Enterprise North East Trust, August 25th blog

To help drive your business forward, Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire works with a number of partner organisations to help businesses reach their full potential for success. One such organisation- Interface, helps to bring businesses together with local academic centers to research a product or service – a service which today’s business spotlight client Sansooz utilised in the development of her business.

Susan ‘Sooz’ Chirino has been meticulously planning her business Sansooz for the past few years, which produces fashionable apparel incorporating high visibility elements. Set to debut its first products in September 2014, Sansooz has already been listed in The Pitch Competition top 100 national business start-ups within the UK.

Sooz produces safety conscious clothing with a difference. The reflective elements of the clothes are designed into her products, keeping the wearer fashionable, but visible at night. Sooz says:

“Fashion is important to most people because it makes us look good - and who doesn’t want to look good?

After coming up with my business idea, I would hear of pedestrians being knocked down. I kept wondering – could my designs perhaps give drivers a valuable extra few seconds to brake or swerve?
Additionally, I plan to donate a small portion of my profits to Brake which supports children who have lost limbs by being knocked down.”

Coming from a background in textiles and fashion and now being faced with the opportunity to make a career out of this creativity, Sooz believes she has found her true calling:

“I attended Grays School of Art at Robert Gordon University as a mature student, and graduated with a BA Honours in Surface Design and Textiles.  For the last two years I have also lectured part-time in the Art & Design Department at North East Scotland College.”

Since starting out with a kitchen table covered in homemade samples, Sooz recounts how Business Gateway helped her make the leap and turn these samples into professional textiles:

“Business Gateway assisted me by offering advice and free workshops. They introduced me to Interface; which led to me gaining a £5000 Innovation Voucher from the Scottish Funding Council. This money was put towards the collaboration between Sansooz and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee to work on research and development for my business.”

And what does the future hold for Sansooz?

“My initial plans are to trade online, and my first collection for release is primarily coats, bags and stickers for children.
I intend to develop my products into the market further in due course, and to develop adult lines. After all I’ve heard it said that from small acorns grow mighty oaks.”

On a closing note, you may have pondered where the name ‘Sansooz’ came from. Sooz says:

“My business name Sansooz stands for San (Seen At Night), and Sooz – my own name”.