A dedicated dance enthusiast hopes to attract hundreds of new customers as she launches her Barnsley business just in time for the busy festival and competitions season.
Kerry Archer has opened her own specialist shop, Dance Zone, on Sheffield Road, and is selling outfits, shoes and accessories for young dancers in all disciplines including ballet, tap, modern jazz, street dance, cheerleading and also gymnastics.
Kerry, who has been dancing since she was three years old, said: “This is a busy time of year for young dancers, their families and teachers and many of them need to buy new dance shoes or source outfits for show dances and so on.
“In the past many local people have travelled to Rotherham or Batley to buy dancewear but I am now providing a new shop in Barnsley which they can come to, plus an online service through my Facebook page and website too.
“If customers drop me a message about a particular item they need, I aim to be able to say that I have that in store, or I can source it via my suppliers and get it into the shop within 48 hours if at all possible.”
Kerry, who also teaches dance at the Jill Brookes School of Dance in Barnsley, was helped to set up her business through the Barnsley business start-up programme – Smartstart.
Smartstart is managed by the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), at Wilthorpe, working in partnership with Barnsley Council. It has helped more than 200 businesses set up over the last two years with free business advice, guidance and workshops.
Kerry, aged 29, has combined her extensive knowledge of the dance industry and large network of contacts to help realise her dream of running her own dance shop.
Kerry said: “I know and understand my market after a lifelong love of dance and also teaching dance since I was 18, but I didn’t have any idea about running my own business.
“The Smartstart programme, its mentoring and support, has been fantastic for sorting me out with all that side of things. The programme has made it possible for me to realise my dream and I am now determined to make success of the business.”
Kerry will take stands at many of the weekend festivals being held across West and South Yorkshire between now and the end of July. She hopes for further spikes in sales in September when children start dance classes at the start of the new term and in the run up to Christmas when dance schools put on their big shows.
Kerry has already been busy. As well as local sales, she has supplied a large order of tan-coloured tap dancing shoes to a dance school in Aberdeen through her contacts. She has also collaborated with local printer Vortex to design and produce her own range of dance T-shirts and bags.
Kerry has adjusted her opening hours to open later on Thursdays so that parents can pop in while their children are at local dance school classes. She has gained a contract to stock the popular Pineapple dancewear range in store from this summer BBIC’s Smartstart business development manager James Herbert said: “Kerry has combined her passion for dance and excellent knowledge of the local dance scene with her new-found business skills and confidence to launch a new Barnsley business. She knows her customers and her products.
“Through Smartstart we’ve given her advice in matters such as opening a business account and setting up a Streamline chip and pin machine.
“Building a new business is all about having personal vision and ambition; developing the necessary business acumen and putting in the hard work. Kerry has the perfect combination of these and we wish her every success.”
To find out more about Dance Zone, visit www.facebook.com/Dancezonebarnsley
The next Smartstart open day for people who are thinking about setting up their own business will be held at BBIC on Tuesday 12th May 10am-4pm. Visit www.barnsleystartup.co.uk for details.
The Smartstart programme is part of a wider strategy to help grow the local economy, as set out in Barnsley Council’s Jobs and Business Plan 2014-2017.