Welcome to another Small Business Update – today with Leigh-Ann Arundel, who launched Jingle Jewellery in April 2012 – I first interviewed her under a year later, in January 2013, and then again in January 2014, with the most recent update in March 2015. At that point she had expanded into a locket business and also some franchises for Jingle Jewellery, and at that point she said, “In another year’s time I am hoping that the jewellery party business will still be maintaining speed and the new business will be up and running”. I love Leigh-Ann’s flexibility and willingness to try new things, something I think is vital in a new business – or even a long-standing one. So, let’s see how she’s doing.
Hello again, Leigh-Ann! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
This year has been a hectic one. There has been a lot of upheaval in the day job and as such it’s been more difficult to focus on my businesses. I set up a new business with a friend and fellow small business holder and that also taken a lot of time. So Jingle has definitely taken a back seat this year.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I am now only operating in South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. The licence holders in Cumbria and Mansfield had life changes that resulted in them no longer being able to continue with Jingle. I have not pursued anymore licence holders as I have improved my work-life balance. There is room for growth within Jingle but it will have to wait for now.
Our new business is called Pug4Pets (Personalised, Unique Gifts 4 Pets) and is a pet marketplace. I joined forces with Jo Ballantine, who is a graphic designer and owns the Driven by Design Ltd and Grace & Flo design companies. We launched in July last year and sell floating lockets for pets exclusively within the UK alongside jewellery and graphic designed cards and printed products. The lockets have been through a period of testing and have been made especially for use and for purpose. We crowdfunded the launch, which was a great experience as I have never done anything like that before. We are now busy getting the business onto different selling platforms in preparation for the busy Christmas period. The business is led by pets and the company is ‘run’ by dogs and cats who have their own profiles. It’s a really lovely project and it is coming along slowly but nicely. I have also started importing aromatherapy lockets into the UK and am selling them alongside Maria from Chi-Ki Holistics. She supplies the flower remedies and aromatherapy so we have a well-being package. We have a lot of interest in these.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have continued to not spread myself too thin. Also move on from things that are not beneficial to the business. I bought a 3D printer thinking I could make it part of the business. However, it took up too much time and would not make a profit so I sold it on. I am also reducing my stock as I hold lots. Another thing I am doing is being more prepared. My angels continue to be popular alongside my children’s jewellery. As such I have been stockpiling these in readiness. I will also be doing this with my snowmen kits. This should mean less to do at Christmas.
Any more hints and tips for people?
I really enjoy working with other business holders. I see a lot of energy being placed in what other people are doing and competitiveness on the crafting circuit. I think that is pointless. Everyone is different and working together makes much more sense. Consider how you can help each other and encourage that. Also know when to stop buying! I struggle with this myself!
BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?
I would like to know how they maintain visibility in such a large marketplace. I often find this bit hard.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I am resigned to the fact that I need to remain in the day job for 5 more years. After that I will be able to leave and fully concentrate on my businesses.
I think for now Jingle will probably just plod along, but I hope to have had a great year with the lockets and especially PUG4PETS. We hope to be selling on Not on the High Street by then. Fingers crossed!
I totally agree with Leigh-Ann about concentrating less on competition and more on cooperation. When I’m too busy to take on a new project, I am so pleased when I can recommend a great alternative supplier for them, and Leigh-Ann’s way of working with her craft and design colleagues works really well for all of them. I’m looking forward to find out what she does next!
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.