Sarah Cameron set up Kinloss based MIY Crafts, a monthly craft box subscription business, last year. Here, she shares with us the story behind her business.
Why choose to go into business for yourself and when did you start your current business? A few different factors influenced my decision but flexibility played a huge part. As a single mother to young children, the reality of childcare costs and the lack of jobs in my immediate area that I was suited for, meant I had to think of alternative career ideas. I soon realised that the best option and the one that would allow me flexibility and job fulfilment would be setting up my own business. That way I could work from home and could work whenever I could rather than the standard 9-5. So in November last year I set up MIY Crafts.
Why did you choose your current business? I’ve always been interested in making and crafting so doing something related to this felt like the natural move. I wanted to encourage others to have a go and Make It Yourself, regardless of experience or skill. To make something from scratch is extremely satisfying and I know it’s something that more people would like to get involved in. I felt that a monthly subscription box where I handpick all the items and post suggestions and tutorials to go with each month’s goodies on my blog would get people interested in learning more about crafts.
Who has helped you get started and develop your business? When I was first looking at starting my own business, I contacted the Business Gateway office in Elgin where I started working with Lorna Williamson. Her support and advice was essential as it allowed me to find out exactly what was involved in setting up a business and what direction I should go in. She also put me in touch with The Princes Trust, who offered help and funding.
What achievement are you most proud of? The thing I’m proud of most is launching MIY Crafts. It took a lot of time, research, effort and hard work to get to the stage where I could officially start trading.
What was your biggest mistake? I think my biggest mistake was not doing enough in-depth target market research. I did some right at the beginning, but I didn’t appreciate how much you need to know. It’s important to really dig in and learn as much as you can so you know exactly who you are pitching your product at.
What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Getting the word out there as it takes a while to grow a solid customer base. As finances are not in abundance right at the start due to other costs, it can be hard to advertise and market a business. Thankfully, social media is brilliant and I use Facebook and Instagram to get my name out there.
What would help your business? People shopping with small businesses more. Shopping local and handmade where possible helps to keep small ventures like mine going, but often the mind-set is that it takes too much time and effort when compared to a big brand name or store. However, that’s not the case at all and more often than not when you deal with a small business you’re getting something different, interesting and ethically made.
What do you still want to achieve for your business? I have lots of goals for MIY Crafts, but for now I just want to continue to grow the business and get more and more people crafting.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in Moray? Contact Business Gateway, as the advisers have so much knowledge about business start-ups and how to grow. They offer fantastic free workshops where you can learn important skills that you will use every day as a business owner. Also, do as much market research as you can; knowing your customer and competitor will set you up well to succeed.
Find out how Business Gateway ~Highland can help your business by visiting their local page or calling 01463 898 466.
Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.
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