How I started my creative on line business.
I wanted to write a little about how I set up my online creative business https://www.tinythings.ie/
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.
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.
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.
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 little business featured in magazines and I had my first photo shoot in my home with Irish country Living Magazine in 2016.
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.https://www.instagram.com/aproudhome/ 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.