7 Moments that will never leave me..
Seven years ago, I launched Genevieve Sweeney.
It has been an incredible journey to date, and I have experienced some beautiful moments.
I would love to share with you seven moments that were real milestones for me during this rollercoaster ride of running a small business.
Some are small, some are big, but as I sit here with a cup of coffee, they all come to the front of my mind as memorable moments.
1. You, my wonderful customers.
Being a small business owner means I am at the end of the phone, answering emails and on social media. It’s a part of my work that I love so much, as I get to talk to customers directly, learn feedback and hear how GS knitwear has become a part of your life and, often, that much-needed hug.
Some conversations have led to friendships, both locally and across oceans.
Over the years, I’ve collected all the notes & cards sent to me by my wonderful customers.
They are pinned on my studio wall and bring me a smile each time I look at them.
2. My first ever pop-up shop.
It was a pivotal moment! After years of research, months of hard work manufacturing, building the website, reaching out to press, buyers and influencers.
Finally, I had everything ready at one point.
At the time, I was living in Hackney, London, and there was a community Pop-up Shop you could rent for a week (it was free!).
I received the keys at 11 pm on a Sunday, and my husband and I worked through the night building furniture and wall fixtures to make the empty white space feel cosy, filling it all with my knitwear of cosy jumpers, shimmering knitted jumpsuits and sparkly socks.
We opened the shop on a quiet street Monday morning with commuters walking by… I was worried I had made a bit of a mistake.
I will never forget the two first customers:
- A gentleman bought his girlfriend a scarf and a pair of sparkly Solline socks.
- Later that evening, a lady cycled by, stopping and returning to pop into the shop.
She picked up the Rea barracuda and tried it on- the first customer I had seen wearing my knitwear. It looked incredible on her; she tried it, loved it and bought it straight away. I wish I had asked her name; I was in too much shock.
Later that week, we had a launch party, and I was overwhelmed by the support. Editors, stylists, influencers, friends from university I hadn’t seen for years, family members that lived far away popped in, Instagram friends, and buyers. What an evening, speaking to everyone and sharing my love and passion for luxury British-made knitwear.
3. A visit to my sock factory.
I love being in the factories. With that noisy hum of the machines knitting, washing, steaming and the artisans hard at work, beautiful yarn everywhere and seeing my designs come to life.
I fondly remember a busy day at my sock factory. I had taken over the machines with sparkly yarns, spinning, twisting and knitting. I was working on new designs and stock for the season ahead. During our break, I chat with the knitters and finishers with a cup of tea, getting to know one another and hearing about their families. The personal connection is so important to me, and we have become family over the years.
4. My first hire- my amazing assistant Amie.
I have no idea what I did before Amie joined last October. She hugely reorganised the studio, helps with admin and wraps up all your orders.
(Before then, the team included Heston, Hugo and my Cats, but. that doesn’t count as they were born into the family business).
5. That wow moment, as seen in Stella Magazine.
This feature in Stella Magazine changed my business overnight; my Hand Intarsia sweater was in centre view. The day it was published, I received my first orders from the USA – a real wow moment!
6. Award for Women in Business.
Earlier that year, we relocated to Clavering, Essex, to set up our new studio outside of London. As I met Essex business support hubs, I applied for the Essex Business Boost Award for a chance to win a grant for equipment that would help my business.
I was honoured to have won and purchased a linking machine that seams knitted jumpers together. This allowed me to make a custom order for a stockist in South Korea and London, featuring hand-knitted dresses and jumpers.
7. Purls of wisdom
Before launching, a friend shared some wise words or purls of wisdom with me, “just reach out to someone you would like to speak to and ask them to go for a coffee”.
I had been dreaming of getting in touch with an Editor, so I asked her for a coffee via Instagram, and she said yes!
I met her office, and she kindly gave me an hour of her time, and I shared with her the vision of my brand, passion and love for British manufacturing. Of course, it’s always nerve-wracking to put yourself forward and ask for someone’s time. However, each time I have taken that step to ask someone for a chat, it’s fantastic to see what a conversation over coffee could lead to.
Thank you for letting me share my seven moments with you. Here’s to the next seven years! Thank you for being on this journey with me.
All the best, Genevieve x
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