Create a Craft Business: Clare Yarwood-White
Advice business for creative people, offering workshops, mentoring, articles and events
Tell us what your business does:
I help designer/makers who want to make money from their talents. Workshops, mentoring, publications and events are tailored to tackle the thorny business issues that creative people struggle most with, such as pricing, planning, selling and branding.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have been there, done that! I founded my jewellery business Yarwood-White in 2003 with an initial investment of £50 and sold it in 2012. I know first-hand how hard it can be to grow a business and get profitable, and what the pitfalls are. I want to de-mystify the ‘business side of things’ and empower creative people to reach their goals.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Technology has made it easier and cheaper to start a business, creating opportunities for people to start-up around day jobs, with little financial risk. In addition, in the current economic conditions customers are reconsidering the value of what they buy, and this means there is an upsurge in demand for handmade products designed to be kept, rather than mass-produced disposable items.
What were you doing before starting up?
I ran Yarwood-White for nearly 10 years, but when my two little boys arrived I needed to take a break, so I sold the business and took a year off. Previously I have worked in marketing and communications roles for large corporate companies, which was all valuable experience before going it alone.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
No, but having made the break, I now can’t imagine going back! I love the creative process of starting a business, forming something from nothing.
How did you raise the money?
By selling places on my first workshop. I am quite risk adverse for an entrepreneur, so I like to start small and grow carefully rather than spend a lot upfront. I am reinvesting as I go along, and as the overheads are low this is working at the moment.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Lack of time. I am a working mum, and I’m constantly frustrated by the list of things I want to do and the lack of time to do them. I overcome this with strict time management (no wandering off around Facebook), working flexibly (evenings and weekends, and iPhone to hand always). I also try to have clear objectives for what I want to achieve each week, so that the right stuff gets my attention.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
I sell mentoring (i.e. my time), but as this is a finite resource, I also sell products such as workshops and downloads which can be replicated, which is how I will grow the business. My overheads are low at the moment, but I will need to invest more in marketing, technology and staff as I grow.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Not sure I’ve had it yet… but I am always moving the goalposts on myself. I guess it was filling my first workshop, proving there was a demand for my product. It’s more of a slow burn really, seeing readership on my blog increase, customers come back for more… breakthroughs can be overrated!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Know your numbers! You absolutely have to understand the financials. You can’t wait for your accountant to tell you if you have made money or not. Have clear targets and check the numbers monthly, weekly, daily! That way you can react and change things within your business. You need to understand the relationship between your business decisions and your spreadsheets.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Starting my next business! It’s quite addictive. I hope Create a Craft Business will be thriving, with a comprehensive range of services and products, a number of different revenue streams, and a community of happy and successful customers.