Why I started my own business (and why you should too!)
How are you all doing? Is 2021 treating you well. Are you keeping up your spirits?
Today I'm going to tell you a little bit more about myself and how Jolliepop Creations came about.
All About Me!
My name is Gemma, I am a married Mother of 2 boys and I live in Evesham, Worcestershire in the UK.
In February 2020, I gave birth to my second son and a few weeks later the UK went into it's first ever lockdown and my elder son was unable to go to school.
Helping to make PPE
In April 2020, I started hearing stories about the shortage of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) in the UK. I heard about small communities of crafters who were making scrubs out of both new fabric and old duvet covers.
Several years ago, my Mum bought me a Janome sewing machine. I made a few small projects on it but never really was confident in using it. The simplest project would take me hours and so I rarely used it. The machine was gathering dust and I felt slightly guilty that I had the equipment sat in a cupboard not doing anything, but I wanted to help and I felt motivated to try and start with the buttoned headbands that the nhs staff were attaching their masks too to protect their ears from the elastic.
I joined a local For the love of Scrubs group, spoke to the Evesham co-ordinator and then set to work following a simple pattern for the headbands and became more and more confident as I went, increasing both my knowledge of sewing and my confidence. I would sew after homeschooling for the day was done or I would work in the evening when the boys were in bed.
The need for scrubs was high so spurred on by my local FTLOS Co-ordinator, I decided to use a very old duvet and having watched a lot of video tutorials on youtube and speaking to people in the group I had my first attempt. I had managed it and quite enjoyed it.
In total I made 10 full sets of scrubs plus a further 2 scrub tops. Making scrubs had motivated me though and I started doing more and more sewing but I wanted to personalise my items - buying an embroidery machine was not an option for me but I saw you could buy digital cutting machines that cut iron on vinyl.
Starting my own business
I started watching videos on youtube of these machines and became fascinated. I had always wanted to set up my own handmade craft business on etsy but had never known what to make or how to get started.
I decided to spend a small inheritance on a Cricut Maker and then see what I could make. I came up with a few initial products and decided to start on Etsy. I came up with the name Jolliepop Creations (I'll let you know in a future post the reason behind the name) and I jumped straight in, setting up my own shop. I initially wanted to sell sensory fabric activity blankets for children but CE regulations and the possibility of changes under brexit made me decide to delay this and instead I started with personalised baby clothes.
6 weeks later I made my first sale, I was so happy, 2 weeks later I got my second and since then my sales have been fairly consistent.
Unfortunately the market for personalised baby clothes is very competitive and I did not sell much, I soon realised that this market wasn't for me and I started looking at other niches, but I'll talk more about that in a future post.
I'm still learning, I still make mistakes but I know so much more than I did before I only wish I'd started sooner.
Check out my Etsy Store here
Thinking of starting your own business?
Do it! No really - if I can do it you can do it too. But be prepared, not everyone gets overnight success, not all of us get 6 figure sums each month. Setting up a business is a marathon and not a sprint. You have to work at it but the sense of satisfaction and the high you get when a product you have created sells and sells well is worth all the stress, the long hours and days. You will make mistakes and you will learn from them.
Over the next year I am hoping to get to a point where I can make enough income to quit my part time job - I'm going to blog about it here - why not follow me and lets support each other and every mistake I make I promise to share here.
Thinking of opening your own Etsy Store? - use this link and get 30 free listings!
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