Here we are again with our #smallbizatoz just trying to give you a little more insight into Scamp and where we have come from and what makes us tick.
Now this could be a very, very long blog post as much of setting up Scamp and growing the business has been a challenge but I will keep it reigned in I promise!
Jennifer has a marketing background and used to work for the BBC before starting Scamp so there was quite a lot of business knowledge from that but in my former life I was a Physiotherapist and, although there were many skills involved in that, I didn’t really know anything about setting up a business.
When you start your own creative business you initially think it’s all about being at home with the kids and making lots of beautiful items to send to others! However, it quickly dawns on you that there are a whole heap of other things you need to do in order to make your business a success!
We thought that in this blog post we could share with you some of the Challenges we’ve had to face as we’ve grown the business (and show you you’re not alone when it comes to things not being quite as straightforward as you might originally think!)
Where to start though?
Websites (which platform to use , how do you upload anything, what’s SEO, how do we write engaging copy for our products, how do we get people to find our website in the first place – waaaahhhh)
Accounts (what’s a spreadsheet, how do we keep all those receipts neat and tidy, VAT registration, how do I not fall asleep at the thought of all of this but how do we even have a business if we have no idea of incoming money and expenditure?) – luckily for me I was a pretty poor Maths student at school and therefore Jennifer has taken on the accounts side of the business. Phew
Social Media– another minefield - how do we keep up to date with what all our customers are doing? Snapchat (yack) Facebook (it took me about 3 years before I opened a FB account), instagram, Pinterest, blogging, Linked in, Twitter (please hear my voice fade out as I list off all these endless amounts of chores). I have just taken a fabulous 21 day social media course with www.slsocial.co.uk which has really helped us to be more organised with social media rather than just winging it on a daily basis! I would high;y recommend it.
Photography – how do we make our products look beautiful - when people see them in the flesh we know they love them – they buy them and they come back again. We get a lot of repeat customers which is fabulous but how do we portray the quality of them online. How do we show our customers with pictures that they want to buy the product and come back for more. Hours and hours have been spent trying to get the right light, the right props and finally the right shot.
Wholesale (what does that even mean, should we have a catalogue of products, should we spend lots of money on a trade show, should we even do wholesale?)
All of the above and much, much more, that I haven’t mentioned, have been a challenge and a big massive learning curve over the last 6 years. But the biggest challenge of all has been time (or lack of!). With 5 kids between us and the youngest one only starting school 4 months ago Scamp has been run predominantly on a part-time basis. It has been built up over time and fitted in with all the other things that come with family life – school runs, homework, fun times, changing nappies, play dates, after school activities yada yada yada. This has often meant working at very odd hours in the 24 hours that make up a day. Two Christmases ago I was laser cutting in my garage until 1 in the morning and then going to bed only to get up about four hours later to make up all the products ready for dispatch and then going off to be a Physiotherapist for the day!
We have been very lucky to have gained some business mentors along the way who have helped us see the wood from the trees when it has come to analysing figures, reviewing the year gone by and setting targets for business growth. We are very grateful to each of them who have helped us train our brains into a more business like approach and really helped Scamp develop, evolve and grow into the business it now is and that Jennifer and I are really proud of.