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Julia Harrison

I guess I could base my business anywhere…

We speak to Julia Harrison, founder and Director of greetings cards and gift ware company Dialectable Ltd. For Julia, Sheffield offers the best of both worlds; the support to launch and grow a business and the lifestyle for a family.

What were your ambitions?

As a child I had no clue about what I wanted to do.  I had a sense I’d get married and have children, but career wise I really didn’t know.

What support did you get to set up your business?

Since coming up with Dialectable, which was less than 2 years ago, I’ve had great support from family and friends. I can’t think of anyone who discouraged me, even though I’m a single parent, and therefore, a single income household. Leaving my job last year was a natural progression as the business needed me, but it was still a big decision.

I’ve always known I was creative but I wasn’t good enough to do fine art and couldn’t find an outlet for my creativity. One parent encouraged it; the other discouraged it and wanted me to be practical. Graphic design would have been a good option for me, but I simply wasn’t aware of it.

Why did you choose to start a business in Sheffield?

I came to University here and stayed. I love this city. I guess I could base my business anywhere, but my children are growing up and in school, and the city offers the best of both worlds; the support to launch and grow a business and the lifestyle for a family.

The business is growing quickly, and I’m completely focussed on that right now.

What is the most challenging thing about your job and what is the most rewarding?

The most challenging thing about this job has been developing the business completely alone. With no business partner or life partner, I’ve made every decision on my own and that’s been hard. You never really know if you’ve done the right thing until you’ve done it. So far I’ve been lucky in the choices I’ve made.

If you were giving careers advice to your 14 year-old self, what would you say?

My advice would be, if you have fundamental instinct about your strengths and what you’d like to do, then be brave and go with it. That seedling of creativity was dormant in me for the first 25 years of my working life. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, because I’m doing something that suits my personality and uses the best of my skills

Watch this video to find out more about Julia’s story: https://vimeo.com/157659987

You can get free and impartial advice to help you set up and grow your business here in Sheffield. Contact Business Sheffield on 0800 043 5522 to learn more.