Turning you passion, skill and craft into a business is the dream of many, but putting that dream into reality can work. Find out how married mum of three, Teresa Hamilton, 52, has done just that with her business, East is East.
Running a hobby/craft-based business sounds like fun, and one would imagine that the cost of materials leaves you laughing all the way to the bank. Is it really that easy?
No! It involves a lot of angst and courage.
How do you work out what to charge customers for your creations?
I ask myself what would I pay for this item, and then consider the effort involved in its production and try and find something similar on the market to make sure I’ve pitched it about right.
Do you think you can lose money in this type of business?
Yes! I might love my products, but what if no one else does?
How do you help out friends and family without being out of pocket?
I worked out what my profit margins were and agreed right from the start to have a policy of 10% discount to friends and family to be fair to everyone.
What work did you do before you set up your company?
I was a teacher, I ran my own sugaring business, worked as a cabin crew and as a photographer.
How did you fund the business?
What are your running costs?
Minimal, now that it is set up.
Do you employ anyone or use any form of help?
My husband is there to bounce ideas off and to help out with paperwork.
What was the motivating factor for staring your own business?
I LOVE working for myself, adore the products and wanted to provide home accessories that were a bit different.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
The excitement of sales, arranging my own schedule, meeting people and sourcing the products.
Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
Absolutely – the high of the first sale and the low of worrying about the debt involved and whether it will be a success.
How have you managed to stay on top of your career with the demands of motherhood while running a business?
Not on top but half way up. Luckily my children aren’t so â€˜hands on’ any more, although they still need me to be there. But I get frustrated that there isn’t enough time in the day to write as much as I want – I’m just having my first ebook Choices published on Amazon. I try to juggle one day writing and one day East is East, but it doesn’t always work so neatly. The house is often a tip and the fridge empty – something has to give. I’m not superwoman.
How has running your business impacted on your relationship with your partner and children?
They are very tolerant and supportive and, ultimately, their needs always come first – it’s all a huge balancing act.
Any tips for expectant mums, or mothers who feel that you can’t have a successful career and a happy family life at the same time?
1. Always try. You will find support comes from unexpected places.
2. If you are passionate about what you do this enthusiasm rubs off on others.
3. You may have to lower standards in other areas of your life i.e. the house, but ask yourself what really matters to you and prioritise. A bit of dust isn’t the end of the world.
It is hugely rewarding and I always think that if Jo Malone and Chrissie Rucker can do it – so can I!