Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Katrina Doran: Founder of Sugahfix.com

Getting a fashion fix just got easier

Glenda Moore with Katrina Doran (right) of Sugahfix, an online guide for fashion conscious females

How’s business?

Business is good. We’ve just launched a new section on site — the Sugahfix VIP Directory which has had a fantastic response; we’ve also signed up with Hooley Media — a new online advertising sales agency who will handle advertising panels on site. Our stats are constantly growing, we’re gaining a devoted following of readers and subscribers and response from advertisers and sponsors has been brilliant.

Any exciting projects in the pipeline?

The Sugahfix VIP Directory has been our big focus for the past few months. Now that the Directory is live the next phase is driving sales, getting the listings up on site and promoting the section to our readers. We thrive on good ideas so there are always lots of projects in the pipeline that feed the bigger picture.

What are the long-term prospects for your company?

Sugahfix.com is the first website of its kind in this market and online media is still a very new platform so the world really is our oyster. The Sugah brand is building and expanding and we will eventually have a family of sites that will cover teens, mums, men.

What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation?

At the moment it’s how quickly we’re growing. We’ve worked smart from the moment we launched in April 08 — just as the credit crunch was taking hold. We kept overheads low, were smart with our budget and used our skills and experience to build momentum. We will also need premises soon as we take on staff and the business grows.

Could the government help you to do business better?

I can only comment on our personal experience with the likes of our local Enterprise agency who were great initially, with the two day start a business course, but, when asked for any further help or advice, appear to have their hands tied due to lack of budget. Belfast City Council is fantastic and their competitive city newsletter keeps me informed of courses, talks and training opportunities which they run. However, on several occasions I haven’t been able to avail of these opportunities as I’m just a stones throw outside the BCC area in Castlereagh.

Why would someone work for you?

Sugahfix.com is a dynamic, growing company with fresh ideas and positive view on nurturing talent. It’s a far cry from Ugly Betty but you certainly need to have a passion for fashion.

Your views on the economy please

The economy is still very uncertain and people are erring on the side of caution. The only certainty we have experienced is that women still want to shop, look good, travel and enjoy themselves so they’re turning to free information from websites like Sugahfix.com to help them make choices. Consumers haven’t stopped shopping — it’s about shopping smart.

The business climate — good or bad?

For us — business is really picking up — there is a positive vibe building but like anything it’s because we’ve made it that way. We listened to our advertisers and potential advertisers and have given them a platform that is everything they’ve asked for and more — so we’ve made it happen with good ideas and hard work. There’s no point complaining about business climate not being good — there are always opportunities — no matter how slim budgets seem to be.

What ambitions do you have on a personal level?

Creating beautiful imagery is hugely important to me — from the photography used on Sugahfix to the page layouts, as well as art direction and styling on photoshoots.

I particularly enjoy working with new, up and coming talent — be that the model, make-up artist, hairstylist or the photographer — it’s very rewarding to watch them grow creatively.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Both my husband and I love cooking — and eating! And although I rarely get time to watch TV we both love the Good food channel — Market Kitchen and anything by Rick Stein. I find cooking very therapeutic.

I do try as much as possible to have at least one ‘no computer’ day at the weekend but my brain rarely switches off.

Of course I love to shop and I tend to justify my shopping activity as ‘half work’ as I’m constantly on the look out for dresses, shoes, accessories and clocking them in my mental database for future photoshoots and spotting trends.

Taking some time out to spend with my family and friends is also very important to me.

It’s difficult when just starting a new business as it can become all-consuming but everyone needs a balance and I have a fantastic family who are an amazing support as well as a distraction with lots of laughs. I’ve also really learned who my real friends are which has been an extremely life affirming process.

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