What started as a love for personalising items for friends and family, has turned into a successful personalised clothing and home décor business for Somerset-based business owner Carole Burnell-Parnell. The mum-of-four runs Oscar & Maisy from Wiveliscombe Enterprise Centre. One of nine Somerset Enterprise Centres was established to provide small businesses, just like Carole’s with space and support to grow.
The dream was to be able to turn a hobby into a business. A business that would work around family life, school runs and farmer husband. Carole had started by personalising items for the home and found that there was a market, especially for personalised Christmas items. Her business, Oscar & Maisy expanded to personalised cushions, clothing, decorations and more. With increasing sales on Etsy, and now proving popular on social media, working from the spare room at home was no longer feasible. Finding suitable premises in rural Somerset was the next challenge.
Carole spotted the Enterprise Centres advertised on social media.
I needed affordable office space where I knew exactly what was included. The space needed to be suitable to store stock, with enough space for my growing collection of cutting machines, heat presses, etching machines and reliable Wi-Fi. What appealed to Wiveliscombe Enterprise Centre was that it offered all of this but came with more. Peace of mind from the security; alarms and CCTV. Parking on-site, air-con and heating – all included.
Oscar & Maisy moved into the Wiveliscombe Enterprise Centre office space in January 2021.
What really stands out from being here is that there is a community. We are a community of businesses. We network, we can get advice from each other, there are even business advisors available for 1-2-1 support, but it’s the little things as well, that as a small business can really mean a lot. For example, there’s always someone around that can take a delivery. You don’t need to worry about missing a parcel again.
Like so many businesses the pandemic had an impact for Oscar & Maisy. Children at home and homeschooling meant a pause for business while family life took over, but Carole’s positive outlook and entrepreneurial mindset are looking to the future: “Covid had made a big difference in product demand, with more people working from home there’s been growth in loungewear, personalised clothing and matching pyjamas. Moving forward this has shifted focus for the business. All being well, you never know I may be looking to upsize to one of the industrial units for the new stock!”
Developing new designs, sourcing new products and growing a presence on social media is all part of the plan moving forward for Oscar & Maisy. When asked about advice for other start-up businesses Carole said:
It can be daunting, but I love what I do. Go for it. The support is available, and I would certainly recommend taking up a space at an Enterprise Centre. What they can offer for anyone starting or growing their own business is invaluable.