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Selling Reusable Eco Products with A Fine Choice Ltd

What’s your business called?

A fine choice ltd and a fine choice photography

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I started off with setting up an online shop for reusable eco products,
needed product images and became a photographer 4 years after setting up my
initial business.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

2010, when my youngest was a year I started watching out for ideas. I wanted
to do something that worked around my three young kids (they were 1, 3, 4
when I started) and also something I am passionate about. I always liked
toxin free products but couldn’t always find them in the UK which got me
thinking I should import products which I can’t get here.

How did you find your start up?

Well, I had to buy 5500 stainless steel bottles upfront. It was a huge
investment and took a lot of consideration and research. I did lots of
project management before I had kids so writing a business plan was straight
forward. I am also a positive person. At no point I had any doubts once the
calculation and research bit was done.

How do you manage working around your children?

I love it! I love working when they are in school and I love not working
when they are at home or on holidays. The only thing they used to complain
about was going to the post office when they were on holidays. I had to drop
off my orders. I said to them: would you prefer me having a full time job
and you going to a holiday camp? So spending 10 mins at the post office
before doing a day out was their accepted choice.

Can you describe a typical day?

I never call my work “work” as I am passionate about both business. I do
what I feel is right in that particular moment. I love editing images after
I had a photo shooting. It’s great to give people some memories and get some
lovely feedback on the images they like most. I also love doing some SEO and
realising (after a while) it has helped with my ranking for my eco products.
On a typical day I do a bit of everything, I love variety and could never do
a job where I had to do the same stuff all day long.

What have you found hardest?

Over the last 5 years I found out that direct selling is really not in my
nature. I love having an online shop where people can have a browse and
order if they are interested. It means I don’t have to call them and
convince them of the benefit of BPA free products and the benefit for the
environment. Initially I did a lot of b2b and called up companies to see if
they wanted to stock my products. I hated it and still hate it. I got an
agent to do my job and switched my business to mainly retail instead of
wholesale so now I don’t need to do any cold calling anymore.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Flexibility, happy people, doing something for the environment, your own
income, working around kids and showing them by doing so that you can do a
lot if you really want to.

What are your plans for the future?

I think everything falls in place by itself. Not sure what the future brings
but I would probably try to add more products to my current product range
and for my other business extend the portfolio into wedding photography
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Trust yourself. You can do it but only do things you really like. Don’t
spend too much money on advertising. And yes, it will take a while to set
up a business properly so hold on and don’t give up easily.
Maybe find a nice networking group (there are free ones out there) do bounce
off ideas.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I absolutely love being self-employed. I can’t even imagine going back to a
9-2-5 job in an office. Working together with people I choose has many
positive benefits. That’s it for now

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