Welcome to the fifth of our Feature Fridays on Creation|Collaboration! Each Friday, we profile a woman run business by interviewing the founder and finding more out about them, their business, their life and loves!
For our fifth Feature Friday, we've chatted to Susie McKinstray, owner of Pot of Gold Crafts in North-East Scotland.
Hi Susie, introduce us to yourself and your company!
Hi all, I'm Susie McKinstray and I am the creator behind everything at Pot of Gold Crafts.
Pot of Gold is one of those places you really can find something for anyone. We currently specialise in handmade greetings cards, jewellery and accessories and now we do hand-dyed wool, aimed originally at the cloth nappy market for knitters to create soakers for over the cloth nappies, but obviously any real wool lovers are more than welcome. We've also combined a love of wool, knitting and jewels to create a range of Swarovski crystal stitch markers to add some fantastic sparkle to your knitting day. We also have many new items currently in the planning stage, with some now in development and heading to the testing stage.
Where did the idea of running this as a business come from?
I have always had an incredibly creative streak and have tried my hand at many different crafts (if I went into listing them we'd be here for a while!) Being a stay-at-home mum since having my first child, I found many other mums online who ran “WAHM” (work-at-home mum) businesses. That's really when it first hit me that other people may also be interested in the things I make.
What do you love most about your business?
Just knowing people like the things I make is amazing. I also like being able to be flexible with working time depending on what my family's needs are. However, for me, the best thing is that I don't have to commute to work at all.
What would you like to change?
My workspace. I've already got a corner set up in my living room as my craft work area but it's a little unorganised and I want to turn the storage area under our stairs into a fantastic mini craft room.
What is your aim for the next year?
Many new products and working to have an in stock yarn selection as I am currently working on a preorder status. I have had a small break from making current products as I am developing a few new things, with sewn products as well as some knitted and crocheted items so I aim to resume building up more current stock as well. I am also hoping soon to create my own website to house the cards and jewellery and keep the yarn at my Hyenacart store since there is a great yarn-loving community there.
Where do you ultimately see yourself?
I would love to open a “bricks and mortar” shop, and sell not only my own products but those of other crafters who want to get their name out there. I suppose it would be like a “real life” version of Creation|Collaboration.
What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women ?
Tip 1 Believe in yourself! If other people tell you they like what you do and keep asking for you to assist or make something for them, then you know what you are doing will be worth it. Even when things are going slowly, don't let it get to you and put you off wanting to continue.
Tip 2 Be patient! It is so hard to get people to realise you are there, especially if you are trying to get into a business with many other creators, and in some cases cheaper mass-produced items.
Tip 3 Carefully consider your pricing structure. Obviously you want your customers to feel they are getting good value for money, but don't underprice yourself either. If you're not earning from your hard work then you won't make a living; remember it is a business and not just a hobby anymore (but whoever said work couldn't be fun?)
Tip 4 Advertise! I don't mean you have to spend thousands on TV or radio adverts, but setting up Twitter and Facebook pages and inviting all your friends can lead to word of mouth and more and more people will become aware of your business and hopefully start recommending you to others that they know will be interested. Business cards are easily obtainable for very little cost now, make sure to send some out with every order (I usually enclose 2 or 3 with orders in the hope the spares may be passed on to friends) and you may also find some local businesses will be happy to hand them out to people they know may be interested in your products.
Tip 5 Planning! Try to set yourself daily and weekly goals with things to do, try to put in work regularly and maybe consider setting yourself “working hours” whether it's a set time each day to work or just a certain number of hours per week. The more organised you are about your business then the easier it will be to make sure customers get things in a timely manner. This is something I had issues with when starting out, but it's definitely something that you get used to if you get into the habit of doing it.
A few last words - How do we contact Pot of Gold Crafts?
You can stop by the shop at http://hyenacart.com/potofgold or come on by the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/potofgoldcrafts. We're also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/potofgoldcrafts and finally our blog is at http://potofgoldcrafts.blogspot.com/
Thanks so much Susie for talking to us today - we love the colours and variety of your handmade products.
Next week, on Feature Friday, we'll be featuring Rachael Dunseath from Myroo Skincare and MillyandFlossy. Make sure to check back!!