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[101] In The Fire of Transformation with Claire Anderson

 

 

Businesses don’t grow via a nice smooth curve.

In fact, businesses often go through periods of massive upheaval in the process of evolving. My guest this week is in the midst of one such transformation.

Claire and her fiance Steven own a glass blowing company in Canada. They spent some time travelling and working in studios together around the country: and then decided it was time to settle down and start their own.

They chose Niagara Falls as a place to call home and started working hard to get the studio off the ground. Together they create functional and artistic wares through traditional glass blowing techniques, and they have dreams to not only grow their glass business, but also become a hub of the creative community in NF – helping other artists to grow and evolve, too.

In this Episode I chat with Claire about the transformation of her business and what the future holds for this dedicated and hardworking couple.

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Claire and Steven set up a crowd funding campaign to help fund the studio as there is so much equipment and permits involved.
  • A huge challenge for Claire and her partner was the process of setting up the studio (not an easy thing with their craft!) and the roller coaster of emotions that went with it.
  • Their glassware has been selling like crazy and they feel they have found their niche in a certain style ‘The Canadian Ice Glass’
  • They both have different strengths within the business and work with this.
  • There have been some huge life adjustments to manage the studio and still find time to do the things they enjoy.
  • Luckily, they both have the ability to care for each other through stressful times.
  • Claire admits they do have a plan and are ready to settle where they are even with the challenges they face in the creative industries in Canada.
  • ‘Finding the right product is the best thing you can do’ {Jess}
  • They have been focusing on wholesale and shows but are hoping for a retail season in the future.
  • ‘Make your bread and butter something you are very confident in and are very proud of’ {Claire}
  • Claire has found that it is so very important to always be confident about your pricing.
  • You can find Claire and her partner Steven at Studio Vine, Woodruff Glass and on Instagram.

 

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(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[100] 10 Truths About Running a Handmade Business

 

Welcome to Episode 100 of the Create & Thrive Podcast!

And it’s double celebrations, because it’s not only the 100th episode, but also the 2nd birthday of the podcast this week.

*throws confetti*

To celebrate the 100th episode, I decided to look back over the last 2 years of episodes, as well as ruminate on my (almost) 9 years running my own handmade business.

To wit, I have recorded what my best friend would call a ‘real talk’ episode – where I lay down 10 (sometimes hard) truths about running a handmade business.

In short:

Is it hard work? Yes.

Is it worth it? Heck yes!

I hope you find this episode heartening and grounding. It’s been a joy to produce this podcast for you over the last 2 years, and I look forward to bringing you a new episode each week into the future!

Almost 9,000 people listened to the show in March (2017), with over 13,000 downloads – which, compared to previous months, shows me that more and more of you are discovering the podcast and enjoying what I have to share with you.

So – thank YOU for being here, and I hope you continue to enjoy every episode I bring your way!

