A Strabane business man has turned a hobby and passion for homeware into a new business venture thanks to the Go For It Programme, in association with Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
John Houston, who studied design at university and has a background in retail management, launched Houston Homeware after he spotted a gap in the market for a quality gift and homeware shop in Strabane.
“I saw a gap in the market in the Strabane area for a high-end gift and homeware shop. So, I started doing my research and then I contacted the Go For It Programme.
“They offered me all the advice and support to get the new venture off the ground. The course was very practical and structured and really helped me get a clear focus of where I wanted the business to go.
I saw a gap in the market in the Strabane area for a high-end gift and homeware shop. So, I started doing my research and then I contacted the Go For It Programme.
“They helped me put everything together into one business plan. They looked at things like financial costings and costing forecasts.
“They were a huge support to me and I would definitely encourage others with a business idea to talk to the Go For It Programme. It is free independent advice and it really helps put things in perspective and helps you see the bigger picture. They are with you every step of the way.”
John’s store in the heart of Strabane boosts a wide array of high-end homeware and gifts candles, crystal, photo frames and large pieces of unique furniture which can be product sourced.
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Orla McNulty, business advisor with Strabane Enterprise for Derry and Strabane District Council, said; “Working alongside John on his vision for the business was a real delight. He knew exactly what he wanted and had put a lot of hard work into scoping out his business idea before coming to us.
“We worked with him to develop and fine tune his business plan, making a number of small recommendations that would help with the short-term and long-term sustainability of the business. We are delighted to see Houston Homeware thriving in the heart of Strabane’s town centre and drop in regularly on my lunch break to pick-up something for my house.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It Programme on 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com.