PrimaryLife – Handcrafted Homeware and Art made in London

Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

The whole business started after a friend gifted me a Jesmonite casting kit. I experimented with making a few hexagon coasters and posted them on Instagram. Another friend liked what I had made and so came about my first order and subsequent small business!

What are your responsibilities as a business owner?

I take the quality of my products very seriously, it’s part of the responsibility to provide good products, service, and packaging.

Yellow terrazzo Jesmonite pot and oblong vanity tray set hot & cold mix 01
Terracotta terrazzo Jesmonite vanity plateplacematcentrepiece and matching pot
Light blue terrazzo Jesmonite vanity plateplacematcentrepiece

What are your best selling products, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?

The best selling products so far have been the hexagon coasters/trinket trays, and a lot of the products in terrazzo finishes have sold quickly.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?

I love that people have my handmade items in their homes and I hope that they are functional as well as aesthetic. The hardest part is trying not to get demotivated during quiet sales periods or when I don’t feel like producing anything!

Who do you sell to (and how do you get customers)? What marketing tools or strategies you use to boost your sales? Are you satisfied with the results?

Customers have come through friends, family, word of mouth, Instagram, and Etsy. My main marketing tool is Instagram and building a following and client base there. Etsy is my secondary sales platform, the fees are quite high though so I prefer direct sales.

Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?

I have not been a small business for long so can’t say if there is a winning formula but I believe that persisting with things that work is a good way forward!

What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?

I have had a couple of postage issues which is really difficult as once the item is out of my hands the control over the process is in the hands of the postal system. The best way to overcome this is by doing everything you can up to the point where the package is handed over and then making sure the customer is happy.

What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?

I look at color palettes a lot for inspiration for mixes. New product ideas come from needing a solution to a problem or playing around with existing molds.

Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?

Products are shipped worldwide with postage pricing based on actual shipping costs. The average time from order to delivery for ready to ship items is 2-3 days for the UK. The packaging is mainly recycled from deliveries so as not to contribute to waste.

What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?

I would say that the key elements are having a product that people want to buy and being able to market this to obtain sales.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?

I would suggest starting small and building up from a couple of products until you know for sure what is successful.

How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?

Personally, I would define business success in sales as it means that my products are liked and my creative experiments have paid off!

Forest green terrazzo Jesmonite plant utensil pot
Dark coloured handmade Jesmonite Christmas snowflake decorations
Brightly coloured handmade Jesmonite Christmas snowflake decorations

Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?

Day to day I have a full-time job as an architect. Jesmonite casting, therefore, fits in around this in the mornings/evenings and at weekends.

How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?

As a one-person small business, I plan to make more stock that is ready to ship as these are quickest to ship and can be with customers sooner. The biggest impact on profitability currently is shipping and Etsy costs, having my own website would help negate some of these.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Taking well-lit photographs that capture products well has worked I think. Been lucky enough to not have any hard lessons so far!

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