I’ve had a long relationship with the team at CHSI, the UK’s largest Craft Trade show at the NEC, collaborating on many projects, so I was delighted to be invited to be a Business Seminar Speaker at this year’s event on Sunday 27th February on the event stage.

CHSI Creative Trade Event https://www.chsi.co.uk/education/insights-hub/

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’m always sharing new content. I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot from some very clever people within the media world so sharing my knowledge and skills feels like a natural choice.

The marketing team asked me to submit some ideas and the one that seemed most obvious was to talk about my journey into the small business world. I began silversmithing a number of years ago, just weekend courses, so my skill base took a long time to build. However, I knew it was a skill I could make into a business of my own and so Silver Nutshell Jewellery was born.

Here, I’ve chosen some highlights from my presentatio to share with you…

Is ‘now’ is the best time to launch a small business?

There’s never been a better time to join the maker community and become a small business owner. One of the biggest trends coming out of the last 2 years is the growth of small ‘businesspreneurs’. That’s people like you and me, who have an interest or a hobby that they would like to turn into a business.

As we all know, the landscape of ‘work’ has changed significantly. Working from home has become the norm for a lot of people which has led to a desire for a much better work life balance. Let’s face it, we’ve all discovered that we can actually work from anywhere – even in our PJs. This shift in work pattern has led to a lot of people turning to interests that they have within the home and wanting now to turn their small business dream into a reality.

Follow your dreams

3 reasons to launch right now

  • We no longer want 9 to 5. We want and need more flexible work patterns
  • We’ve had plenty of time to dream and it’s now time to act
  • We’ve woken up to the fact that our mental health and our wellbeing are really important to us

So what is your Small Business Superpower?

Are you good at social media? Have you got experience of great customer service? Can you build a website? It’s a good idea to out what you’re good at and what you’re not. I’ve had a lot of experience over the years of building brands so I knew that would be the easy bit, but doing it for myself as a team of ‘one’ was a totally different experience. I made lists of what I needed to learn…

  • I knew I would struggle with building my own website so would need help.
  • I didn’t have any experience of ETSY.
  • I didn’t have an Instagram page or really know how to set one up for my small business.
  • I had a personal Facebook page but I needed to set up store links, learn how to create videos and so much more…

I quickly realised that I had a lot to learn. However, I had time so I looked at what I needed first. A website was put on hold because a sales platform, such as ETSY, would be quicker to do with very little outlay in cost. I had products made, an idea of my brand and packaging so I started by taking good photographs and create listings.

Etsy won’t sell your products for you. By that, I mean you’ll need to do your own marketing. You’ll be a tiny fish in an enormous pond on Etsy so that’s why you need a socisl media platform, such as Instagram and/or Facebook.

Where can I learn how to build an Etsy Shop and an Instagram Account?

If you’re starting out or looking for small business help, my BEST TIP is to watch Youtube videos. It’s a great way to learn things that you need to know. Use Youtube, look online, go on a course or do an online course. The information is all out there and it’s simple enough to pick it up as you go along. And you can always DM on my Instagram account, if you think I can help.

Also, remember not to compare yourself to others. I’ve learnt so much since I launched Silver Nutshell Jewellery and it’s been a steady walk not a race! Everyone is at a different stage in their business. I can guarantee that some of the decisions you make now in the early stages, you’ll leave behind. I certainly did. All businesses need time to evolve so be kind to yourself and take the slow and steady path.

What do you need to be successful in an eco-conscious, competitive marketplace?

You need to be serious, transparent and committed with your product, your voice and your packaging. We all expect more from businesses so just saying that you’re eco- friendly isn’t enough. The best small businesses are the creative ones, the ones that demonstrate that they’re going the extra mile so think of all the ways your small business could be zero waste / plastic free / less harmful to the planet.

If the product you’re selling isn’t able to be as eco-friendly as you’d like, then think about offsetting the negatives with positive actions

You may not be able to do it all but customers and especially your community on social media need to see that you’re trying. Honesty is a HUGE FACTOR. It’s important to say what you can do and what you’re aiming for. And ideas, such as plant a tree for every purchase or to make a donation to your favourite charity all help to offset the areas of your business that you can’t change, such as the postal system and air miles.

I donate 5% of my sales WDC, a whale and dolphin conservation charity. My customers love to donate, and the charity gets much needed funding. If you’re considering giving to charity, you’ll need a legal agreement. If that sounds scary, it isn’t. Simply sign up to a fundraising platform. I use Work for Good UK and they do all the hard work – and they’re also a lovely business to collaborate with.

What could you share with the world?

I guess the moral of all this is that we all know things that we can share. We have all done things in our lives that we can teach to others. And that’s what I enjoy doing. If you follow me on instagram @silvernutshell perhaps you’d like to continue the journey with me?

See you there! Anna x

Ps follow the link to CHSI (top of this post) to download my presentation slides. DM me on Instagram to get in touch

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