Welcome to Saturday Small Business Chat! I don’t feature so many new people now, as we have updates from our on-going interviewees running solidly throughout the year, but I couldn’t resist featuring Sarah Goode, aka Pookledo, who makes lovely handmade jewellery using semi precious gems and recycled vintage materials. I’ve known Sarah for years via our mutual hobby of BookCrossing, and in all that time, she’s always been making things, whether that’s clothes or jewellery. She’s doing the day job / self-employment dual career thing at the moment but recently reached a very exciting stage with her business when her offer was accepted on a shop in Loughborough. Sarah’s unusual out of all of my interviewees in having got a day job specifically to help and support her self-employment – an interesting thing to consider for many, I’m sure. Let’s see what’s happened so far …
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
My business is called Pookledo. This incarnation was set up in 2009, but I’d previously been self-employed a few years earlier.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I love making things and there is only so much I can make and give away to friends or swap!
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I’ve always liked jewellery and accessories as they are very universal items. I’ve always been plus sized and with jewellery it doesn’t really matter what dress size you are or age you are, you can always browse jewellery without getting down about your size or shape.
Had you run your own business before?
Yes. I paid my way through college and university by making hand-made cards and selling them at craft fairs. After I finished my degree, I designed and made plus sized gothic clothes which was very rewarding for a while.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I’m still working my full-time job as well as my self-employed work, but it’s getting to the point where there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day after I’ve finished my full time job to do everything I need to do for my self-employed business.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
Keep going. You might think it’s too difficult, and some say it is very hard, but the emotional rewards that come from working for yourself are great.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
To just get on with it. I need to keep telling myself that now too. Have confidence in what you make and keep pushing.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Not much really apart from maybe pushing myself a little harder a long time ago but I guess that confidence has come with age
What are you glad you did?
Found a full-time job in a bead warehouse! I’ve learnt so much about beading and the jewellery industry working there that it has helped me so much in my self-employment.
What’s your top business tip?
If something isn’t working for you, do some research and change things for the better.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
For a long time I was unprofitable but over time I researched different ways to improve what I was doing and gradually I’ve been more successful
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
We’ve put in an offer for a small shop so, all being well, in a year’s time I’ll be working full time for myself.
Doing something she loves and does well – check. Experience behind her – check. Committed to researching what can be improved – check. Tenacious – check. Finding it hard to squeeze in a day job and business stuff – check. I think it’s time for that leap of faith – and I really look forward to interviewing Sarah in a year’s time to find out how it’s all going! And here’s her 2014 interview!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my new books.