Tyrone entrepreneur, Shirley Hunter, is enjoying growing export success with the help of Invest Northern Ireland, for her handcrafted greeting cards targeted at high quality gift shops.
Trading as Simply Special, Shirley has reined in some high profile customers and grown her customer base through a pro-active marketing strategy supported by Invest NI. The strategy includes attending trade shows in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
“Invest NI’s support for my marketing activity has been invaluable. It made it possible for me to attend trade shows in both Ireland and the UK. That’s been a real help to me in growing the business and has raised the profile of Simply Special in the Republic of Ireland,” says Shirley.
Mary Gormley, Invest NI’s Western Regional Office Manager, says: “This is a small business that has grown progressively with the aid of advice and assistance from Invest NI, particularly in the area of marketing.Shirley has identified a niche market for her cards and her focus on quality and innovative designs is attracting new accounts. We’ll continue to work with Shirley to ensure she builds on her success so far and expands into other export markets.”
Recently Simply Special clinched the Product of the Show Award at the Autumn Gift & Home Show 2008 in Dublin. Her cards were also recognised for their quality design at Showcase Ireland 2008 receiving an INDEX 50 award which placed them in the top 50 most innovative and exciting new products of the show.
To further encourage retailers to stock her cards Shirley designed and sourced innovative display units that ensure an excellent showcase for her cards at the same time as offering the most efficient use of floor space for the retailer.