An ‘Idea-l’ home for new business

New home: From left, Ian Connor, Donna Surtees and Donna Connor.
New home: From left, Ian Connor, Donna Surtees and Donna Connor.
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DONNA and Ian Connor have given the North East Business and Innovation Centre (Bic) the stamp of approval.

The couple have chosen the Bic as the new home for their business, The Idea Owl Stationery Shop.

From the age of 11 I have had numerous pen pals, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s boring stationery

Donna Connor, The Idea Owl Stationery Shop

Donna and Ian launched the business from their Sunderland home and originally visited the Bic for start-up advice.

However, as the business grew, they realised they needed an office with room to expand.

Donna said: “The business has really taken off and we have sent our products to all corners of the world.

“We wanted to make a point of keeping our work and family life separate, so we started to look at office space.

“As soon as we saw what the Bic had to offer, we knew it was the right place for our business, there is a real community spirit here which we love, and since moving on site we have already worked with two other companies that are based here.”

Today the business delivers to all parts of the world, including Australia, America, Peru and Jakarta, but it all grew from Donna’s passion for stationery.

“From the age of 11 I have had numerous pen pals, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s boring stationery – so I began sourcing products which couldn’t be bought in the UK and selling them,” she said.

“I love working for myself and there’s nothing better than receiving a new package in the post full of new products.”

Former HGV driver Ian added: “We knew it was time to get serious and get a business address, and we are really happy with our new home from home.

“We have two daughters, one who loves stationery, the other not so much, but what we wanted to show them was that you can work for yourself and be a success at anything you put your mind to.”

Donna Surtees, senior space adviser at the Bic, said: “It is lovely to welcome the business to the Bic.

“It is fantastic to hear that they have also tapped into other businesses on site.

“That is the whole ethos behind the Bic and we hope The Idea Owl Stationery Shop have a happy and successful future here.”

To view The Idea Owl Stationery Shop visit www.theideaowl.com

For more on business space at the Bic, contact Donna on 516 6066.