Family business: Sara of TLC Sport

Sara Hanna, 55, is founder of TLC Sport, an activewear brand, offering quality, sustainable, flattering and durable clothing to women of all shapes and sizes and an affordable price. Read on to find out more about her business journey:

I have 5 beautiful, yet opinionated children, and 2 young grandchildren. We’re a large but very close family. Each of my children carry their own unique traits which has always kept the dinner table interesting. My youngest is now 21 years old and in his final year at university so I can finally begin to enjoy my own time and space.

What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?

 I was heavily involved in fitness in my early twenties. I was married, living in Cairo with little else to do, and threw myself into the fitness lifestyle. Before I knew it, I was running my own studio and teaching women across Egypt to keep active. I soon began designing and manufacturing leotards and this, TLC was born. (The Leotard Company)

When did you launch?

 Way, way back in the day – 1984. We are the OGs of activewer.

How did you get started?

With a few stretch fabrics and sewing machine I let my creative side flow. I wore my own designs to class, and soon had women flocking asking me to create them their own.

What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?

 I love the creativity I can bring to what we do, watching our ideas come to life. I also love making women happy and hearing their feedback and reviews – it makes everything worthwhile. I do it because I know what women want, and I want to give it to them.

 What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?

 The sleepless nights. I can’t stand those. There’s always an element of uncertainty and pressure in running your own business and I do find this tiresome as, however luckily I have my daughter, Charlotte, running this with me now which I’m very much enjoying.

 What has worked well about your business?

Our products – we’re only in business because we provide women with what they actually want. We don’t oversell, make outrageous claims or try to push our products onto anybody, instead we create and design with our customer in mind, to ensure that she’ll love everything we bring to her.

 What’s been your biggest business mistake?  How did you deal with it?

 I think I’ve made a few… We bought 4, 000 pairs of hideous trainers back in 2014 – we thought they looked unique at the time but they quickly dated. We swiftly discounted them and have very few left now!

 How do you fit in work with the family?

My children are all grown up now, so for the first time ever I actually have the time to really focus on my work properly. As the children we’re growing up, it was a struggle balancing my time between the family and the business. I was fortunate enough to have friends and family who helped me, and I would always make up for any lost time with quality time and extended holidays. However, you must accept that if you want to run and build a successful business, there will be that element of sacrifice.

Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?

Absolutely – we have big goals for the business, so watch this space!

 Would you ever give up your business to do something else?

 I love doing what I do, if I were to give up my business it wouldn’t be to start another one that’s for sure! But perhaps I’d hand it over to Charlotte so I can finally sit on a beach somewhere.

We have built a family asset which we are proud of, we want the options to pass it down through generations, TLC is not something we we’re simply looking to flip, we’re emotionally invested in the business and will always do what’s right for it.

Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? 

We launched on national TV last year – that was quite an emotional moment for us! Seeing our products on the big screen is quite an achievement.

We’re currently looking to expand the business presence online, and increase our brand awareness through social and PR. If anybody is interested or has any ideas, please e-mail charlotte@tlcsport.com

Find out more:  www.tlcsport.com

We do it right link: https://tlcsport.co.uk/pages/tlc-says-no-to-fast-fashion

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