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Karen Davey

Karen Davey

Just Bunting

Without help from Outset Cornwall, I would never have got this far, and have enjoyed every single moment of running my own successful business.

Karen’s story

“I had a very stressful job in the voluntary sector. One day I borrowed a sewing machine to make a tote bag for my daughter. Five hours later, I had produced something that I was proud of, but most importantly, I felt totally relaxed and that five hours had flown by. It was then that I knew my future lay in sewing and making things.”

All she needed to decide on next was exactly what she would make. It was when her 11-year-old daughter showed her an online blog all about bunting that the idea for her unique business was born.

“I knew I wanted to specialise in one area and after doing some online research the idea to concentrate solely on bunting materialised. Sometimes when I tell people what I do they say, “Just bunting, is that all?” and that’s how my business name came about!”

With her 40th birthday looming, her day-job becoming increasingly difficult, Karen decided it was time to make a life changing decision and took the brave plunge into self-employment. With the mantra ‘You don’t know what you can do, until you try’ leading the way to her successes.

Despite years of studying in a field she didn’t enjoy, Karen decided to push her recently obtained degree to one side, and follow her passion to run her own business. That’s where Outset Cornwall were there to help.

“I found out about Outset Cornwall in 2010 at the Royal Cornwall Show. As I was just starting out in business, one of the main attractions was that the course was free as money was tight. I was very nervous when I first joined the women-only group in St Austell but soon relaxed and made some fantastic new friends; all like-minded businesswomen who believed in my business and products. Twelve months later she still keeps in contact with quite a few of fellow participants. The Outset advisors were knowledgeable, approachable and most of all understanding of how I was feeling about going it alone.”
Karen now plans to add to her bespoke bunting (made from a collection of recycled, new and vintage fabrics) by expanding into making other products, such as cushions, tote bags and fabric canvas art pictures.

Karen has recently started teaching others sewing skills from her kitchen workshop and runs pop up sewing workshops in various locations across Cornwall. She is always delighted when participants can take away something that they are proud to have made, especially when some tell Karen before the workshop that they “don’t have any sewing ability whatsoever”!

The highlight of Karen’s first year in business happened in February 2012. Karen gained recognition on a social networking site from a ‘re-tweet’ by BBC Dragon Theo Paphitis as part of his Small Business Sunday #sbs Twitter initiative. She was invited to Birmingham alongside 300 other winners to meet Theo and to receive 2.5 hours of mentoring, advice and encouragement from him.

Karen’s future plans include expanding the business to be able to sell to the gift trade, open up her own workshop / studio and become the name in Cornwall and beyond for producing high quality, affordable bunting and other hand sewn products.

“Without help from Outset Cornwall, I would never have got this far, and have enjoyed every single moment of running my own successful business.”

Karen says – “The Outset advisors were knowledgeable, approachable and most of all understanding of how I was feeling about going it alone.”