Smoothing the way for female entrepreneurs

Sinead Norton, Magherafelt who is expanding her business and now aims to support local mums with a free online support group, and regular meet ups
Sinead Norton, Magherafelt who is expanding her business and now aims to support local mums with a free online support group, and regular meet ups

A local entrepreneur is hoping to support mums in business with a free online support group.

Sinead Norton turned a home ironing service into a successful operation supplying over 400 weddings a year.

She took on five staff and was soon turning over £200,000 a year, moving from advertising her skills with the smoothing iron on her front lawn to opening Swift Cleaning and Ironing Services in Moneymore in little over a year.

Driven to succeed Sinead spotted a gap in the market for laundering wedding linens. She set her sights on working directly with hotels to maximise events and soon reaped the benefits.

“A year after opening we were contracted to 13 local hotels and we gave up our laundry and ironing service to open our services directly to brides.

We still use our professional laundry equipment, but now Swift Wedding Services launder our own stock, worth in excess of £60,000. This has allowed us to supply and dress more than 3,600 weddings and events in the last six years.

“Our rapid growth is paying dividends and this year we are going to take on another three full time staff members as we gear up to expand the business even further.”

The pitfalls that entrepreneur Sinead Norton faced and avoided along the way are proving inspirational to a new generation of female entrepreneurs looking to create or grow their own businesses.

Sinead’s passion for helping women, especially mums, make their way in business has spurred her on to take a new challenge – supporting and encouraging mothers build their businesses through her newly created Mums at Work Group.

The newly formed and fast-growing community of like-minded mums in business has gained over 450 members, in just 6 weeks. With each contributor keen to support each other personally and professionally.

“I understand how busy life can be with work and kids. But I also know how important it is to take the time to find help and advice on how to build your business and market yourself.

“I know more than most how isolated the working mother can be and time to yourself is very limited.

“I’ve started this group with the aim of helping any Mum who aspires to have a challenging, stimulating and fulfilling work career whilst having the freedom and flexibility to be with their family.

“We want to offer support, guidance and a little me time for all working mums at our meet ups.”

Ranging from full-time employed mums looking to start a business to successful female entrepreneurs the member profile is as diverse as the mums themselves and meet up are sure to be vibrant events with inspirational rosters of speakers.

Following the success of the first meet up in January, and hundreds of requests from working mums across Northern Ireland. Sinead has put together a number of inspirational meet ups for March and April, with the aim to running a minimum of one per month throughout the year.

The second Mid Ulster Event on February 21 will take place at the beautiful Wild Duck Inn Portglenone and guests will hear from founder of Deyogatox and The Sculpted Vegan, Kim Constable. A master of time management, Kim will share the exact formula she used to create a business that gave her both financial freedom, and precious time to spend with her family. Brigid Duggan, BD Consultancy; Bronagh Duffin, Bakehouse and Kelly Neill, Panacea Drinks will share their business expertise, success stories and help mums plan and execute their success in business.

Following this Sinead is supporting the working mums of Co Tyrone on Wednesday, February 28 at the Greenvale Hotel Cookstown. Where they will be treated to inspirational and business talks from fitness guru Tara Grimes, Tara Grimes Fitness, influencer and blogger Cliodhna Fullen; direct sales and marketing specialist Joanie O’Hanlon, A Shake A Day and retail entrepreneur Orlagh Moore, Ring O’Rosies.

For further information visit or follow the group on Facebook.