Stephs Sock Monkey Store
Short description of your business:
I make sock toys, my own adaption of the traditional sock monkey, plus a range of my own designs. I also have a range of products sock monkey related & accessories made form sock remnants. All my toys are CE marked, so are suitable from birth
How long has your business been running?
I'm currently in my 5th year of doing this full time.
What made you start the business?
I started making these as a hobby, whilst I was working as a florist. Selling to friends & family, they helped fund my trips to London to have my hair done by celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford!! When the florist shop closed, it was either move away from Cornwall to get a florist job back up country, take a job chamber maiding in one of the many hotels in Newquay, or give this a try full time.
Who is your target market?
To be honest, anyone from birth to 100yrs old!! Everyone loves a sock monkey!!
Where do you advertise?
At the moment I don't pay for advertising anywhere, it's mainly word of mouth. I have both a Facebook page & twitter account & rely a lot on shares and RT's.
What is the thing you enjoy most about being a business owner?
As much as I love being able to work my own hours, around my husbands silly shifts, and being able to take time away for events etc, the best thing for me has been meeting the guys from Mission Motorsport & having the honour of making their mascots...the #monkeymassive They are an amazing charity, and the monkeys bring them so much publicity/awareness. Having been handled by the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart, Patrick Dempsey, David Coulthard, to name but a few...it amazes me! Check out the celebrity album on my website!
What have you found most difficult as a small business?
See above!! It's great being able to work my own hours, but some days I find it really hard to motivate myself. I can get so easily distracted, and find several hours have passed by and nothing has been done!
Where would you like the business to be in 5 years time?
Ideally I'd love to have a shop, with studio space. I've met so many people who create for a living, it would be awesome to have a business where I could showcase lots of local talent.
If you had to start again, what would you do differently?
Have a word with myself regards taking comments about my work to heart. I'm sure most crafters will have experienced negative comments from browsers at fairs, from oh I can make those to well, there's no skill involved making that...etc. It can be very dis heartening, but you have to rise above it.
What tips do you have for anyone looking to start a small business?
Choose to do something you love, it will show though in your work. There's nothing better than getting up everyday to do a job you enjoy. Paperwork...boring I know, but if you keep it in check...it's a minimal amount of work, giving you more hours to do the fun stuff.