Design for Growth
Tue 10th August 2010
Barbara Wiggins has always had a passion for art and design: encouraged by artistic parents, she has drawn and painted since a child. Her great-grandfather was a leather worker in Ireland in the 1800’s and, following the family tradition, she has specialised in leather and paper products and founded Barbara Wiggins Designs in 1983. She has been based in Lewisham ever since, and now works from Peartree Studios in Breakspears Road (near Lewisham College), where she hand-draws the designs for an exclusive range of handcrafted stationery and leather products. Her new limited edition range has been inspired by the nature and wildlife in Lewisham’s parks and the river bank at Creekside.
Right from the outset Barbara has been supported by SE Enterprise (SEE), whose advisers gave her the advice and support she needed to turn her dream into reality.
As Barbara says, ‘In the early days I didn’t have the business skills to effectively manage the business. SEE advisers gave me grounding in such things as break-even and marketing. They taught me the realities of running a business and were a stabilising influence in the first 10 years of trading and have been supportive ever since’.
Based in Greenwich and at the Lewisham Business Advisory Service in Lewis Grove, SEE has over 20 years experience of working with and supporting local established businesses across south east London.
In recent months Barbara Wiggins Designs has been participating in the Business Growth Programme which SEE is running with funding from Lewisham Council and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme provides in-depth support and advice from experienced business professionals; this can range from seeking out new public and private sector contract and market opportunities, practical advice on tendering, right through to one to one coaching and expert advice on sales, promotion, HR, e-commerce, forward and financial planning.
With SEE support and encouragement, Barbara Wiggins Designs has gone from strength to strength to become an established name in the field – today their customers include Liberty, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate, as well as many independent retailers across the UK. She also has customers across the East coast of the USA, Dubai and just recently has taken a large order from an Australian distributor.
Barbara commented that ‘Throughout the past 27 years SEE advisers have underpinned the growth of Barbara Wiggins Designs. They speak with authority and experience. It’s good to know that when difficulties do arise I can always rely on their objective support and expertise to find practical solutions’.
You can find full details of Barbara’s product range on her website: www.barbarawiggins.co.uk