This is the first in our new series of Spotlight posts.
Once a month, we will be turning our spotlight on to people who’ve taken their love of crafting to the next level. If you would like to be included please contact us
Meet Caroline, owner of Caroline’s Creations
I looked into the EU regulations and after loads of emails to (the very helpful) Amanda I decided to get a Cosmetic Safety Assessment package, some insurance and go for it. That was October 2010."
Q When did you set up your website and was it easy to do?
Fortunately I came across an article in a magazine about a new scheme that Google is involved with called Getting British Business Online, so I registered in January this year and after a few tutorial emails I started developing my site. I was surprised at how easy it was, though it still needs lots of work. I am slowly adding new products and paypal buttons but it’s all mine and best of all it’s free for two years!"
"I sell my products in a couple of other places; I met a lovely lady at my first fair in December 2010 who introduced me to a local shop - Flora Lou (Chobham) - that supports people who handmake items by selling them through their shop. They predominately sell jewellery so were more than happy to stock my lovely goodies. I visit regularly to top the big basket up and they pay me fortnightly for any products sold.
Also I recently took advantage of the introductory offer that wowthankyou.co.uk were doing. I now have a couple of my new gift boxes available on their site. It’s a great site, established specifically to showcase items that are hand made in this country. A fabulous idea and full of wonderful gifts made by very talented people so please do go and have a good look around."
Q. How important is networking to you?
Networking is my middle name - it is so important you never know when you might need something or someone. My children constantly tell me off for "talking" to everyone but I've lost count of the number of times I've needed something and known exactly where or who to get it from.
Meeting new people through craft fairs and sales are both great ways to make new contacts, but the internet can be a very useful tool too. Take Facebook. Not only have I found some wonderful gifts for friends and family but by "sharing" my page I have received sales from new customers. Not to mention the helpful advice I have received and shared. Networking pages on Facebook such as Send In The Troops, and Pop Round For a Cuppa who work hard to spread the word about pages are a really useful place to start.
Q. What benefits has making & selling your products brought to you
"Most importantly my luxurious bath times have been restored :-) but also it has allowed me to be creative and share my talent with others.
I am amazed by the support I have received, not only from my friends and family but also from people who previously were complete strangers, new customers and also all the followers on Facebook. I have some lovely "friends" on there now and I mustn't forget all the help and support I 've received from Bathbomb.Biz. Also, hopefully, the extra income will mean I don't have to get an evening job to make ends meet."
Q. What advice would you give anyone thinking of setting up a home based business, or turning their hobby into a source of income?
"Be brave and go for it, it's very rewarding. There is nothing nicer than people complimenting you on your creativeness and telling you how lovely your products are."
Q. Where do you see your business going over the next year and beyond?
"Long term I would love to expand my range of products, upgrade my website, hit 2000 likes on Facebook and do more craft fairs - one of my friends and I joke about having a little shop when we're retired where we can make things to our hearts content so who knows - watch this space.............................."