10 Questions: Jayne Dolder

January 4, 2016

Jayne Dolder is the creative director and founder of the Bazaar Group, a specialist in soft furnishings design, manufacture and retail, which moved into a new state-of-the-art 41,000 sq ft premises this year after ten years in business. Jayne was recently named North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women into the Network Entrepreneur Awards 2015

What was your first break in business?

My business idea came about in the early days of ecommerce. Using my technical skills from my career as a PA, I was able to capitalise on this timing to be the first to market with my take on the traditional bean bag, which in hindsight moved the product group forward in the eyes of the consumer and was therefore truly my first break.

What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be a nurse. I’m quite logical so I think I would have been quite good at handling clinical information. I’m also good in extreme situations as I stay very calm.

What made you set up your own business?

My business grew out of a hobby. I had begun simply by making myself a bean bag for my home, which quickly turned into making a lot of bean bags and selling them on eBay. I couldn’t keep up with the demand; I was working hours into the night, alone in my garage. With my husband Mark’s support, we decided to start the Bazaar Group.

What is your company’s mission?

To develop the business to become first choice for soft seating and related products in the UK and beyond.

How do you get the best out of your team?

It’s one of our business goals to be recognised as an employer of choice in the region. We focus on promoting a good work-life balance, such as ensuring everyone leaves early at 2pm on Fridays. We are also committed to investing in training. Everyone is encouraged to develop their own personal goals and we do our utmost to help people achieve them.

What has been your career highlight?

Winning the Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship and Best Creative Business at this year’s North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. It was a wonderful night. I’m not normally one for the spotlight but I was surrounded by my family and work colleagues.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Probably letting go of things. In the early days I was in charge of everything, so as the business started to grow and we began hiring staff who are experts in their own areas, I had to step away and let people do what they do best. It was scary at first but I’m used to it now, plus it gives me more time to work on the bigger picture as creative director.

Who or what inspires you?

My parents had such a good work ethic; they always showed me that perseverance pays off. Over a four-year period they built a large swimming pool in the back garden. My mum dug the hole herself, then tiled and landscaped it perfectly with no previous experience. That was just the kind of approach she took to most things in life.

What are your short and long-term goals for the company?

Our short-term goals are to develop new and inspiring products that genuinely move their markets forward, and combining these with a fantastic marketing effort and outstanding customer service.

In the long term I would like to see the Bazaar Group as the home of soft furnishing brands that have become household names.

How do you achieve a good work/life balance?

It is a stretch – especially with two young children! I try to make the most of my time and be as productive as possible. I also know I can rely on my talented team at the Bazaar Group.

Jayne Dolder is creative director and founder of the Bazaar Group, which offers a range of bean bags, throws, cushions and other home accessories.

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Supporting role: Vicki McDonald and Brittney Marshall