'First things first, let's address the elephant in the room: starting a business during a pandemic, looming recession and inflation is no joke. But hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade... or in my case, handmade ceramics dinner sets!'
Hey folks, Tamara here, the brains and brawn behind Palinopsia Ceramics. If you're thinking of starting your own business, grab a cuppa and let's chat!
First things first, let's address the elephant in the room: starting a business during a pandemic, looming recession and inflation is no joke. But hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade... or in my case, handmade ceramics dinner sets!
'It was like trying to sell a swimming pool to a fish'
If you're new to the brand, let me fill you in. I took the leap of faith and started the Palinopsia concept back in 2018 under stable economic conditions. It was a dinnerware-themed-dream three years in the making, and it wasn't until 2020 that I finally launched our online store. At this point I truly thought the hardest part was quitting my secure employment. But then came the ‘real’ hard part - getting our touchy-feely products out there when people couldn't actually touch or feel them. It was like trying to sell a swimming pool to a fish. After trialing a brief pop up store, and weeks of getting chatty at our Bondi Market Stall, I decided to up the ante and opened my Darby St ceramics store in late 2021. Talk about tough timing, cost of living was on the rise and inflation made retail shake at the knees. I know what you’re thinking.. ’Is this lady nuts?’ I asked myself that very same question. But listen, you gotta be a little nuts in business. It was a bumpy ride, but we made it through the last three years with a lot of determination, patience, and hard work.
If you're considering starting your own business, let me tell you that there's no perfect timing, and no one has the same unique blend of talents, skills, perspectives, and approach as you. It's about taking the leap and adapting to the challenges that come your way. So, pour yourself another cuppa, and let's dive into what it takes to turn your business dreams into a reality!
Don't Wait, Create
So tip number one from yours truly: don't wait for the perfect time to start. There will never be a perfect time, and you'll drive yourself crazy waiting for it. Jump in, get your feet wet, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's all part of the learning process. In fact my timing helped me strengthen, shape and refine my business for the better, plus I grew a thicker coat.
School's Never Out
And speaking of learning, tip number two: invest in yourself. Take courses, read books, find a mentor, mine are Marie Forleo, Jodie Foxx, Ian Whitworth, and Zoe Foster Blake to name a few. Nope, never met these heros but I buy their books, listen to their pod casts, and subscribe to their advice. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice because you do need a lot of that. Believe me, you'll save yourself a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run. Every time I faced a topic outside of my skill set I would go next door to the second hand book store and find a book on the topic, or called a friend that had experience in the area. Then I put those learnings into practise until I found what worked for me. Also, make sure you read books by brave authors that openly talk about their business mistakes. Jodie Foxx’s Reboot was like a comfy blanket in my dismal times. By relating to or learning from the failures of others you can gain a better perspective on the realities of entrepreneurship and the challenges that you may face along the way.
Now let's talk about something near and dear to my heart: branding. Your brand is more than just a logo or a website. It's the essence of your business, the way you communicate with your audience, the feeling you evoke in people when they hear your name (if they can pronounce it). So tip number three: take the time to really figure out what your brand is all about. What makes you unique? What value do you bring to the table? And most importantly, how can you make your audience feel seen, heard, and valued? Then replicate that through all points of contact with your customer.
Your Grapevine Gang
And finally, tip number four: embrace the power of word of mouth. This is my favourite learning! As much as I love social media (and believe me, I do), there's something magical about a genuine, in-person interaction with a customer. So make sure you're connecting with your audience in a meaningful way, whether it's through pop-up shops, markets, or just a good old-fashioned chat. Its cost-effective and better targeting. Never underestimate the power of a happy customer spreading the word about your business! You wont see the results the next day, and you cant measure word of mouth like google analytics, but trust me, it’s there quietly brewing in the background.
So there you have it, folks. My advice for starting and growing a successful business. Remember, there's no one "right" way to do it. So go forth and make your mark on the world! And if you want to check out some seriously beautiful handmade mugs for all those coffees you’ll be drinking on your bootstrapping journey, head on over to our website at www.palinopsia.com.au