Jess x

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • 1. Everything will take longer than you think it will
  • Website, photos, social media posts, growth of your biz – absolutely everything!
  • Give yourself twice as much time as you think each task will take.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 30 – 5 Time Management Hacks You Should Try Today.
  • 2. You can’t compete on price – so find something else that makes you stand out
  • ‘If you are competing on price you are treating yourself like a commodity’ {Jess}
  • You need to make people fall in love with what you do.
  • You need to find your unique selling point to make you stand out from the crowd.
  • ‘Not competing on price but because what you make is so special that nobody else does it: that’s when you will find success’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 53 – Why You Need to Find Your Micro Niche.
  • 3. You WILL have unhappy customers
  • It will happen at some point along your way so you must be prepared.
  • If you have done your best, it is probably not your fault but you need to be equipped to handle it with grace.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 3 – How to Provide Outstanding Online Customer Service and Episode 82 – How to Deal with Unhappy Customers.
  • 4. There will be days/weeks when you fall out of love with your biz/lose your passion
  • Don’t panic – this is normal and happens to most of us.
  • Accept the creative cycle and learn to work with the ups and downs.
  • ‘Take the time to recharge yourself and re-energise’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 81 – How to Overcome Creative Block with Christina Lowry and Episode 99 – Making Friends with the Tyranny of Never Being Finished.
  • 5. No less than 50% of your time will be spend on non-making tasks
  • This will be especially apparent in the beginning stages of your business.
  • You need to invest so much time into all of the business tasks to create your business.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 62 – Making the Transition from Hobbyist to Business Owner.
  • 6. There is a wall that you will hit – and you have to decide if you’re happy to stay inside it, or break out to grow. If you don’t want to grow, that’s okay, too!
  • There will come a point where you will hit a wall where you cannot do any more than you already are.
  • You have to decide if you are happy to stay inside the wall or break it down and grow outside of it.
  • You can always bring help into the business or outsource tasks.
  • ‘You don’t always have to grow’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 97 – How to Expand Your Business with Poppy Treffry.
  • 7. You can’t do it alone
  • Even if you are a one person show you still need others for help and advice.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out guidance or ask for help when you need it.
  • Find your community and it will be a huge help both practically and emotionally.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 77 – How to Run an Effective Business Partnership with Nicole and Delilah from Dear Handmade Life.
  • 8. Working for yourself is better (and more secure!) than working for someone else
  • When you work for yourself you have so much more control and security than you do when you are at the mercy of a boss and a job.
  • If you can figure it all out – and it can be so awesome and empowering working for yourself.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 63 – What’s Your Definition of Success?
  • 9. You will doubt yourself, be scared, and wonder if it’s worth it (spoiler, so does everyone else!)
  • ‘It is perfectly normal to feel self doubt, to feel fear, to have these moments of existential crisis’ {Jess}
  • Don’t ever let self doubt and fear stop you.
  • Always remember, what is the worst that could happen?
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 31 – Kirsten Devitt on Creativity and Confidence and Episode 58 – Why Perfection is a Dangerous Illusion.
  • 10. There is no right way to anything – only your way
  • ‘I believe in evidence and autonomy’ {Jess}
  • Listen to advice, but remember it’s just that – advice based on one person’s experience. Trust your own experience. Do what works for you and your biz.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 46 – The Power of Being True to You in Business with Jill from For Strange Women.

 

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(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[99] Making Friends with the Tyranny of Never Being Finished

 

Do you ever get frustrated, stressed, and simply wish that you could be done with your work? Do you feel exhausted at the thought that all those jobs you ticked off the to-do list will still be there to do again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next?

This, my friends, is an experience that I call ‘the tyranny of never being finished’ – and it’s time to recognise that so long as you have a business, it’s never going to go away.

If you are running your own business you will know this feeling all too well: especially if you are in the beginning stages of your biz. There is just ALWAYS something more you feel you ‘should’ be doing, or that you could be doing. You feel overwhelmed, frazzled, and sometimes it just all seems too much.

Also – your work can start to feel mundane and repetitive, which slowly saps the joy you feel about your business.

Frankly? The only way to fix it is to face it head on. You need to recognise it… and not only that: you also need to learn to make friends with it.

In this episode I discuss the tactics I have used over the years to turn ‘never being finished’ from a burden into a joy (most of the time!).

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • There is ALWAYS something more you could be doing.
  • The could be doings are endless: research, learning more, blog posts, social media, networking etc.
  • It is so easy to become overwhelmed with the repetitive nature of running a business.
  • You need to accept that you will never finish and there will always be things you could be doing.
  • Sometimes you have to decide that you have done your best for the day and let it go.
  • There are always things that will get in the way of you doing your best.
  • Stay focused especially in the growth stages of your business.
  • Remember that you can’t do the impossible so you must focus on what IS possible.
  • Identify the feeling of never being finished and make friends with it!
  • The positive side of never being finished is that each day brings potential fro growth and there will always be something new and exciting around the corner.

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[98] The Power of Putting Yourself Out There with Stacie Bloomfield of Gingiber

 

The thought of actively pitching yourself and your handmade business to the big wide world can be downright terrifying – but it is so vital to the growth of your business.

