Blog > 6 Small Business Success Stories
Posted By Create
Are you laying in bed at night, thinking about that new idea and mapping out your future business plans, product launches and eventual world domination? Turn your dream into reality with the inspiration of real entrepreneurs! Read about these 6 successful female business owners who share their stories and top tips on starting out and becoming your own boss.
Starting a business close to her heart, founder of Susannah Cotton, who make and sell beautiful robes, Susannah took a leap a faith with her designs and explains her exciting journey when first starting out.
I essentially took a 'leap into the unknown' and flew off to India with my partner (and a credit card). We had never been there before and had no contacts at all - the whole thing could have been a complete disaster! It wasn't easy, and at first we struggled to find someone able or willing to create my own patterns... Until we ran into someone who was simply passing us on the street - they agreed to make cotton goods to my own specific instructions.
Overall, I would say that you have to be quite brave initially, or else nothing will ever happen! If you find yourself changing course dramatically away from your original idea, it may lead you into an area that becomes uncomfortable for you and the business could fail as a result. So stick with it. I was so proud when we first received the goods from India, they looked every bit as beautiful as I had envisaged.
Susannah is now selling internationally through her website and has been featured in The Sunday Telegraph!
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mrs L cards
In 2012, Carol, the talented designer behind mrs L cards, took the leap to self employment and used her expertise to launch her own business. Over 25,000 (!!) orders later, She explains how it has definitely all been worth it.
mrs L cards initially began as a hobby whilst I was working full time as a graphic designer. I was made redundant twice - the first time I wanted to make a go of mrs L cards but was perhaps too scared, I took the second redundancy as a sign to go for it.
The fact that mrs L cards is my full time job is my biggest high. I have taken over 25,000 orders since beginning and that fills me with pride. While Winter isn't my favourite time of year, working from 6am in the dark till 11pm is the dark is hard - each year I feel I learn something new and discover something else to make this busy time a little bit easier!
Whilst working in full time employment, Carol saved up a little money which she used as her ‘back up’ for quiet times. Her top tip would be to try save where possible too. “...this gave me breathing space and enabled me to work on my company without worrying too much about income. I would totally recommend this if at all possible.”
Be Unique Kids
Business owner Elena's motivation to found Be Unique Kids came from her love of fashion. After finding out she was going to be a mum herself, she started up this thriving clothing company and has not looked back.
I have always loved fashion, especially for kids. I was so excited to get my little girl's clothes, but I soon realised I would not be able to find the Scandinavian style clothes I was looking for in the High Street.
I was talking to a friend over a coffee and I shared my ideas with her. She thought it was a fantastic project and as soon as I got home I began to research clothing brands in Northern Europe and made a selection of my favourite ones. I searched how to have my own website and never imagined I would be able to create a website myself! This is when I found Create and decided to design my own. I got the important 'boring stuff’ sorted, like finding out all the legalities to being self-employed and having a VAT No. etc. I also had a budget and a business plan to draw.
I feel really proud when other mums and dads give me great feedback on my choice of garments and brands, and when they publish photos of their children wearing them on Instagram and other social media. My main advice, amongst many would be to remain passionate about what you do. It takes a long time to see the result of your hard work. Use the support available to you to improve your website and your business. No matter how silly the question you may think it is, Create are there to help you.
The White Approach
Karen, who runs The White Approach started off selling designer baby and little boys clothes after she had twins. She then fell in love with vintage and ‘up-cycling’ and branched out into furniture and homewares.
When the first order 'pings' in the inbox is a real high, there really is nothing like that feeling when you know somebody loves your website and products and trusts you enough to part with their money. It's hard work, I'm not denying that. You have to work hard to get your website seen by people and that can be disheartening at times. There is a lot of choice out there these days but it makes it all the more satisfying when people choose to buy from me, especially the products we have made ourselves.
Karen also makes the most of all the free social media platforms available, “...there is a wealth of free marketing and advertising in social media, make sure you post every day and above all engage with your followers. Building up a loyal base of shoppers is essential to repeat business. Make the most of all the free social media platforms to support and drive traffic to your website."
Lisa wanted to use her artistic skills and have a more flexible working life to fit in around her family. Keeping a part time job for security, she started her business, Polkadot, on a small scale back in 2001 and it's growing every day.
I started off selling at local events, markets and then secured a few shops who bought wholesale from me, and it started to snowball from there!
I opened my first ‘bricks & mortar’ shop in 2006 which I ran for 4 years. I had a studio at the rear and made everything in the shop myself (as I still do). I really enjoyed the shop while I had it, but overheads were getting more expensive, my lease was coming up for renewal and so I made the decision to move online. For the last year of the shops lease I built up a sound social media following so I was fairly confident I would be able to transfer from face to face retail to online retail without too much trouble.
My top tip would definitely be work out who your target market is, and as the business is now internet based, I try to promote it as much as possible to remind my target customer about me.
Lisa knows which type of promotion works for her and now trades at The Country Living Fair each year and had an 8 page feature in Country Homes & Interiors magazine, Christmas 2015. In fact, orders are still coming in based on that one article!
Paper Lily Crafts
Sam spent her childhood in a creative environment. After working in retail she launched Paper Lily Crafts, combining her passion for customer service and artisitc talents, specialising in die cut cards and handmade baby boxes.
When working in retail, I loved doing displays and dressing mannequins, anything I could do to realise my creativeness I would do. After receiving a handmade birthday card, I thought it would be a good thing to start doing and went to my local craft store and started making. When I then created my website, pressing that publish button was definitely a huge high, and knowing I had done it all myself still gives me a huge thrill!
With die cutters becoming more and more affordable there was less demand for my items and searching for something else and was a low point at the time. Then, by chance my friend asked me to make her two baby memory boxes, she put them on facebook and in came the orders! This was actually a year ago today and since then I have sold nearly 500 boxes.
Having your own business definitely isn't easy but I really do think that anyone starting should just go for it as you never know where it will take you. I think my one biggest thing that has contributed to my success is my focus on high quality service. This has always been my highest priority and, to me, without my customers I wouldn't be where I am now - I believe it will keep me going in the future.
Share your story
These six women followed their passions, begun succesful businesses and continue to inspire each day. Have you started your own business? Share your tips and stories in the comments below!
Are you thinking of launching your own business? Why not start today with a FREE website trial and join the Create community of start-ups and small businesses! You'll have access to great resources to build your business online, along with your own personal Account Manager who's always on hand to help. #BeYourOwnBoss