This is why started A Handcrafted Business, which explains why I am so passionate and fired up about making sure you achieve what you want from your business.
I finished college qualified as a photographer – this was back in the days of film and chemicals and darkrooms. I was lucky enough to get the first photography job I applied for – I first worked in a studio in the centre of Birmingham, and the following year moved to my local newspaper. I also ran my own business on the side (legally) doing weddings, PR work and anything else I could, as well as teaching Photography Adult Education courses at the local college where I had been taught. I was a busy girl!
After a few years I was offered a job in sales on the spot after taking some photographs. It doubled my income.
I was going through a period of doubting my own abilities. Mainly because another photographer was shouting about his.
So I gave up my photography career because I let doubts and lack of self confidence get the better of me. I was in my early twenties, but I had a suspicious mind and dismissed all compliments out of hand. Not surprising as I was the girl who when I was 17 I took my Grade 8 Clarinet exam, at the end the examiner said ‘I really hope to hear you again’ and something about a recital. My thought were ‘sarcastic so and so’ I was convinced I had I failed.’ I received the highest mark of the day which earned me a distinction. I still didn’t believe it!
I hated the sales job. Cold calling was part of it.
My eyesight deteriorated when I stopped taking photos. (This was pre screens on cameras) I went from only needing glasses occasionally to needing them all the while. I regreted giving up my photography career but now I didn’t even have the confidence to go back.
Then I was lucky enough to find a marketing job. Wow! I loved it! I love having a tangible piece of work I have created, I love being able to use my imagination, and research and get to know my customers. I was in my element! Even better my company paid for me to become Chartered Institute Of Marketing qualified.
Everything went really well. Then I had some major personal issues at home, which made me change my priorities. I could be working all the time. I needed more flexibility so I took my craft skill and decided to start my own business. My full time business – I quit my job and started! Scary times!
My business was personalized stationery – mainly weddings and funerals. It came about after rave reviews of my own handmade wedding stationery – normal story!
I loved marketing and had great success and many happy customers. All was wonderful. I had the doubts over my own standards of work everyone gets, but knew my customers were over the moon, recommending friends… so got over that. Then I realized I was loving the marketing far more than the making.
This coincided with having my children. I wanted to enjoy my children – and two with an 18 month age gap, when neither sleep through the night is damn hard work! So I made the decision to close my business.
As they got bigger – my itchy feet meant I needed to do something. But what? I didn’t want to start my stationery again – my heart wasn’t in it.
After tinkering with a few ideas I had a light bulb moment.
I love crafts, I love marketing. I know what it is like to run your own craft business. I had been running my own online blog.
I decided to open an online marketplace selling crafts.
I do what I am good at – the marketing and my customers do what they are good at – the making.
I created the website myself. Then realised that all the ladies involved needed far more than I was offering and could offer. They needed help with product descriptions – not getting caught for duplicate content, they needed photography advice, they needed marketing advice and help. I couldn’t help and run the website.
A bigger and brighter light bulb moment – I could teach!!
I could share my knowledge, and whilst helping others build my own business.
A Handcrafted Business was born.
So this is why I do what I do. And why I love what I do.
Some ladies and gents do need a helping hand to be able to make the most of their precious gifts and talents, that they love and want to use to build a business.
I don’t promise to get overnight results.
I do promise hard work is required.
I do offer support, I provide real advice, tips, and of course motivation and confidence boosts.
I am here to enable more wonderful and talented peeps to be able to make a success of their business, to be able to step back and know that they have achieved what they wanted with their craft. At no point would I say that a crafter has to be a marketing guru – far from! But you do need to get the marketing right in order to succeed.
Sorry it was such a long short story but the short version just saying what my craft business was doesn’t explain it fully.