Creative Crossroads: How and why I’ve chosen a new direction for my business
At the end of 2019, I started to think of ways I could develop my business. I wanted more of an online presence, I wanted to set up a shop and start selling a line of products again, and I wanted to put “pen to paper” as they say, and write and produce a series of online courses and content for my website.
By the end of last year I had fallen down the Instagram rabbit hole, and I started to feel so deflated by it all. I was spending all of my time advertising other brands and ignoring my own brand. You don’t know how much I would love to be able to just do it as a hobby, and say yes to everyone who approaches me. However, at the end of the day, my creativity is the way I make a living. It’s what helps put a roof over my little family and I’s heads. I decided that spending my own time advertising other people’s brands for free wasn’t an option for me anymore (unless it’s something that will look amazing in my home, then I’lll sometimes maybe make an exception :)).
With all of this in mind, I knew I had to make some big changes. I definitely needed to spend less time on Instagram and focus more on my own business. However, even though I am normally a very driven person, I really felt as if I needed a little push in the right direction, I needed someone to come along and basically tell me to get my S*** together!
Back in February this year, I was given those words of encouragement I’d been longing for. Whilst filming an episode of Money for Nothing, I had a really great chat with the ever so lovely tv presenter Jay Blades – who, I can confirm, is an all round awesome guy! He gave me so many ideas (one of them being to develop my own range of kits), and told me to “Do it for you Rach…”. Those words really resonated with me. Yes, you’re right, I need to just go for it (thank you, Jay!). Then, when March arrived, and the pandemic hit hard and lockdown began, I thought, what better time to start developing my brand and business and make some big changes!
Self-Paced Online Courses & Kits
The first thing I did was film and record an online course. It has been my goal for some time now to start to write and produce courses that are accessible worldwide. After 18 years of working in the craft industry, hosting workshops, lecturing in further education, running creative enterprise projects, and writing published books on needle craft, I felt I was at the point of my career that I should be sharing my knowledge, skills and ideas to a wider audience, in the form of online courses. I guess they are essentially like writing a book aren’t they, and if I could do that, I could do this!
Back in April I launched my first course – how to create joyful botanical displays for your home! I set up a trade account with suppliers and designed and produced a series of material kits to sell alongside the course. So far I’ve received so many lovely and positive pieces of feedback from people who have enrolled. And my kits have even made their way over to Australia, America and the Netherlands! This has made it all worth-while and I’m now planning on filming loads more, so do watch this space!
Virtual Design School
At the same time as producing my felt making course, I started to plan virtual workshops and last month I launched my own ‘Mindful Making’ design school via zoom! I’ve absolutely loved seeing my students creations and being able to interact with learners again has been the best thing ever! I am so passionate about sharing my skills and ideas, it brings me a huge amount of joy knowing that I have inspired others to get creative and I’ve loved receiving photos of their beautiful creations.
Next month I am hosting a range of festive workshops, and I’ve already had lots of booking which I am so delighted about. Festive designing and making is by far one of my favourite activities! I honestly can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with, that’s the best part of running a workshop!
I’ve also now got a new range of products available on my online shop. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel to have my own shop again. The felt eye wall hanging and the tassels seems to me the most popular so far! I am in the process of creating some more items to sell including some wonderfully colourful upcycled creations, so do keep your eye out for those!
Plans for the future
Gosh, I don’t know where to start? Sometimes I really do wish there were more hours in the day!
I plan to continue to host virtual workshops and launch more online course. And also develop my product ranges. I would like to be able to offer interior/diy/upycling based courses next year, so do watch this space!
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To view all of my online courses, virtual workshops and my product range I have chatted about above, click here.
Rachel x x