Turning your hobby into cash: Part 2

Last week we started our new blog series about monetising your hobby. (Part one here).  Today we have the second in series.  Julia has just started turning a fun hobby into something to make her a bit of extra money; who knows where it will lead… 

1) What is your hobby?

My hobby is decorating baby gros. I use new and recycled materials and applique original designs onto the front. Sometimes I put names on the back as well. I have a selection of designs that I use repeatedly – boats and elephants mostly – but I also take commissions, and have made baby gros featuring toast and jam, teapots, cakes and sharks. 

2) Was this a hobby you started when you became a mother or something you have always done?

I’d been thinking about doing something more creative for a long time, and have been developing an interest in fabric and textile design, but my ideas didn’t crystalise until I was given “make” by Cath Kidston for a birthday present from my as then one year old daughter. I made a baby gro for her, and then for some friends, and it’s just gone from strength to strength. 

3) What motivated you into monetising your hobby?

I work part time as a primary school teacher, and enjoy my job, but would very much like to work for myself. My dad was always self employed, so I suppose I have an entrepreneurial streak in me that lay dormant until I became a parent. 

4) How did you develop your hobby into something more?

The Ealing 135 Christmas Fair last year! My friend is co-chair of a local mothers and children organisation, and she’d been talking about the fair for a long time, and I thought, well, why not? I’d been making the baby gros as presents, and then people starting asking me to make them as presents for their friends and paying me, so I knew that there was a market out there.

5) Do you consider what you are doing now to be a business or a self-funding hobby?

I’d like to consider it a small but profitable business, but realistically it is a self-funding hobby. I don’t charge for my time, just for the finished product and that includes materials, postage and packing.

 6) What do you gain from this venture?

I love doing it. I find sewing and making things relaxing; I am one of those irritating people who always needs to be doing something, so I can’t just sit in front of a television and relax, I have to keep my hands moving. I also enjoying the challenge of making something new and different; one customer wanted something from Indiana Jones, another wanted a Star Wars theme, and my favourite so far has been the Primal Scream Screamadelica picture, which was surprisingly easy to do.

 7) Who is your target audience/customer?

People who have friends who have or are just about to give birth. I do sell to parents as well, and it was lovely to have lots of pregnant customers at the Fair.

 8) What advice would you give to another Mum who was thinking about turning a hobby into something more?

Enjoy it. If you do it for love, then you don’t mind not making much money. If you can combine it with a part-time job, or even a full time job, do; if you pick something totally different to your day job, it makes such a lovely change.

9) How do people contact you/find out more about your businesses?

I have a Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/JuliasBespokeBabies, and I am in the process of building a website. You can also email me at julia@croyden.com I have lots of photographs on the site, and can put almost any design on a baby gro, all sizes. I am very flexible.

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