What was the business
Rocket + Fairydust – personalised paintings and painted furniture for children
How long did you run it for
It limped along for 5 years 2008 – 2013
What do you think went wrong
I started this business slap bang in the middle of the recession and I was selling items that people wanted but didn’t need – my products were never a necessity. A lot of my work was through word of mouth or repeat customers so I knew I was hitting the right price point, and creating a lovely product – but I spent absolutely no time planning for the future or promoting my business. In 2011 I decided to rent a workshop but somehow I ended up renting a shop and it all went downhill from there very quickly! I wanted to be painting out the back in the workshop, but I had to be in the shop being nice to customers. But if I wasn’t producing stock in the workshop there was nothing to sell, I couldn’t afford to employ anyone to work in the shop because I wasn’t selling enough – it was a ridiculous situation. It was a vicious circle and I couldn’t figure out how to rescue it so I had to cut my losses and walk away.
What did you learn from it.
I learnt that I need to try harder with the things that don’t come naturally to me – like promotion, selling and looking after the pennies. A business won’t look after itself no matter how brilliant the idea is. It takes a lot of graft and planning – plus onward momentum to maintain interest in your work. I also learned that people think I’m very brave, although I think I’m impulsive and naive rather than brave!
You can read about my successful business, Kirsten Wood Artist here
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