“I asked if I could start with just a couple of orders and see how I got on with those, before deciding for certain what I could manage.”
Find out more about Barbara’s story below…
Barbara and her son Andrew are great examples of how working with Plumbs can make a real difference to your business. Watch the video below to see what they have to say…
Find out more about Barbara in her own words…
“Sewing is something that I enjoy – I have always enjoyed. I get immense pride from making something that many people admit they wouldn’t have a clue where to start. You see, loose cover making is an art form. Although becoming a furniture loose cover maker might not be at the forefront of many people’s minds when they are asked what career they want to pursue – it wasn’t at the forefront of mine to begin with – I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a steady hand and has the patience to learn a craft.
I was taught how to sew many things during my employment with the first company for which I worked. There was no formal apprenticeship on offer and I didn’t complete any kind of sewing qualifications, I just learnt as I went along. It was very much on-the job-training. Fortunately, I enjoyed working this way and I found that I was actually rather good at working with my hands.
After several years, I moved to a different area of the country and decided that this was the perfect time to start my own business. Others might not have seen it as the ideal time, as I was pregnant. I was also very ambitious and did not see why I couldn’t start a complete new chapter in my life. At first, I sewed many items, before progressing into the production of loose covers.
This was a convenient arrangement for me as, now having a child, it was so easy to fit work in around looking after my family. I had the best of both worlds!”
Working with Plumbs
“I never thought about producing loose covers for another company. I suppose I was just so used to finding my own work from advertising locally and from word of mouth, that the thought never entered my head to team up with another business in the same line of work.
It’s a good job for me that Plumbs made the first move. They approached my business to let me know that they were looking for a loose cover maker in my area to help them out with their loose cover orders. Admittedly, I was very hesitant at first. I was very protective over my business and I didn’t want anyone wading in telling me what I must or mustn’t do.
Still, I decided to hear what they had to say and I agreed for one of their Regional Managers to come to visit me. Straight away, the Regional Manager put me at ease. He told me exactly what the work involved, explained how we could operate alongside one another and reassured me that Plumbs were not looking to take over my business. They just needed to utilise my expertise.
We had a good chat about the places I travel to for my current work and I agreed that I would cover these same areas for Plumbs. That way, I could kill two birds with one stone. If I was going to visit one of my own private customers in an area, it made sense to extend my stay and see a Plumbs customer straight after. We also discussed how many orders I would be able to produce for Plumbs. Although Plumbs had a lot of work in my area, I didn’t want to rush and agree to try and produce every order they could give me. Instead, I asked if I could start with just a couple of orders and see how I got on with those, before deciding for certain what I could manage.
I have been provided with regular work and regular payments since then and that first meeting with that Regional Manager was over 20 years ago! During these past 20 years, I have had a few personal ups and downs and Plumbs have been there every step of the way. Plumbs’ Head Office staff are always there to help, they are always courteous and always approachable.
Working with Plumbs was one of the best business decisions I have made.”