This is Jean’s story of running her business around children with additional needs.
Tell us a bit about your family?
I have three children that all live at home, Hannah 28 who has arthritis, Kieran who is 24 and has ADHD, and Abbie 17 with Autism.
What’s your business called?
It started off as Girls Love Everything and I changed what I did and rebranded to Fairy Elephant Designs
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Personalised lovliness to make any occasion special.
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I started 6 years ago when my last child started senior school, I was looking to return to work and had always been involved in ptas etc and when I saw the jobs around and wages and I thought I would be better off starting my own business (which was selling shabby chic homeware, making scrabble art and scented melts)
How did you fund your start up?
With my own savings
How do you manage Running a business around children with additional needs?
I needed to work around the children and hospital appointments etc so I planned events in the evening, but nine times out of ten the girls would come with me, I networked etc when they were at school and work.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I always like to have my housework done and be dressed and ready to start work which is normally around 9ish, I complete all ebay orders, then work onto facebook and local orders, I try and design one new idea each week but sometimes this is not possible especially at Christmas, I stop work around 4ish as I have to catch post office, I answer emails and try to promote page in the evenings, and share items etc
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The main challenges have been changing what I do as more people have started making and selling the same thing, also I was stopped making the scrabble art pictures by Mattell as they said I did not have their permission to use the tiles in this way (I think at the time they had just licensed a company to do it and she complained as we were very successful). I always use to make my own tags for my own items so just expanded on that to make cards etc, most of it self-taught as I have gone along.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
I get to work when I want, don’t have to get up early, can change the day to suit appointments etc, I earn a better wage than going out to work. I love what I do.
What are your plans for the future?
To add more to the range, move to a bigger office so I can have more gizmos etc to make more items.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Research what you want to sell/make, make sure yours is different, make sure you are not breaching copy right or copying other people’s ideas, don’t give up, don’t rely on facebook to promote you.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Be adaptable to change, don’t get upset by some peoples comments on your items, believe in yourself and your prices