Meet Lucy, a family woman turned entrepreneur who started her own business, Knobbles & Bobbles after taking time off to raise her children and found she had a knack for being her own boss and hasn’t looked back since!
Introduce yourself and your businesses, what was your motivation behind starting them and what do you sell?
Knobbles and Bobbles Ltd was born out of my need to get back into employment having taken a break to bring my two children up to school age. I needed work that was flexible around the needs of my family. Juggling a business and a family turned out not to be quite the breeze I had hoped… but I ploughed on regardless!
Previously having worked in IT and furniture manufacturing and having a passion for photography I tried to put it all together and start a business selling furniture related products online. I initially chose cupboard knobs because I personally loved the amazing choice, colours and patterns and also because they are easily shipped to customers.
Now we still sell the cupboard knobs and have added room doorknobs, hooks, door stops, and a lot more homeware accessories on www.knobblesandbobbles.com.
Did you have any experience in selling online before starting your businesses?
Previously I had worked for my family’s business in the direct sales of sofas and chairs, so I did have some experience of selling online. Without a doubt, this helped me to hit the ground running.
How did you earn your first sale?
My first sale was to a friend. I’m sure this is true of so many businesses. The help and support of family and friends at every step of the venture has been amazing and is very much appreciated.
The next sale was to a television company for a set, and I was so gratified and reassured that the product was desirable. I can still remember which designs were bought and in what quantity on both these orders – they meant so much to me.
How do you balance your workload?
My Dad’s Uncle always said that if you can’t get all the work done between the hours of 9 and 5, you are doing something wrong. By this mantra, I am definitely doing something wrong! There is a lot of work, but in my 6th year, I think I have finally managed to get a healthy balance between work and family.
We dispatch all our orders placed before noon on a working day, that day. So mornings are spent picking and packing at the warehouse whilst I do admin. Then I can usually get home for tea time to spend time with my family which is important to me. Mobile phones are essential too, I can keep on top of emails whilst not watching football on TV with my husband in the evening!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting your businesses?
The biggest challenge is always time, and more specifically being disciplined about time. You could work every hour in the day and still have more to do, but it’s not healthy. It is important to schedule time out.
What do you love most about running your own businesses?
There are so many things to love about running your own business. Being your own boss, being able to do the school run if needed, having goals, seeing direct results from hard work, and on, and on.
What advice would you give to new shop owners just starting out?
My advice to people starting out with new online shops is to keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel; it won’t always be as hard as the first year, and ask for help! Join every relevant community online, ask the opinions of your family and friends, use every resource available to you. Ask suppliers what they recommend, ask the shipping company what they think the best way of doing something is. Ask EKM for their help – they know their stuff!
What are your plans for the future?
To keep plugging away at it, keep growing and learning but also to appreciate what I already have.