Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with the lovely Sarah Goode of Pookledo, who makes lovely, unusual jewellery. Sarah’s been having a very exciting year – although she hasn’t yet got the shop she was talking about when we met her in August last year, when she said, “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,” she has taken the big step of leaving her day job and going full-time with her business (gratifyingly, she’s been reading and talking about my book on the subject, and even photographed it on her jewellery stall – see the first pic on this page!) and she’s been taking full advantage of this new freedom, attending lots of fairs and planning on how to expand her business. Let’s see how she’s getting on …
Hello again, Sarah! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Not quite! The shop we are buying is still “subject to contract” due to different legal issues with the vendors, so I’m still not in the property. However, I am working for myself full time now. I handed my notice in at the bead warehouse in the summer and started working for myself full time in July. I now have a regular stall on Coalville indoor market every Friday selling my handmade jewellery and doing costume jewellery repairs, which is proving to be an interesting experience, and I’ve also started booking jewellery parties in people homes. I’m still selling online and at craft fairs but I’m also booking stalls at more festivals and larger events.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
What has changed is that I can dedicate more of my day to making custom orders, which is brilliant. However the time I spend working is pretty much the same. Due to the extra time spent marketing and advertising, more custom orders are coming in, so I still seem to have a full order book. This is a good thing, though, as I always have some work to be doing that I know will be going to a good home where it will be appreciated
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I learned that I took the leap at the just the right time. I’d been building up the business for a number of years and it’s given me a solid base to work on, both with the skills that I have, the network of friends and business contacts.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Make sure that you have a solid foundation to build on. It may seem right to just take a leap of faith, but without the structure to my business that I have built up whilst working for myself part time, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I am doing now, and loving every minute of it.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Hopefully we will happily be trading in our own business premises but until then, I’ll be travelling to different venues, making contacts, and meeting lots of lovely people.
It just shows how many different ways there are to start a business, doesn’t it – last week we met a lady who leapt straight into it, and here’s Sarah doing what I did, building her business part time until she’s ready to fly, knowing she has the safety net of knowing what she’s doing and having regular customers and a good idea of what people like. The regular stall in Coalville and the new party idea should both give a nice structure, and let’s hope that Sarah’s in that shop this time next year!
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 (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.