For grandmother of seven, Bev Sanders, sewing most of her children’s clothes was a way to save money when her three daughters were growing up. Now more than 30 years on, Bev has been threading together a new chapter in her life, one piece of fabric at a time.
After seven years in her job, Bev was unhappy and finally made a decision to leave. Making that difficult transition into unknown territory turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With a little encouragement from her daughters, she stitched together her first of many colourful nappy bags.
Bev is one of 20 up-and-coming small business owners in South Australia taking part in the LaunchME program, which is run by Good Shepherd Microfinance with support from the South Australian government.
Participants in the LaunchMe program get personalised coaching, mentoring and access to business loans to help get people on low incomes running their own small business.
“For the first time since my daughters moved out of home and had their own
children, I have been able to help out with a bit of money if they needed it.
My girls grew up with a single mum in a really tight income house, it’s so nice
to be able to help them out and spoil my grandkids!”
What started with one needle and thread has darted into a range of handmade items such as bibs, handbags and thermo mix covers. Bev also takes special requests through her business, Handmade Haven.
With Bev’s excellent customer service, she stands out from the rest.
“I think I go the extra mile for my customers, I let them pick their fabric from a quality range and what colours they like,” Bev said.
“Before starting the LaunchME program two years ago, I felt like I would be wasting my time starting my own sewing business. Now with coaching and mentoring, it has given me more confidence in myself and my abilities.
“It’s also made me feel more connected to my community as the business has allowed me to grow my network and friendship groups.”
Being able to run her business in her local community means a lot to Bev who has dreams of hiring one or two local people and opening a small shop to showcase her range. Bev said the best part about her business is that it keeps the money in her local community.
“My ambition is to be able to 100 per cent support myself so I can cancel Newstart and take my dream holiday to England,” Bev explained excitedly.
Good Shepherd Microfinance is aiming to roll out the LaunchME program in more states across Australia in 2018.