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Shauna dressing to impress with Business Boost Programme

26 March 2018

Since she started trading in 2006, Derry based Irish dancing dress designer and manufacturer Shauna Shiels has had the ambition to expand her business into international markets and create more jobs for local people. 

With the help of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Boost programme she now has a clearly defined strategy to make her future vision for her Buncrana Road based Doire Dress Ltd a reality.

Led by Council, the Business Boost programme is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme (2014-2020), the programme offers specially tailored support for micro and small enterprises right across the Council area.

Shauna signed up for the Business Boost programme to create a clear business plan and to review the company’s organizational structure and HR policies.

“My mentor Stephen Friel outlined that ‘as well as identifying where you want to go, you need to know how to get there,” she explained.

“That is what we’ve worked on - setting realistic goals and then devising strategies to achieve and surpass these goals – I’m delighted with the work to date and now have a clear vision and plan for the future.”

Before she made dress design and manufacturing her job 12 years ago, Shauna had a long held passion for both fashion and Irish Dancing.

She felt there was a gap in the market from the constant demand for new dresses from parents and teachers of other dancers and took the decision to begin making the dresses professionally from home. 

Since 2006 the business has flourished and is now considered by many as one of the world’s leading Irish Dance Dress Manufacturers.

The business now operates out of its own premises on the Buncrana Road, manufacturing high quality Irish dance costumes and leading the way in innovative modern designs and dress making technology. Shauna has acquired a committed and highly skilled workforce dedicated to producing the world’s best quality Irish Dancing Dresses.

To date Shauna and her business mentor in the Business Boost programme have revised the staff handbook and are currently working to develop a new business plan for the company to clearly roadmap its aspirations over the next 5 years.

In the coming years Shauna aims to grow international sales, particularly in the US marketplace, which in turn will result in increased jobs at the company’s manufacturing facility in Derry.

Further details on Business Boost is available on the Council website at www.derrystrabane.com/businessboost.