What’s your business called?
Into The Woolderness
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I produce needle-felted wool artwork, home décor and accessories.
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I started felting around 2 years ago after seeing some felted flowers and bags in Hungary, where my family originate from. I have a creative background but since having my children my previous career teaching stop frame animation came to a natural end, and I had been looking for another artistic endeavour that might also become a new career.
How did you find your start up?
Although I did intend to eventually sell my artwork I initially spent around 6 months learning from online tutorials, experimenting and testing the market to see what products people were interested in. This was an exciting time, the challenges came later! Just as I started selling I had my second child which meant I had to wait to develop my business further.
How do you manage working around your children?
My eldest child is now at school and my youngest is 1, I have some childcare help from my mother and partner but generally I work in evenings and weekends. I update my social media at convenient moments throughout the day.
Can you describe a typical day?
During the week I spend the day balancing housework and childcare, after the children are in bed I can finally do some felting. On the weekend I tend to use Saturday as a ‘normal’ work day so I try and get to my studio for 10 and stay until 6 (with a couple of breastfeeding breaks in the local car park when my partner brings our little one) I respond to orders as and when they come in, however I’m now realising it would be good to have a dedicated time when I ‘clock off’ as being self-employed can be all consuming!
What have you found hardest?
Balancing running a business with finding the head space and time to be fully present for the family. I could be on a family outing and if I receive an order it’s hard not to respond and want to start work on it right away. Also managing my business finances is tricky. I’m also finding it hard to hold back from rapid growth (saying yes to every opportunity/order) My youngest isn’t in playgroup yet so I only have limited hours I can dedicate to my business for now.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
I am obsessed with felting and feel very happy being creative and making money from that, also after 38 years I have finally found my vocation. In my previous career I was also self employed so I’ve always been able to pick and choose projects which is brilliant.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to have exhibitions possibly internationally and set up my own website and to be commissioned for major artworks rather than relying on the craft side of my business. I would eventually like to run an arts coffeeshop with workshops and with a working studio attached.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Plan for the first year to be about learning and development rather than expecting to be (financially) successful, let any set backs or criticism motivate you to improve and develop rather than simply get you down. I’ve had products that were very popular on social media but haven’t sold, I’ve also had simple products that were very popular, and experimented with techniques that I knew were not right for me or my business. Also it’s important to innovate if one strategy or item hasn’t worked and to have a future plan for your business broken down into ‘bite size’ goals.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Good luck! And don’t be too precious about your ideas, however unique you think they are. If you share your ideas you can learn from others, gain feedback and advice. Don’t worry as much about being original but produce high quality work and be professional in whatever you do.
on Instagram : IntoTheWoolderness
on twitter : @woolderness
And I have just set up a twitter account @artybiztips Offering daily tips for anyone running an art/crafts business.