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Business advisers help glassware firm sparkle

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Roger Wilkins of Cool Ventures and Phaedra Politis from Phaedra GlassRoger Wilkins of Cool Ventures and Phaedra Politis from Phaedra GlassA glassware designer is now exhibiting her colourful creations in a US gallery after seeking free business advice on the Swindon and Wiltshire SME Growth Programme.

Phaedra Politis, founder of Phaedra Glass, specialises in making kiln fired glassware and gifts at her art studio in Wingfield near Trowbridge.

Phaedra’s striking designs include beautiful butterfly wings and other decorative wall art, eye-catching glass tiles and luxury dinner sets.

The Steidel Fine Art gallery in Texas has now agreed to represent Phaedra who is expanding her business with help from business coach Roger Wilkins of Cool Ventures, which delivers the Swindon and Wiltshire SME Growth Programme.

The programme provides free intensive support to small and medium-sized businesses across Wiltshire.

Businesses benefit from one-to-one coaching from specialist advisers and access to workshops on key topics including business planning, finance, marketing and management.

“Roger helped me to visualise my plans for the business, set specific goals to focus on and a time limit for achieving them,” said Phaedra, who is also now exhibiting her artworks at The Rostra Gallery in Bath and the Fisherton Gallery in Salisbury.

“One of the main changes has been to concentrate on smaller gifts and split my craft and gift work into two separate businesses, as well as marketing my glassware nationally and globally.

“Roger also helped me look more closely at the volume of products that I need to sell in order to achieve a certain level of profit, which has been crucial to growing the business.”

Since being on the growth programme, Phaedra has also expanded the number of local retail outlets stocking her gifts to include Prior Park Garden Centre and the Coldharbour Gallery in Bristol.

“It has made me realise that retail is the direction I need to go in,” she added. “Galleries are now paying up front for my products, rather than stocking them on a sale or return basis as before.”

She continued: “The support I have received from Roger and Cool Ventures has been absolutely brilliant and I always come out of our meetings feeling energised and full of ideas. It has given me the focus and clarity that I need to take my business to the next level.”

Roger Wilkins, who is a director of Cool Ventures, said: "We’re really pleased to have helped Phaedra develop her glassware business both here and overseas. We wish her every success with her exciting plans for the business.

“Whether it’s reviewing your business plan, helping you market your business effectively or developing robust financial plans, the growth programme gives people like Phaedra the direction, support and skills they need to succeed.”