Meet Hannah, the founder of Paper and Wool and one of the partners at Notonthehighstreet.com. Hannah creates handmade nursery decorations and gifts for special occasions, a fitting idea for the home of small creative businesses, Notonthehighstreet.com. NOTHS are a community of creative people and ideas through sellers and buyers alike. Hannah shares her business development story with us and how NOTHS has been the perfect platform for her SME to begin its journey. Read on to find out more about Paper and Wool and how you can get involved with Notonthehighstreet.com:
Please, can you introduce your business?
Paper and Wool was established in 2015, creating handmade nursery decorations and gifts for baby showers, birthdays and the home. I love simple and contemporary design that makes a room come to life without being too overpowering. I strive to create beautiful, clean designs that complement any room or event.
When did you first have your idea and what were your next steps?
My idea to create the products I currently make was after my sister wanted something unique and stylish to add to her new babies nursery, I then made her some cloud bunting as a gift and soon after realised that I could sell them and create a collection of products based off of my original design.
What were you doing before starting?
Before I started my business, I was working as a Presentation Designer in an office which I didn’t particularly enjoy as I couldn’t be as creative as I wanted to be so in my spare time at work I began researching how to set up my own business.
Have you always been entrepreneurial?
I’ve always wanted to be self-employed and run my own business when I was about 8 or 9 I remember drawing some greetings cards and asking my mum if I could go to the corner shop and ask them if they’d sell my cards! Even though I always knew I wanted my own business I struggled for a while to decide what I wanted to sell as I had so many ideas running around in my head, once I had the inspiration from my new baby niece being born and creating decorations for her nursery I knew I had products that other people would buy.
How has the marketplace notonthehighstreet.com helped you to grow your business?
Since being on notonthehighstreet.com my business has grown dramatically, it has given me the reach of customers that I could never have gained on my own in such a short amount of time. The help from staff and being able to see my best sellers grow has given my business more direction and helped me to add so many more products and know that the notonthehighstreet.com customer will love them as much as I do.
Could you tell us about your experience with Pitch Up?
What would your advice be to others going through it this year? Attending the Pitch Up event was the best thing I ever did. Selling my products on notonthehighstreet.com was one of my biggest dreams for my business, being fairly new and still finding my way I hadn’t considered applying until my business had grown and until I thought I was ready. But then when I was scrolling through twitter one day and saw the advert for Pitch Up I got that knotted feeling in my stomach that I knew this was something I had to go for. Without going to the Pitch Up event I wouldn’t have realised my business was ready to grow that much and that I was ready to make it happen, I would possibly still be sat thinking how much I’d love to work with notonthehighstreet.com and how great my business could be. I needed that little push to get my business off the ground and Pitch up really helped me. My advice for anyone thinking about attending a Pitch up event would be to just go for it! What have you got to lose? I went to it thinking it’d just be nice to get some feedback from people who really know what they’re talking about and could give me some great advice. Of course, I was praying they would want to sign me up but I never thought it would actually happen. Whether I had have been accepted or not it was a great step for my business and a huge confidence boost.
What are your future plans for Paper and Wool?
My future plans for Paper and Wool are big! I am always striving to grow my business and products but I also know that sometimes the inspiration for your next best seller can come from anywhere so I try not to over plan or overthink things.
What is your USP?
I believe my USP is that everything comes from me, I hand make every decoration that is hung in someone’s nursery and personalise it to make the customer feel extra special. I source and design all of my products with great attention to detail and admittedly I am a massive perfectionist which means I know that I can say that my products are the best quality and I offer the best service I can for my customers.
From your experience how can small companies retain loyal customers?
I think the greatest thing you can offer your customers is not your products but your customer service. That’s what makes people remember your company and makes them want to shop with you again because they had a great experience and received a beautiful product that they couldn’t get anywhere else.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt from running your own business?
The greatest lesson I have learnt is don’t compare your business and your journey to anyone else’s. Stay true to what you believe your products and business should be about, it’s easy to get swept away in seeing other people’s social media and beating yourself up that maybe you’re not as good as you should be but those things are someones highlight reel and you can’t compare your whole journey to someone else’s highlights. I’ve learnt to just keep doing what I’m doing and know that I’m creating the best I can and the happy customers prove I must be doing something right!
Notonthehighstreet.com is launching Pitch Up again for 2017 in a hunt to find the best new creative talent from across the UK. Pitch Up provides small creative businesses with the opportunity to pitch their products and gift ideas to notonthehighstreet.com’s experts in the hope of joining the site as a new Partner (seller).
Pitch Up is free and open to everyone, launching in Richmond, London on 25th February and in Edinburgh, Scotland on 9th March. To secure a place at this years Pitch Up simply book at: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/pitchup