Welcome to the first Saturday Small Business Chat of the New Year! Settle down to have a nice read with a cuppa … Today we’re meeting Leigh-Ann Arundel of Jingle Jewellery. Leigh-Ann is expanding her business in a very interesting way that I don’t think we’ve seen in these interviews before: while she’s still working almost full-time hours in her day job, she’s using consultants and associates to grow her business and present her products. I also think it’s lovely that Leigh-Ann sees her jewellery making as a therapeutic practice that brings some balance into her life. I wish we all felt like that about our businesses – but we should be doing something we love that’s good for us, shouldn’t we!
Let’s say hello to Leigh-Ann and find out how she does it.
What’s your business called?
It’s called Jingle Jewellery.
When did you set it up?
I founded JIngle Jewellery as a Limited Company in February 2012 and launched in April 2012.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I work 30-hour weeks in a very demanding and difficult profession in an area which involves Child Protection. I set up my business in children’s and adults jewellery parties and retail to bring light to the shade and balance my perspective.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I have always loved jewellery and am a bit of a magpie so was draw to this area of crafting. I find it therapeutic.
Had you run your own business before?
Prior to having my children now 4 and 2 years I practised Hypnotherapy and EFT.
How did you do it?
I am often described as a person who does not do anything by halves, so basically I just ploughed in head first and set it up very quickly. I understood that branding is key and obtained the services of a graphic designer friend to help design my brand and set up with Companies House, bought my stock, obtained my marketing literature and signed up for my first Craft Fair.
Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I have a career which I love and maintain a 30 hour week. My business is run in every other spare minute that I have.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
I had really great advice from a successful friend before I started who shared so much of her knowledge. I wish I had listened and constructed a proper business plan, as I left that on the back burner and became a bit chaotic.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Take all of the advice given and choose which is best for your business, and take the time to develop rather than ploughing headfirst, but also spare 5 minutes to be proud.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I ended up spending a lot of money as the business took off in a direction I had not planned a lot earlier than was comfortable. I’m not sure I would have done it differently, though maybe I could have been more prepared.
What are you glad you did?
Firstly, set it up. I love my business and am very proud of how it has grown in such a short time. Secondly, letting it evolve around me, as through chatting to interested people it has taken on a new direction.
What’s your top business tip?
Understand the brand and have a USP [Unique Selling Point] that makes you stand out. Listen to advice, be patient and believe in yourself.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
Jingle Jewellery is becoming very successful and has transformed from a hobby business into a locally recognised brand. I now have two licence holders who operate Jingle Jewellery businesses in Nottingham and Cumbria and have 10 consultants who work for Jingle on a self-employed basis, attending events and parties, making our products and also selling from our newly developed catalogue. I plan to promote the licence and consultancy opportunities next year and diversify into party services.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
Hopefully gaining in momentum and operating in more areas nationally as a successful business.
How exciting! Isn’t this an interesting route to take – and I love the point about taking a few minutes out to be proud of ourselves! I am sure that Leigh-Ann is going to continue to be successful, combining a career and a business that she loves, and look forward to seeing how things develop as she goes into her second year of trading.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.