Monday, 1 February 2016

Happy Birthday Habdash - One Year On

Wow weeee!...I cannot believe it's been a year since I timidly launched Habdash! To celebrate we will be having a little giveaway...more on that later.

A year ago a friend gave me the confidence to do something that I had been sitting on , like a mother hen, for the best part of eight months! Thank you dear friend, you know who you are!..and I must say a constant support even now.

I was in one of my regular 'crisis moments' as a small business owner. Literally every three months or so I go through an "is this worth it, shall I jack it all in?" stage. It's so hard sometimes keeping up the passion and momentum when it's only you. You who is accountable, no one else to blame if it goes wrong, etc etc. 
I still have a day job, I have two kiddos and a husband to worry about and sometimes, I wonder if it's worth the stress and sleepless nights.
Anyway something always happens to re-affirm my small business goals and this time last year it was Habdash.


I began with just ten Valentines themed boxes, which sold out in two hours! The response was fantastic and over the next few month's I gradually grew the amount of boxes I would make up each month. 

The planning was the next big challenge. However as I had been procrastinating for month's on the idea I had several box themes loosly planned out. It was the 'other stuff' I hadn't considered. Time, admin, logistics, packaging, cost...it was a MASSIVE learning curve for me and I had to learn on the job. 
I had commited to subscriptions and my lovely customers were expecting their boxes on time and with the same attention to detail I usually apply to my orders. 
Over the next few months so much went on behind the scenes, planning and trying out different packaging, upgrading my Royal mail account to PPI so I didn't have to stand at the post office counter for hours and the all important REALISTIC costings. 


The cost of the box was the hardest thing as I had initially shot myself in the foot and undercharged. Whilst I had plans for contents of the boxes I had yet to go out and source some of the items and I soon realised I needed another fabric supplier or I would soon run out of compatible fabric pattern choices. I also under-estimated the time and commitment it would take from me to prepare and pack what soon became sixty monthly subscription boxes. 

I could almost hear my university lecturer telling me off as this was something that was drummed into us in our final year. Make sure you put a value on YOUR TIME. It is also something i tell everyone and anyone who will listen when planning how much to charge for your designs or crafts. It's a real tricky one. You don't want to end up with a ridiculous figure, which, when you look at the item makes you shake your head in disbelief. You've got to be fair to the customer and to yourself. A tricky tightrope to walk.
 
You've also got to remember you will never be able to compete with big brands and chain stores. The only way the can make their goods so cheap is they buy in bulk. Massive quantities. I've been a buyer, i've seen the cost prices for Jewellery and accessories for certain supermarkets and high street stores and their products are not made in the UK either. 
That is what makes us special! Remember that. Our products are made here in the UK and usually by one person. Not a factory. We are putting the personal touch back into business.


So anyway cost adjustments a thing of the past I finally got to a point in June last year where I was happy with the packaging, the concept, the cost. I had the admin under control. 

Our new website launched around the same time, making it easier for our customers to sign up and we also launched on Not on the High Street.






It was fab to be accepted as a partner at Not on the High Street. It's truly taken Habdash to a new level in the last six months.
Not only do we offer a subscription service via our website, but we also offer gift subscriptions via NOTHS and a selection of one-time gift boxes.

Now the challenge is to expand. I had to make the difficult descision to cap the number of monthly subscriptions available. Simply because I still work pretty much full time and packing upwards of sixty boxes monthly takes a long time. I have to spread the work out over about two weeks in order to meet the deadline.

 
 
I want to offer a greater variety of boxes and ones for kiddos too. 
We are all about inspiring you, not instructing you. My children have so many ideas of what they would like to make with EVERYTHING in my studio. 
Someone said to me, that i'll need to provide ideas and instructions if I do boxes for kids. Why? They don't need instructions, they have vivid imaginations (often much better than ours!) and just need the tools and an adult to help with the tricky stuff that requires supervision or an extra pair of hands. We should be encouraging them to think outside the box and be creative, and we, as adults just need to relax and go with it, and also use our own imaginations to help them achieve their ideas.
I shall be testing out some creative boxes on my two in the next couple of months so watch this space!

Now on to the all important celebratory giveaway! To be in with a chance of winning a three month Habdash subscription, all you need to do is repost our competition post on Instagram and tell us what your dream box theme would be!
I will be picking the winner on Valentines Day, Sunday 14th Feb. 

Thank you to all our helpers, supporters, subscribers and customers over this last year. Each and every box or subscription bought makes our dreams come true and we can continue to grow and hopefully soon i can quit the day job and immerse myself in craftyness full time!

Sarah x