WHAT DO WE DO ?
We are a global business selling a range of Black ballerina products.
WHO ARE WE ?
My name is Sharon McBean and I am the Founder and Owner of the business.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND US ?
When did you launch?
How and why did you come up with the idea?
This is my first time starting a business, I had no prior experience although I do have a background in marketing – I left the industry over 15 years ago. I am now a qualified social worker, which is what I do part-time whilst running Nia Ballerina.
Nia Ballerina is the inspiration of my own daughter – from before she was even 3 years old, my daughter has absolutely loved ballet. My mother had bought my daughter a music box with a ballerina figurine, however I did not understand why the ballerina did not resemble my daughter. I wanted my daughter to have a music box with a ballerina that looked like her and had presumed music boxes with black ballerinas were readily available. I searched for about 18 months, both in the UK and in different countries around the world, but was unable to find any music boxes containing black ballerina figurines. I finally made the decision in the Autumn of 2015 that I would begin the process of creating my own music box with a black ballerina.
‘I wanted my daughter to have a music box with a ballerina that looked like her.’
What barriers / obstacles did you have to overcome and how did you do it?
The process of producing the music boxes with no experience in manufacturing took time, it was not easy and it meant learning a lot of new things and skills mainly through trial and error – there has been a lot of mistakes along the journey! The first obstacle was designing the images for the music boxes and learning to work with designers, then finding manufacturers who tended to be overseas, it was a very dauting experience. The most important thing when working with manufacturers in the UK or overseas is to ask for samples, then to ensure that your products are quality checked. If you cannot undertake the checks yourself, then pay a third party to do this on your behalf, it will save you time and money in the long run.
What is different about your product and brand?
We were able to identify a gap in the market at the time there were no other music boxes with a black ballerina available worldwide. From this, we have been able to build on the brand and expand the product range. My daughter has also had an active role in the business; from initial concept and packing the first orders to the creation of the Nia Ballerina character. I remember my daughter being at my side, on stage at the very first event we attended in 2016, she has attended the majority of events since this time. I feel our audience understands there was a genuine need for me to create a product for my daughter.
What are your plans for the future?
We intend to add to the product range in the short term with other projects currently being planned. We always ask our audience to stay in touch!
Are you looking for funding / investment?
Nia Ballerina is now in a position where the business is able to grow significantly as we have clear business objectives. We would consider funding or investment opportunities that would support the growth.