The inbox has been overflowing with submissions for The Making of An Entrepreneur series and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learnt from reading them. First is the lovely Andrea Egan from Button Baby who I’ve got to know quite well over the past month or so.
Button Baby offers beautiful baby and toddler knits, clothes, toys and gifts delivered directly to your door. Andrea has such an inspiring story. In May, she will celebrate three years in business – and as an online retailer that’s a huge feat. Here’s her story…
What were you doing when you decided to create your own business?
I was a stay at home mum with a one year old and a three year old!
When did you start your business? What inspired you to make that move?
I had decided to leave my career in the rag trade when I resigned from my position prior to the birth of my first baby. My husband and I had decided I would be stay at home mum! Fast forward two years and one more baby and I was feeling inspired by lack of sleep and the need for something that allowed me to be the woman that I left at work – and a great mum.
What was your start-up cost? How did you acquire the money and what did you use it for?
Initially the business started as an online store and a knitwear business that I dreamed up. Start up cost would have run into 10’s of thousands for set up of website, logo design, product design, stock… I borrowed the money for the start up.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle was me! I really feel that I held back initially as I had lacked some confidence both in my ability (another mum going into business) and in my lack of knowledge in all things Tech. Ahhh, web sites. SEO, URL, CPC, FB, TWEET….you know what I mean. It’s been a steep learning curve.
How did you rise above the tough days? Those days when people said no, things fell through or someone said they didn’t “get it’’.
This just made me more determined.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
We made a profit in our second year but every cent goes back into the business!
What do you love most about being your own boss? What are the drawbacks?
I like that by being my own boss I can walk the kids to school and not miss too much with the kids day to day. I guess there is always going to be a drawback for any mum working in any capacity – for me it’s when I try and work from home and my kids have to understand that they need to let mum do her work.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
We use Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know what’s new and wonderful and for some fun stuff that we like to share.
How have you used public relations to grow your business? What strategies have you used?
PR was part of my job in my past life, but it has changed so much since I worked it! I have, up until recently, gone the “do your own PR’’ route, with some success. Working with print media I have had some great articles printed on Button Baby but now I feel the need to branch out to the mums in cyber space!
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring about them?
This might sound corny but my husband has really inspired me. He has his own business which I have watched him develop and grow into something amazing. His encouragement has given me the confidence that I needed.
How have you acquired the skills you use to make your business successful?
Passion and conviction in what you do. I believe in life skills that can’t be taught. Sometimes you need to learn as you go.
What’s the best piece of business advice you ever received?
Knowing where your business is daily.
What is your favourite product/service that you offer?
I love so many of the gorgeous products that we stock. This is the fun part of the business – finding the gorgeous stock. But in all, my favourite thing is to email back and forth with our customers and offer help where we can give it and to receive the gorgeous feedback and photos too.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t go into any business thinking that it will be easier than working for someone else.
What’s been the best bit of business advice you’ve received?