For today’s interview please welcome Sarah from Blooming Felt.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? My name is Sarah and I’m married with 2 primary school age children. I run my business Blooming Felt from our “Shedquarters” which is a purpose built studio at the end of our garden – we’re based in a small village in the South East of England
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based website. Blooming Felt is an online felt & haberdashery boutique. We specialise in 100% wool felt craft supplies and have probably the largest selection of felt craft supplies in the UK. Alongside everything felt related, we also supply buttons, ribbons, kits, craft books, and lots of other lovely things that you don’t necessarily need, but HAVE to have !
3. How did the idea for your business/website come about? A few years ago when I was working on a craft project, I found there were a number of items that I couldn’t source from the UK. I realised there was a gap in the market that I could potentially fill and so looked at sourcing and supplying these particular items, market testing them and then bringing them to the marketplace for other crafters to purchase.
4. How long now have you been established? I was making and selling craft items for quite a few years before starting this particular business. Blooming Felt has been trading online since 2007.
5. How do you decide what to write about and feature, and how do you come up with your great ideas for blog posts? Most of the time we’re telling our readers and customers about new products that have been added to the website, any shows that we’ll be attending, magazine articles that have featured us. We send out a monthly newsletter to subscribers of our website and try to issue regular tutorials for our customers. On the 1st of every month, we run a freebie competition on our blog.
6. Do you undertake your business/website on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? What started out as a bit of a hobby has turned into a full-time business ! I work pretty much every day and most evenings on the business, researching new products, updating the website / blog / facebook page, twitter feed, writing articles for magazines etc. As I have 2 small children I need to be around for them so try to fit in Blooming Felt during school hours and when the children are in bed. I now employ a part-time lady to help out with processing and despatching website orders so that I can get on with the day to day business side of things. It’s hard work, but great fun !
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business/website? When the children are in school I tend to start work at 10am, after the school run and a few household chores ! I spend most mornings processing and despatching orders. If my part-time lady is in, she does this and I get on with paying invoices, accounts, updating the website and social media sites, ordering new stock etc. Once the orders are all processed, we restock anything that is getting low and if there’s time, work on new designs / tutorials etc. I then collect the children from school and it’s then family time until the children are in bed. After that, the laptop is on and I spend the evenings researching new products, carrying out SEO on the website etc.
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business/website? Don’t expect things to happen overnight. It has taken me 4 long years to get where we are today. Always try and provide a unique product – don’t whatever you do, copy other people’s ideas. Those people have worked hard to create those ideas and won’t take kindly to anyone copying them. Always research your market. Be prepared to work long hard hours, evenings, weekends etc to give your company the best possible chance of success. You’ll get back what you put in …. eventually !
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself? If so, please tell us more. I do. I used to be hooked on cross-stitch many years ago and do still enjoy this when I have time. When I first set up Blooming Felt I had come across needle felting at a trade show and this craft, which was relatively new to the UK at the time, really caught my attention. I’ve needle felted hundreds of items over the last few years and really enjoy it. Sadly, now, with Blooming Felt taking up so much of my time, and my family and home life taking up the rest, I just don’t have the time to craft as much as I would like. However, when I’m away on holiday I can often be found with a long awaited craft project on the go !
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ? You can buy all of our felt and haberdashery items from our website www.bloomingfelt.co.uk
We can be found on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blooming-Felt/185427794831388
And on Twitter www.twitter.com/bloomingfelt
You can also check out our blog www.pictureitinstitches.co.uk if you fancy entering our monthly competition (on the 1st of every month).