Mumpreneur Profile: Sarah Blinman of The Ironing Fairy
A long long time ago in a village far away in Yorkshire there lived a little fairy called Sarah. Now Sarah being a mummy and being worried about providing for her family, worked all hours god sent on her family’s business but alas to no avail, as it went under in January 2011 last year. Undeterred Sarah would not give up that easily and so The Ironing Fairy was born.
Life was pretty tough last year we had no money as we lost it all with our previous business that we tried to keep going, but due to the economic circumstances it was impossible to do. We were desperate to bring an income into the family home as things were really bad. At one point we had to get an emergency loan from the Job Seekers Allowance just so we could feed the family.
We were at the point of going bankrupt and losing our family home and becoming homeless, my husband was unemployed and even though he applied for every job going as I was there were non to be found.
Suddenly I had a brain wave I had an iron and an ironing board and I thought I was a pretty good ironer so with my family’s encouragement at the end of May last year The Ironing Fairy was born. My daughters came up with the name and said that it would be a brilliant if their mum was a Fairy as they would be the cool kids at school!
One slight problem with this though, we had no money in which to get going. I discussed this problem with my husband and in a fit of desperation we took the Child Benefit, for which we still feel incredibly guilty for and went out to purchase 500 leaflets which we then hand delivered door to door as we had no car because our company car had been repossessed when the old business folded.
I want to show you how I set up the business and the kind of service that The Fairy offers. I do a full laundry service dry cleaning and Ironing service which I run from my family home. I offer a free collection and delivery within a 3 mile area of Sowerby Bridge (outside of this area mileage is charged at 0.50 pence per mile). I am fully insured and I send all laundry out neatly folded in a laundry bag which I provide and I also send out freshly ironed clothes on hangers with full garment covers so the clothes are protected from the elements.
As I stated above I funded the new business from the child benefit as I had no other source of funding available to me due to the other business. From that I bought 500 leaflets which my husband and I hand delivered to a small selection of houses in Sowerby Bridge. Within a week I had 5 new customers which enabled me to buy the basics to start the Ironing Fairy up. Within 8 months I have now got 20 regular customers who send me in the region of 40 to 80 items each per week. This rapid growth has now enabled me to start to look at the possibility of franchising my business. I will fund the expansion of my business myself as I am unable to access funding from banks due to the recession and the previous business.
I am hoping to get other mums who want to work but feel they are overlooked by prospective employers to consider becoming an Ironing Fairy franchisee. My aim is to encourage the entrepreneur within them so that they too can run their own business. Hopefully under my guidance and working between us we will build the brand The Ironing Fairy which will become a household name.