Hailing from the North Coast, Tracy McAllister decided that the time had come to make her dream of starting a business a reality when redundancy struck back in late 2013. With a degree in Business and a wealth of experience in event organisation, advertising and branding as well as a love of interiors, Tracy decided that she would utilise her skills, knowledge and contacts to confidently drive her business idea forward.
Tracy’s business ‘bts’ (short for ‘By the Sea’) is a non-prescriptive interiors and lifestyle store based on the Causeway Coast offering a carefully curated range of homeware, gifts, accessories and lifestyle items sourced from around the world and that compliment coastal living.
Launched originally as a web store in May 2014 ‘bts’ demonstrates how a successful business should grow organically having morphed naturally over the past year from a pop-up store on the run up to Christmas 2014, to the static store it is today situated on Queen Street, Coleraine
Focusing on a muted coastal colour and with a nod to Nordic living, Tracy explains that ‘bts’ offers ‘simple, modern and timeless’ products updated on a regular basis and that will work beautifully in a coastal home.
Tracy is an avid interiors fan with an appetite for home magazines and lifestyle blogs. Her inspiration for the development of a simple, coastal lifestyle boutique is drawn from the Nordic perspective of living – simple and cosy. The combination of Tracy’s business and marketing background has meant that she has the perfect blend of talent and inspiration to make a truly successful interiors and lifestyle business.
However business is not all plain sailing and Tracy admitted that ‘starting your own business can be a lonely place’. Having invested her redundancy into getting the business of the ground, Tracy also utilised the services of Causeway Enterprise Agency and attended the Invest Northern Ireland’s Regional Start Initiative which proved beneficial in terms of support and advice. Having attended this course also gave Tracy the opportunity to successfully apply for a Start Up Loan through ENI in order to grow the business from a web only store to the static store it is today.
‘Receiving the ENI funding was a great boost as I could take my business to the next level – by opening my store and allowing customers to enjoy a sensory shopping experience – something you don’t get just shopping online. A year on and the business is doing really well. I have plans to expand my store to make it bigger in early 2016 as well as take forward the interiors side of my business.’ Watch this space.
bts interiors + concept store, Queen street, Coleraine