How I started my creative on line business.

I wanted to write a little about how I set up my online creative business

I called my business Tinythings because I wanted to paint furniture for children. The idea I had was to make personalised little tables and chairs for children.

Hence, the name Tinythings. I had no idea where to source small wooden tables and chairs wholesale. So, I asked my brother who lives in the UK to buy and post me a few children’s wooden tables & chairs from Ikea (before Ikea came to Ireland) Not a very good way of getting stock but I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I painted the furniture & sold it at craft fairs.

I soon realized that I couldn’t continue getting my brother to post me Ikea furniture. I mean he was posting me this flat packed furniture. When I finally got it I had to assemble it and paint it!! What was I thinking !!!

So, I decided to paint and personalize small wooden plaques for children with their names and birth details. I found a lovely man in Ireland who cut my wooden shapes and plaques. Most of my suppliers for Tinythings are Irish. I am very proud to have Irish suppliers.

This was 2010 when facebook was brand new. I set up a Facebook business page and started to sell my wooden plaques on there. This platform was a god send to me. No more freezing my ass off at craft fairs every weekend. I could sell my work from the comfort of my home.

My first Facebook post..cringe..please become a fan!!!

I was getting great sales from my Facebook page. I set up a Paypal account and I invoiced my customers as they ordered from me. The orders were flying in and the invoicing was becoming very tedious so I decided to set up a website. It would be easier to manage my incoming orders.

I hadn’t a clue how two set up a website. My friend who was a computer programmer helped me. We built a very basic free site. The business continued to grow and I decided to resign from my job. I was a dental nurse in the HSE. I had built up a good customer base at this stage. I was worn out with two young daughters working two jobs. It was a decision I didn’t take lightly leaving my permanent pensionable job.

My second website

The image above is my second website. I had invested the money I earned from Tinythings into this website. I contacted a web designer and created this gorgeous website for Tinythings. This was the turning point in my little business. When this website went live I put my heart and soul into my work. It was my full time job. I was still working from the kitchen table at this stage. I decided to make the box room upstairs my workroom.

I was loving working from home. Being my own boss a job that I dreamed about for years. I worked so hard to build Tinythings. I was constantly adding new products to the website. I expanded my range. I was doing personalised artwork for all occasions not just new born baby plaques.

My newly decorated workroom 2016

I continued to work and Tinythings got busier. I was loving it. But I was working so much. My work was very labour intensive. Everything is handmade, personalized. I looked into getting help with Tinythings or try outsource my work. But I just couldn’t trust anyone to do it. I felt like I was the only person who could create these plaques.

My earlier work.

My little business featured in magazines and I had my first photo shoot in my home with Irish country Living Magazine in 2016.

Craft Fairs
My first feature in an interiors magazine in 2016
Fairies of the forest personalized canvas picture

Fast forward to 2017. I was burnt out. Working 7 days a week. One day I just couldn’t do anymore. I got a really bad chest infection. I had run myself into the ground.

I was also staying indoors a lot, not socializing and it all got too much for me . I was anxious, nervous and exhausted. I closed the website and rested.

I was three weeks behind on my orders. So, I just cleared my order and took time off.

I had built a business I couldn’t manage anymore. I fell out of love with Tinythings. I almost hated it for making me feel like this. I felt broken, exhausted and I felt socially anxious.

I decided to set up an interior account on Instagram. I needed a distraction, something different. I noticed when I did my product photography for the website people commented on my home. So, in the background there was a sideboard I had painted. My customers would ask about my home and the furniture I had. So I decided to set up Aproudhome. An Instagram feed of my home and DIY’S. It had to be a creative outlet. I continued to paint personalized artwork but on a smaller scale. I always had a love for interiors. Especially creative interiors. My home was a real reflection of me! It was quirky, colorful and I spent so much time in my home working. It is so important to me that it felt comfortable and happy.

I feel like I have created a happy home with colour. My interiors Instagram page gave me the opportunity to get out of my workroom. I was socializing again. I met like minded people. I found myself again.

So now Sept 2019. I continue to work away with Tinythings on a smaller scale in my very messy workroom. I love the work I do with my interiors account Aproudhome. I have found a good balance. I am always learning.