Now for my second interview with crafty women in business we meet Michelle from Poppy, Bean and Bloss. If you haven't stopped by Michelle's store yet it's about time you did, she has a gorgeous variety of waldorf dolls and toys as well as sock monkeys and covered notebooks. I'm particularly fond of the outfits she makes for her dolls.
* What prompted you to start your business/how long have you been in business?
I launched my online store (http://www.poppybeanandbloss.com.au) in February 2008 but had probably spent 12 months before that working on designs and having toys tested for compliance with Australian Safety Standards. I started with sock monkeys (having made my first one as a present for my niece) and then I made my first doll, and haven't looked back since. I really love making the dolls and seeing each one come alive. I still love the monkeys, but waldorf dolls are my passion now.
*What do you feel are the keys to a successful business?
I think the keys to a successful business are having a clear idea of what you want to achieve, drive, determination and lots of hard work. Running a business from home around a family also needs careful planning so family commitments don't suffer.
* What advice can you give other crafty women wanting to start their own business?
Pricing is one of the hardest things - as well as covering material costs, you need to allow for your time and it is really hard to set a price that will allow you to really be compensated for your time.
Originality of design is another important factor. If you are going to be selling products made from someone else's pattern make sure you have permission to use the pattern and credit the original designer. There are plenty of places to find inspiration, but whatever you are making to sell should reflect you as a craftsperson. For example, both my dolls and sock monkeys are traditional toys that have been around for a long time. I did however come up with my own patterns for the toys I make to sell, and I believe that I have added my own influence and style to these traditional toys.
You also need to consider the time that running a business takes up. You may well love crafting but you need to be prepared for all the administration in running an online store. Craft markets can be great, but will eat into your family time on the weekends too.
Having said that, don't be afraid to give it a go. There are a lot of great places you can start to sell your product - madeit, etsy, and a lot of malls like the Crafty mamas Congo, Ozebaby and OzHandmade to name a few.
* Many people say "do what you love and the rest will fall into place". Do you think this is true?
Sort of - I think that if you love what you are doing, it is easier to do the hard work to make a success of it.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your insights with us!
If you have a crafty (or craft related) business and would like to be featured here please contact me.