In this episode I chat with the super-inspiring Stacie Bloomfield, the woman behind the successful indie brand gingiber – a stationery and homewares business built upon her own illustrations.

Stacie and I have known each other online for a few years – in fact, she was one of the team of regular contributors here on C&T when it first started in 2013!

Stacie is full of passion and drive, and has built a successful business that has multiple facets: an online store and Etsy shop with over 13,000 sales; collaborations with Moda Fabric and The Land of Nod; and, her creations are stocked in over 300 stores around the US.

She discusses the growth of her business, how she and her husband manage their respective careers while also raising three small children, and how putting herself out there (even when it’s scary!) has contributed hugely to her current success, and how she is confident that it is going to help her business grow in the future.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Over the years of running gingiber Stacie has learnt that she really needs to put herself out there and pitch herself.
  • Stacie now has a few employees but she still does all of the artwork and runs most of the day to day business tasks.
  • The business has certainly had it’s ups and downs in the 8 years it has been running.
  • Being a mum has been a challenge learning to juggle both a family (3 kids) and a small biz!
  • Stacie attempted to open a retail store when the building was sold from under her which brought it to a sudden halt only 6 months in.
  • It was hard for Stacie to not be discouraged by the challenges she faced but she knew she had to shake it off and move on.
  • Stacie designs for Land of Nod and has been for a few years which has been a great achievement for her.
  • She also designs for Moda Fabrics which is now starting to pay off.
  • Stacie admits she doesn’t get a lot of spare time but loves spending time with her kids.
  • Instagram has been a wonderful way for Stacie to be part of a community, to build relationships with customers and a great way to stay present.
  • ‘You can never stop marketing yourself and that’s the hard part’ {Stacie}
  • There is still plenty of hard work to be done despite the success of gingiber.
  • Stacie has big plans for the future of ginigber and is focusing on making sure she has the skills needed to get there.
  • One of her biggest inspirations is Emily McDowell who has paved a new way forward for creatives.
  • ‘The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’ {Eleanor Roosevelt}
  • You can find gingiber online or on Instagram.

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

 

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[97] How To Expand Your Business with Poppy Treffry

 

Most of us have no idea where our business will take us or where it can take us. Will it grow? Do you want it to grow?

Do you have visions of your business expanding beyond just you? Maybe you want to be the next Dinosaur Designs, Jonathan Adler… or Poppy Treffry?

In this episode I chat with Poppy Treffry, who runs a very successful creative business that has shown impressive growth since she began. Poppy is from Cornwall, England, and currently runs her own textile business, which has grown to the point where she now has 2 retail stores, and 15 staff. All her work is still handmade locally, and designed by Poppy.

Poppy shares the how’s, the why’s, the challenges she has had to face, and the experiences she has encountered along the way.

If you ever plan on expanding your business – or, if you’re on the fence about the idea of having employees – don’t miss this interview!

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

 

  • Poppy’s little business evolved naturally and she made sure she took every opportunity available to her.
  • Her first staff member started with her within her first year of business when wholesale orders started rolling in.
  • Poppy decided to open her own retail store when she was pregnant with her daughter but it was a couple of years later that it became a reality.
  • Poppy now has two retail stores – both in seaside towns. Bliss!
  • Poppy hired her sister as help with marketing quite early on.
  • The next pair of hands needed were for packing and shipping orders.
  • There are now four people working for Poppy as makers.
  • There are now 15 members including shop staff, workshop hands and sales staff.
  • Poppy now has the title of ‘Design and Direction‘ within the business.
  • Managing the peaks and troughs are one of the biggest challenges she faces as a small business.
  • ‘Having enough time to be good enough, to be creating something new, something good and something that’s going to keep you ahead of the game is a challenge.’ {Poppy}
  • Selling to large retail stores and featuring in print have been great highlights fir the biz.
  • Social media and email newsletters have been vital for the business and a great way of keeping in touch with loyal customers.
  • You can find Poppy Treffry online here.

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

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