We’re back again with one of our favourite new features, Behind the Business. Today we have Fran from Fall For DIY and We Make Collective chatting about her business. Fran is based in Birmingham and her blog is packed full of tutorials. So, over to Fran!
Hello! I’m Fran. I live in Birmingham in the UK and I am a blogger and creative cheerleader. I use all sorts of different crafts to explore ways of creating over on my blog Fall For DIY. I like to try to push the boundaries or find new and interesting ways to create beautiful and useful items from both traditional and emerging crafts.
I started We Make Collective just under one year ago to help encourage others to do the same. I wanted push all of our own boundaries and ideas of craft and preconceptions of our ability to be creative.
- What made you decide to start your own business?
I have been blogging for around five years and I’ve always wanted to turn this into a full time, creative business. I have always been interested in lifting the connotations of craft which I think have changed vastly in the past 15 years. I love that design and craft have become so closely entwined and that has always been an important idea to me. Blogging was one of the only ways I could explore this more and it progressed from there.
- Who is in your team and what are their roles?
I write my blog Fall For DIY and tackle all the day to day jobs for that side of the business. When it comes to We Make Collective I have a team of tutorial contributors and our two social media managers (Claire from ClaireabelleMakes and Steph from Make and Tell) who help me keep everything running smoothly. I could not do it all without them!
- What does a typical work day look like to you?
I have to say I don’t have a typical work day. Every day is different and because of the variety in my business haven’t settled into a schedule yet. I can say I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and ebooks, writing emails and tidying up! I try to add something creative to each day even if that is just working on a larger project for 10 minutes or researching fun new ideas for projects!
- What did you find most difficult when you were starting out?
Knowing what to charge is always difficult when you’re starting out. It gets easier, not because you discover what you should be charging, but because you value your work and your time so much more once you have spent some time trying to make a living from it!
- What has been your biggest business success?
Creating a thriving community who support and encourage each other to be creative. Our hashtag #wemakecollective now has over 20,000 posts and our community is growing all the time. There’s nothing better than seeing someone try a new skill with our kits and find out that they love it!
- Have you had any business failures? If so, how have you learned from them?
I have had a lot of failures! But I think it’s important to have them and I’d even go as far as saying you need them to be successful. Learning from getting it wrong gives you a hands on understanding of what you need to do, what your market wants and the best way to work towards your goals.
My biggest failure was the launch of my first kit company 4 years ago. I didn’t understand the need to build an audience or just how much you actually need to promote a product to sell it. I learnt a lot of valuable lessons about why someone will and won’t buy into you and/or what you’re selling which has helped me create a more successful brand the second time around with We Make Collective.
Have you had to make any sacrifices for the sake of your business?
There are definitely a lot of sacrifices to be made when starting a business. Mostly your time and money. So, yeah, all the important things. I have missed out on holidays and festivals, and had to live life like a hermit for a while. I do feel like these were necessary and important sacrifices I had to make to grow but as the business get busier, so do I. It’s definitely important to factor in your social life and ensure you make time for it or you will burn out and that’s no fun at all!
- What do you find is the worst part of running a business?
Second guessing every single decision you make! You need to have full confidence in yourself to run a business which no one ever told me. I’ve been learning to trust my intuition more and commit to my decisions. That’s not always easy though. It helps to build a network of like minded business friends who can help you work through some of the trickier choices you have to make.
- … and the best part?
Building something you love and are proud of.
What would be your top piece of advice to someone just starting out?
Dig your heels in and keep going. It’s going to get harder but it’s so worth powering through. Take calculated risks and learn as much as you can whenever you can. Podcasts are your best friends from now on.
- At the moment I am sewing/making…..
- I’ve just started knitting my first cardigan.
- While I’m making I listen to…..
- Myths and Legends Podcast! It’s not as geeky as it sounds (ok, it is but it’s also really awesome!)
- If I had two extra hours in the day I would….
- have to drink more coffee I can barely stay awake by the end of the day as it is ;D
Hannah + Rosie