Case Study: Hey Belles
Hey Belles is a bespoke event stationery and graphic design studio. Creating artwork for weddings, special occasions and events, as well as offering business leaflets, logos and marketing design.
Bridgwater, Somerset. Sales worldwide.
TDA Business Support
Delivered as part of the ERDF Start Up programme:
- Business diagnostic to understand current business plan and aims
- Business support programme covering Business Planning, Finance and Marketing
- Funding opportunities
- Networking support
Somerset sisters, Becky and Sophie Hayes, both graphic designers decided to join forces and set up their own design business. Initially looking to design and produce wedding props, the business was steered by the sisters’ success and eye for producing quirky stationery. Subsequently their niche for designing ‘Hey Belles’ alternative stationery was born!
At the founding stages of Hey Belles, Becky and Sophie, by their own admission, considered themselves to be, “thoroughly creative at heart; creative but not altogether business minded.” In order to set up as a business they were looking online for a source of independent business advice. This was to help get the business off the ground, and to make the transition to setting up in business together.
The sisters found out about the funded support available from TDA and met with Phil Riste, TDA Business Advisor for an initial meeting early in 2019. Following enrolment on the ERDF Start-Up Support Programme, the one-to-one sessions were a chance to formulate a plan of what the pair were looking to achieve, to discuss ideas and key considerations for setting up their business.
Over the course of 12 hours of fully funded support Becky and Sophie tapped into information and guidance across key business areas. This included business set-up and structure options, how to register the business, insurance, funding and on-going business resources and networking groups available.
Phil Riste explained: “Becky and Sophie are incredibly skilled in what they do. I disagree that they are not business minded, far from it! They have an inspiring entrepreneurial mind-set and were simply after the type of information many start-up businesses seek out. Such information can help make the business process run as smoothly as possible. We were able to run through options, resources and discuss opportunities.”
Hey Belles is currently running a popular online Etsy shop, and by supplying 100% digital files, their audience is worldwide. One of the sisters’ biggest success stories so far, and one that they hadn’t anticipated has been the demand for their niche designs overseas.
Becky explained: “We have received so many orders from the United States. It is making up around 90% of our sales at the moment. Our style of work seems to just appeal – especially our top selling gothic, geeky and boho wedding invites.”
“The market is extremely competitive and we have to work hard to keep coming up with new and fresh ideas. With so many of our customers coming from the United States we have used this to influence the work we produce. For example we have developed a good line of Baby Shower invites in response.”
“Setting up a business in partnership with my sister has been a work in progress, we have developed a great working relationship – whilst retaining our friendship at the same time! Originally working apart, we now work from our home office together, and bounce ideas off each other. We have naturally formed working roles to split the management of the business day-to-day, whilst both still spending equal time on our passion that is design work.”
There are exciting plans for the future of Hey Belles. Hey Belles have just recently launched their website, and are planning an ecommerce site. The pair will also be attending their first wedding fayre event shortly, and introducing a bespoke design service, as well as supplying completed products, alongside design-only files.
Referring to TDA business support Becky said: “I’d recommend to anybody starting up a business to get in touch. The guidance available and support has been so helpful to us. We’re also looking forward to attending some of the business workshops shortly – just as soon as we get the time!”
You can visit Hey Belles and see their latest designs at
To find out more about TDA business support visit: www.tda-business.com