Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I’m actually a horticulturist but I wanted to sell crafts I’d made as a side hobby. So I needed a branding rubber stamp for my gift bags. At the time I couldn’t find anyone to make me one, so I set out and made my own. I was at a local craft group that day and another crafter asked me if I could carve a birdhouse, so I did. That lead to a stamp of a monkey, then a dog, and so on and I popped the pictures on Facebook. I now sell worldwide 😁 It’s now my full-time business.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
I design, make, promote, manage my business in my garden studio.
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?
My best selling product is My bumblebee, hand-drawn and made by my own hands here at home. My stamps are now made from resin and I draw the designs when I feel inspired, that’s mostly with the change of seasons. I also have a monthly subscription box, for this, I design a new image every month and I take inspiration from nature, mostly plants. I’m a horticulturist who loves nature and our planet so it’s always at the forefront of my mind.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Honestly, I think it’s keeping up with the workload, I sell so many stamps now, which is really great but I was massively unprepared for this leap in my homegrown business. I now have the fabulous Lucy working with me to help with all the admin. And now my boys are much more self-sufficient, we’re all finding our groove.
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?
Honestly, I don’t really use anything other than Etsy ad google advertising tool, and Etsy social media. I do love trying to male my Instagram wall Pretty, I think that helps.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
Care about what you do, love what you do, find inspiration from the things you love about life.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
Photography was a really big must for my shop, the more stamps I made the more I wanted to show them off. But, I had no photography skills and no money to pay someone else at the time. I slowly learned to use the right window in my house to get the right lighting and three big sturdy pieces of white card. As I made more money I reinvested in better tools and a camera. I now use my iPhone and a white concrete desk that I made and polished myself. I still have a lot to learn.
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 get inspired by nature, trees, plants, and flowers mostly. We’re surrounded by social media input all the time, so I find it helpful to put it down and get out into the wild for seasonal inspiration. I always carry a pencil and paper for doodling. I now transfer my drawing to my iPad and I use the Procreate app, it’s so fun to use.
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?
I wrap everything in completely compostable packaging, I use my local post box or cycle to the main post office if I have a special delivery. I try to make the stamps as quickly and as perfect as I can. I get everything out as quickly as I can and always hope all my stamps make it to their new home safe and sound. It’s a worry handing over my lovingly handmade stamps to the postal service. Although I’ve got to say, of the hundreds of packages sent out during the COVID pandemic they’ve done so well. We only had to replace one parcel, isn’t that tremendous! Well done Royal Mail.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Don’t give up, if it seems hard at first it’s just because you’re not being seen yet. Believe in your products. Think of every way you can get your business out there and visible. Take great photos, always be kind to potential and current customers, find your online peers, and get chatting, someone will always inspire you. Be gentle with yourself and don’t forget that what you’re doing is awesome. Always remind yourself why you’re doing this, take notes and learn what drives And inspires you.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
When I started being able to buy the weekly groceries it made me so happy. That’s really what I wanted, to turn this into a job and my gardening as a hobby. It then turned into money, freedom, influencing others, expression, joy, and success.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I always start by printing off the orders, I start packing and making a list of what needs to be made. I always make a batch, never just one stamp, this makes packing simpler and more productive. Lucy manages the admin side whilst I make, this is great because I can just get on. Lucy will always let me know when design work comes in so I know ahead of time what’s waiting to be done. We only work during school hours so we start getting the post ready around 2 pm.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I currently do not have plans to get bigger, I’m very happy.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
After about a year of growing pretty slowly, I had my shop curated and it was the best payment I ever made. This is when I learned that consistency, clarity, and great photos were key. Don’t over complicate your shop, make it simple and fun to shop in.
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I love Etsy so much.