It’s Small Business Chat update time (a bit late today, sorry!) Let’s see how Pat Wilkes from gift company Starlight Keepsakes and Gifts, (formerly Starlight Gifts by Pat) who we first met back in June 2013, then in August 2014, August 2015 and September 2016, at which point this was where she wanted to be now: “I really hope I’m in a similar position as I am now good work life balance and the business holding its own, still stocking shops and doing the odd event. Of course it would be wonderful to have more sales, as most small businesses must be thinking. Look forward to speaking to you next year.” How nice – I love that my interviewees look forward to doing these updates!
Hello again, Pat! So, are you where you thought you would be a year ago?
Hard one as I had hoped to be earning a bigger revenue but due to the financial climate this has not been possible – but most small businesses are in a similar position.
What has changed?
A couple of the shops I had stocked have closed which was a shame, but that’s the ups and downs of business. So I have had to think of other ways of getting my gifts out into the world. I have opened an Etsy shop for quieter times in the year and have just secured another stockist. I am also making new ranges which so far have been selling quite well. I haven’t been able to do events this year due to health issues and hope this will improve in the near future. I am also hoping to start up my workshops again which I do enjoy, especially seeing people’s faces when they produce something handmade that they did not think they could do.
What has stayed the same?
I am still doing two days at my day job, I still work longer hours producing stock just because I love making and enjoy every minute of it. I still stock a couple of shops and still love meeting customers and hearing what they like and what they think about what I do.
What have you learned?
Not to waste time trying to please everyone, it is impossible and I have accepted that what I love to make is not everyone’s cup of tea. Let your business head rule your hear,t something I find hard to do but I am learning that I need to have a better business head on in order to make my business a success.
What do you wish you had known a year ago?
I wish I had known that health issues would have stopped me getting out to events and been able to put energy into investigating more online sales.
It would have been nice to predict that sales would have been lower this year than last, just due to the financial climate.
Hints and Tips
I think I may have said this last year but get a good work life balance, make time to rest and recharge the batteries.
Adapt and change what you make if things are not working so that you don’t become stale. Artists and makers need to keep things fresh but still staying within their own style.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
Hopefully still working my part time day job but doing workshops and continuing to stock shops and to be trying new things and of course improving my work all the time and learning.
It sounds like Pat is doing all the right things, keeping it diverse and trying new channels to sell through, too. Hopefully sales will pick up next year.
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