You may recall earlier in the week I interviewed my mum about how it was setting up a business as a woman back in the late seventies, celebrating women in the build up to International Women's Day on Saturday 8th March. Today I'm talking to another woman who's set up shop, the very talented Rebecca Kiff. Rebecca set up an online shop last year, RebeccaKiff.com, to showcase and sell her illustrations, selling prints, cards, phone cases, tea towels, invitations, bags, commissions and more...
... and she's kindly given me some of her time, to answer some questions.
When and why did you first think about setting up shop?
I started thinking about setting up shop a couple of years ago. After selling my artwork privately (and sporadically!) for a while, I really started to get serious about it last year. Since then it has gone from strength to strength! I have always been business minded and have always been attracted to working for myself. (I started a piano teaching business at the age of 18!) Being a creative person too, made this a natural progression for me. I love being able to share my illustrations with people and being able to sell my products makes it a viable business option.
What did people think about you setting up your own business?
Thankfully, people around me have been very supportive. Friends and family have been very interested in what I do and are always open to giving advice. No one has ever told me that I shouldn't do what I do. My husband also works for himself, so he totally "gets it". His support for what I do is never ending.
What challenges did you face?
Getting my work and name out there was a huge challenge. I didn't know where to start! I had to work very hard to find people willing to house my work and to gain a wider audience. There is still room for improvement there, but getting onto Not On The High Street was a real step up, as well as being selected for the Etsy UK and West Elm London Pop Up Shop.
Manufacturing costs was also a real concern, as I was starting from scratch and using my own money to get everything going. I just had to start small and very gradually build up my stock and expand my product lines.
What did you learn along the way?
Along the way, the most important thing I learnt was not to rush anything! When I get inspiration and ideas, I get very excited and have a tendency to leap into things. It has been a real learning experience, taking my time over new products, testing them out thoroughly and making sure they are the best they can possibly be. Spend a bit of extra time over each project has been worth it!
What were the best things about running your own business?
I LOVE being my own boss. I get a real satisfaction from knowing that the rewards I get from work are because of all my hard work. I rely on my small businesses as my only source of income and get a buzz from seeing them succeed. Being creative and running a business are two things that I am very passionate about, so I feel fortunate that I can do both!
If you could turn back time and do it all again, what would you change?
This is a hard question for me, as my shop and illustration work are still relatively quite new. Maybe ask me that question again in a years time!
Huge thanks to Rebecca for allowing me to pester and question her! International Women's Day is on the 8th March, more information can be found here.