The level of interest #SBS generated on Twitter and the support from other #sbs winners since then has been a great boost to my business.
The name Theo Paphitis impresses people and opens doors!
My designs have been featured in the national press on several occasions and sales from my website are steadily increasing all the time and went completely mad around Christmas.
1st Unique Gifts is a small business created from adversity: I was made redundant from a teaching/management role and at the time was sufferering from chronic migraine with a partner who was facing a long term degenerative illness (multiple sclerosis). I thought I’d be able to work around all this by working from home (although I’ve since discovered that for me being gluten free means migraine free).
Everything I sell is hand painted by me in my little garden studio. My designs are quirky, personalised and often very different to anything produced elsewhere. I love working with people’s passions and creating something that will make them smile. Home Sweet Caravan clocks, campervan door plaques and little art hangers to peg up a child’s latest masterpiece (maybe with a cute image of them wearing their school uniform!) are just some of the many gift ideas I produce.
I’ve since realised my strength is in ideas much more than it is production, so I’m currently working towards creating downloadable designs, which I expect to launch slowly while continuing with 1st Unique Gifts. The advantage for me is that I can design once and sell multiple times. The advantage for the customer is a collection of new designs which they can use multiple times from one purchase. I envisage sewing patterns, card makers’ images, gift tags, children’s party invitations, etc.
I’m proud to be helping other small craft businesses through my new blog Handmade Harbour – with tips, tutorials, features and interviews as well as printable sewing patterns and images.
Read and research as much as you can and then formulate your own ideas (but keep learning!)
Do what you love and you’ll actually look forward to Monday mornings!
Offer outstanding customer service and customers will return and recommend you to others
Don’t follow what others are doing – create your own path and don’t be afraid to try new things
Be different, be quirky, be yourself!
End your working day by planning your next day
Listen to your customers – their ideas and requests will springboard new products and lines