Childhood hobby becomes an international success

Childhood hobby becomes an international success

From humble beginnings in a back bedroom in Manchester in 2012, hand-crafted stationery business norma&dorothy now ships to 15 countries, has out-grown four offices, employs 11 members of staff and is forecasting a turn-over of £500,000 by the end of the financial year.

norma&dorothy based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the brain-child of Grace Sherriff, 28, who is now realising her childhood vision. From modest beginnings creating her own cards for family members, she is now selling wedding stationery and greeting cards to customers all over the world, averaging 1500 orders a month.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with designing and hand-making things, from as little as five all I wanted for Christmas and birthdays was stationery. Then when I was about 10, I began designing, albeit shop fronts in my hordes of note pads in my bedroom - but the passion was always there.” said Grace.

“I never fully believed there would be a career in it for me though, so as I grew older it just became more of a hobby producing my own original greetings cards when family and friends asked.”

Grace graduated from Huddersfield University after honing her skills in fashion design and marketing as well as receiving numerous awards for her work. Still not believing her real passion could become a full time career, she began working in the fashion world by taking a position at a Manchester-based knitwear design company.

Grace continued: “There has always been an innate urge to craft and create, I always needed to make things with my hands, which was the main reason I turned my back on fashion design, as day-to-day I never physically made anything.”

Grace launched norma&dorothy in 2012 selling just purely hand-crafted greeting cards, but by the summer of 2013 she was a key seller through online retailer Etsy expanding her collection by selling wedding stationery.

“When I launched international sales came almost immediately. So with this sudden surge of global interest and the demand I witnessed at key trading events and shows, I knew I needed someone to help, so Paul, my partner joined as managing director in 2014 and I guess as they say the rest is history.”

Since officially launching four years ago, the business has always remained self-funded and now employs 11 members of staff, sells through Not On The High Street and Etsy as well as their own online shop, and has committed to hand-make each and every piece.

The PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards are about recognising the excellence in those emerging, wealth creating companies that are selling their products, services and expertise in scores of overseas markets.

Click here to nominate and for event information.

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