Meet Heather from Partyworx. Whilst organising parties and working as a dance teacher, she wanted to be able to create great parties using amazing products but struggled to find anything that fit her vision. That’s why she created Partyworx. Building relationships with her preferred suppliers and manufacturers from the ground up, Heather is now able to offer her customers a wide variety of items and gifts to make that celebration, just a bit more special.
Introduce yourself and Partyworx, what was your motivation behind starting the business and what do you sell?
My name is Heather Clavering and as a dance teacher and former children’s party host, I just love organising parties and events. Having struggled to find everything needed to create the extra WOW factor at a party, I decided to create Partyworx, a one-stop party supplies and personalised gift shop. By providing an easy shopping solution for busy people to buy everything they need in one place, I hope to take the stress out of planning and creating the perfect party.
Tell us more about your products
Partyworx sells a range of personalised gifts and party supplies including some of the top licensed ranges.
Having visited several Trade Fairs I have made excellent working relationships with some of the leading suppliers and expert manufacturers. By using a mixture of traditional and cutting edge technology Partyworx is able to offer a variety of production processes including engraving, printing, wood burning, embroidery, ceramics etc and can, therefore, produce and personalise an array of gifts, cards, books and more. New products are added weekly to keep up to date with all the latest trends and seasonal events too.
What motivated you to start your own business?
To put it simply I’ve always wanted to work for myself. I still teach dancing on a part-time basis (I am lucky to do my hobby for a living), but I also wanted to develop my own business that would work around my family and children. It had to be something I would enjoy and I felt passionate about Partyworx and the products from the start.
Did you have any experience in selling online before starting your business?
No. Absolutely no experience at all! I was pretty useless on a computer, to be honest, but I realised that most people searched online for things and that to build a successful business I needed to have a strong online presence. As a dance teacher, I’ve always had lots of patience, which at the beginning was exactly what I needed. It’s been a steep learning curve, but the easy to use EKM Platform provided logical steps to build my website and I learnt about web design, producing quality images, SEO, Meta Tags, Google Adwords and much more. It’s been challenging, but I’ve embraced it and I’m proud that my business is growing and developing.
How did you earn your first sale?
My first sale was made at a wedding fayre where I displayed some catalogues of the products available, along with links to the website for personalised wedding gift ideas. I can still remember the excitement and buzz as we processed this order and saw the happiness of the clients when they received their items. It’s a feeling I still get every time someone orders from me.
I also approached several local businesses including hotels (we’re based in a seaside town) and function rooms with whom I now have regular contracts supplying for a variety of celebrations and events.
There was a lot of leg work, in the beginning, displaying at fayres, distributing leaflets, social media etc to let people know Partyworx existed. It was a combination of recommendations and the professional looking site that gives people and companies the confidence to purchase from me.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting your business?
As the business has grown, I have sometimes found it difficult to turn work away (especially at particularly busy times of the year like Christmas). But I also know how much work we can successfully manage and want to keep the quality and standards high, so sometimes I have to say no. For that purpose, I recommend ordering and booking early to avoid disappointment at key times of the year! As things have built I am now making links with other small business owners and we are now working together to grow the business further.
In the beginning, I had ups and downs whilst working out the best way to be profitable. I know that price is a big factor in online sales, but whilst Partyworx is very competitive I have also realised that as a business it needs to be profitable to succeed. It’s good to be busy, but I now know that I’d rather process ten, top-quality orders for a good profit, that 100 rushed orders for no or little profit.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love that Partyworx represents me, the logo, colours and everything it’s about reflects my personality and passions too. Over the last few months, I have worked with and met some amazing and encouraging fellow business owners (online and face to face). I have had opportunities to work with local charities and businesses too, and every day is exciting and a new challenge.
I find that I can work around my family too, as the online world is 24/7, so I can be flexible when I need to be, by catching up in the evening or early morning, which enables me to do school runs and be present and have quality family time whilst still working.
What advice would you give to new shop owners just starting out?
Starting a new business takes a lot of time and patience. And don’t expect huge financial returns from the start. I’ve found that things have grown steadily over time and I’ve had to do a lot of research on my specific market and other competitors as personalised gifts and party supplies is a competitive market. The original business plan is being constantly changed and adapted the more I learn and grow.
I absolutely love the products I sell and feel very passionately about them. It is important that you enjoy your work as it is a motivation to grow and do well as a business.
What are your plans for the future?
Partyworx has just signed the lease on its first Bricks and Mortar shop, which will be opening later this year. It’s a very exciting progression enabling us to grow the company by offering a collection point for local customers as well as being able to display our products to show off the high quality of what we produce.
We are constantly adding new products to our site and are currently in talks with some additional leading manufacturers and suppliers to expand our range of licensed gifts and books. We are also looking into distributing our products overseas which would greatly increase our audience and expand the business.
If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about setting up your own online shop, simply fill out our call back request form here, or call us on 0333 004 0333.