Today’s guest post is part 4 in our series on monetising your hobby. It is provided by Hannah Ablett from Fairyknowz
1) What is your hobby?
I make cuddly toys called ‘Poplins’. I’m not really sure if I would have called it a hobby, I’m not sure I had time for a hobby. I’ve always loved design and making things but found it hard to find the time in between children and a job.
2) Was this a hobby you started when you became a mother or something you have always done?
My children’s school started doing theme days where they had to go to school dressed up. I always encourage them to get involved in active learning so together we would research what they’d like to dress as and I would muddle together a pattern and a costume. I became well known for their costumes and a couple of parents said I should make things to sell.
3) What motivated you into monetising your hobby?
I was working as a deputy at a Pre-School and honestly couldn’t of found the time, the costumes I’d made for the kids had been made in good old fashioned deadline style the night before.
In August 2011 we went on holiday to Scotland for three weeks and while sat having a mandatory glass of wine watching the children playing happily, everything changed. I was blown away by the beautiful setting, my children for once playing happily together! And time for my husband and I to just sit and relax. I remember turning to him out of the blue and saying “I think I’d be good at making one off children’s clothes”, I remember saying I wanted a different way of life and to my amazement he agreed. And so Fairyknowz was born.
By the December I’d made up my mind that I wanted to say goodbye to my much loved job and in January 2011 I was fully self employed.
4) How did you develop your hobby into something more?
In the beginning Fairyknowz only really paid for my addiction (I use that expression as no under estimate) and my love for making. I sat at craft fairs and never really sold everything… however while the others were selling at fairs and I wasn’t I built up a returning customer base and found my Facebook page was my new best friend.
5) Do you consider what you are doing now to be a business or a self-funding hobby?
In the first year of my business I have to be honest that I’m not sure I took it anymore seriously as something enjoyable that gave me time to be there for my family. But things have changed, something changed again in me, maybe I grew organically while my business did in disguise, I don’t know.
6) What do you gain from this venture?
In September last year I looked into CE Marking and in October I designed and made my first Poplin, a draggable, cuddle toy and now I’m stuck on the most enjoyable roller coaster (I don’t do rides!). I found what I enjoy making and I’m actually making money, yes me, a little mum of three who lives in the town no ones heard of….I sometimes think it’s someone elses business, but it’s not it’s mine!
7) Who is your target audience/customer?
Poplins were originally made for a young target audience but it’s amazed me the range of people who have bought them. The comments I get from customers are amazing and totally make everything worth while. Each Poplin is unique and has a name, I only buy a very small amount of each fabric which in turn makes sure my Poplins are different.
8) What advice would you give to another Mum who was thinking about turning a hobby into something more?
My advice is go with the flow, don’t expect the first thing you make to be what you finally sell. Don’t be disillusioned although I get to spend time with my family and I work around assemblies, trips etc I work hard, I’m sat here typing this on a Sunday morning! I’ll stuff toys sat in front of the tv in the evening. School holidays are a nightmare and don’t expect to get loads done L It’s not all coffee morning and do what you want….as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” Don’t let me put you off though the pro’s very much out weigh the cons!
My biggest advice is do it! Give it a go! You’ll never know unless you try
9) How do people contact you/find out more about your businesses?
I sell on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fairyknowz, On my website (work still in progress) www.fairyknowz.co.uk and I’m just starting to explore Folksy http://folksy.com/shops/Fairyknowz
You can follow Hannah on Twitter: @Fairyknowz