A busy mum of four, whose lifestyle store for stylish children is thriving, has urged other mums to pursue the opportunities for entrepreneurship available in Wales and to follow their passions.
Mia Kowsor established Barney & Beau – which she has named after her two youngest boys – in Pontcanna, Cardiff, after finding her feet as an entrepreneur with a ‘kitchen table business’.
She says many mums have the ideas, skills and drive to establish start ups and to turn them into viable businesses, but they should seek support in those initial months.
“I’m passionate about supporting, assisting, helping and motivating fellow mums and women. I think when you become a mum you can lose a bit of confidence. You forget who you are and you are so focussed on being a mum that you think maybe you can’t achieve what you could prior to having the children. I would say, just go with it; contact an organisation like Business in Focus. If you are passionate about an idea and it is something you really want to do there is absolutely nothing stopping you.”
Mia was already aware of the start up support on offer in Wales for those who want to take their first steps in business ownership, since she had turned to Business in Focus for support for a previous venture.
“I started with a hand and footprint casting company. I did it from home, and it was very tiny, but Business in Focus was amazing with their start up support then, so this time it made perfect sense to go back to Business in Focus for my new business.”
The idea to move up from a home-based business to the bigger responsibility – premises close to the city, came about by chance, she says: “The idea for Barney & Beau came from actually being in the unit itself – it used to be a hair salon and I was having my hair done. Chatting to my stylist, he told me that he was moving to a new location. Immediately I thought ‘I have to have this shop’. I didn’t even have any plans for a business, but I had to have the unit. I had this feeling immediately that it was going to be something special for me. The unit is beautiful, the area is perfect, I felt it was fate, the stars aligned and it was the perfect thing for me to do!
“Business in Focus helped me from the very first step and have been with me all the way along. They helped me with my business plan, helped me with the financials – applying for the loan – and it took off from there.”
Mia’s Business Advisor at Business in Focus, Matthew Roberts, says: “It is always pleasing to see a fledgling business find its feet and flourish, as Barney & Beau has done. Mia touches on an important point about having the confidence to make your idea a reality – and this applies to many people, of course, not just to young mums. Clearly, setting up a business has its challenges and risks, but it can also bring with it great rewards, not just for the owner and for the workforce they employ. Local economies and the wider Welsh economy both benefit greatly from stable, successful, unique small businesses, so it is important to recognise and encourage entrepreneurs like Mia.
“Here at Business in Focus we help businesses with every step of the process, from securing a Start Up Loan and helping with the application, writing a full business plan, and helping with everything from marketing, HR support – and we even offer some business premises. Importantly, we offer a mentoring service that our start ups can call upon for up to 12 months from the date of the loan application.”
To hear more about Mia’s business journey, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIjIhV7WoDE
For more details about the enterprise support services provided by Business in Focus, go to: www.businessinfocus.co.uk/en/home
For more details about Barney & Bea go to: www.barneyandbeau.com