Sara Banks set up her first business, selling fashion accessories, in 2005, at the age of 24.
In 2008 Sara Banks launched Steamline Luggage, making handmade, vintage style luggage. These sell online around the world, with 99% of her sales coming from overseas, mainly from the US, UK and Australia.
What kind of supports did you get starting out and what kind of supports would help you now?
I got mentoring assistance from Dublin City Local Enterprise Office starting out which was a great help. It can take a while before you find the right mentor for you, especially when you’re starting out and not 100% certain which direction you want to take your business. You need to find your voice to get the right mentor. Once you do, it’s very helpful. I also got assistance for the development of our first major website upgrade, which was a great help. Our website looks great but it’s at the back end that it is most impressive, and that takes investment. Our growth has come through word-of-mouth and great PR. Our PR team is the States is exceptional.
To take the business to the next stage, I’m looking at the idea of taking on an investor. Cash flow is always an issue with any company but we’ve never advertised, and our growth has come from word of mouth so it would be interesting to see what could happen if we were capitalised enough to fund a solid campaign.