Keen sailor launches art and greetings card business
- Credit: Archant
Essex businesswoman Sam Luxford is celebrating a successful mooring for her pop-up shop at Fenwick.
She `tied-up' her nautical-themed business, NaviStitch in the Colchester department store for two months, after winning a Dragons' Den style-competition for local women in business.
She was selected from an entry of 100 female entrepreneurs in a contest organised by Colbea, Colchester Business Enterprise Agency.
NaviStitch is a unique concept, devised by her, of hand-stitching original designs on old navigation charts to create distinctive works of art.
She produces and receives commissions for original artwork that can be personalised with locations and designs that are special to the owner.
She has also released an extensive range of NaviStitch greetings cards.
She wrapped up on Saturday for the final time but has been inspired to take it forward.
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"It was absolutely amazing," she said, "It exceeded my expectations. It has been incredible to be here and to meet so many people. I am really grateful to Fenwick and Colbea."
Her business is a classic case of turning a hobby into a business idea.
She loves the East Anglian rivers and estuaries.
She is a keen sailor, sailing dinghies at Wrabness and also crewing on Thames sailing barges on the Essex and Suffolk rivers.
Miss Luxford has worked as a Thames barge cook for much of her adult life, she said.
"I usually attend special events like the Woodbridge Regatta," she added.
"Although I don't do very much now I manage to squeeze in trip or two a year, as I love to sail and I have a special affection for Thames barges.
"Although I have worked with many barges I work with the Thames Sailing Barge Thalatta out of Ipswich now.
"I spend all my summers on the Stour Estuary and love to on and around the water."
For her business she searches car boot sales and on line to find old navigation charts to use.
"I have been very lucky finding vintage maps at the auction houses too," she added.
In Colchester she also received support throughout her trading experience, from both Fenwick and Colbea, in both setting up, running and marketing her pop-up shop.
Speaking about her experience, she said: "The Fenwick team have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of having me in the store. They are so enthusiastic about my products and are extremely helpful in explaining the concept to customers when I am not there. I am tremendously grateful to both Fenwick and Colbea for giving me this fantastic opportunity."