprehensive range of DIY, gardening and decorating products. We also have a beautiful gift and gallery section.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up doing what you are doing now?
Both of us have previously been employed by Marks and Spencer and have strong retail connections and understand commitment and needs of the customer.
Did you always want to run your own enterprise?
Yes, we always dreamed of our own business and when I was made redundant we decided to take the step. I always had a passion for interiors and design, and my husband has a strong hardware background.
What skills/qualifications do you require for the role?
The best qualifications you need are simply dedication, belief, resolve, and hard work.
Has your business been affected by the current recession?
The business is still in its infancy and therefore it’s hard to tell, but its presence cannot be ignored.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when setting up and what support did you get?
We basically learnt everything from scratch, from shop fitting to accountancy, and dealing with suppliers. Everything was a new challenge and we had great support from family, friend, and of course, each other. Carrickfergus Enterprise offered great support through their various workshops and provided funding for a website.
What three tips could you offer those considering starting their own business?
Belief in yourself, a good business plan and always put in as much effort as you can.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We plan to advertise more, and with Carrickfergus Enterprise helping with a website that will be out into motion very shortly. We will continue to expand our product range as we continue to adapt to what the customer would like, although, a day off work would be nice.
What do you get up to in your free time?
We are still in the process of renovating and decorating our home which was a project when we took it on several years ago. We also love to go for walks with our dog Dexter, who is the main advisor for our pet section.
If you could swap places with anyone who would it be and why?
We would like to swap places with no one at this moment as we are enjoying the process of trying to build a successful business.