Mumpreneur Profile: Hazel of Crafty ‘n’ Clothy

Name of Business:  Crafty ‘n’ Clothy 

Tell us about your family: I’m Hazel, married to Alan and we have a daughter Erin who was born in April 2007. We live in Leeds. Where possible we try to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle.

When did you launch? I launched my store in February 2008.

How did you go about getting started? To be honest I probably didn’t do as much research and planning as I should have done. A friend told me about – a site that offers online stores to work at home mums. I was doing some crafting at the time; jewellery making and sewing and we’d been using cloth nappies and natural toiletries on Erin almost from birth. I decided I wanted to do more to promote the use of reusable, eco-friendly, natural products but also wanted to continue my crafting so Crafty ‘n’ Clothy was born! I started finding wholesalers and I decided on new products as I went along. I probably made lots of mistakes along the way but it’s a learning curve.

What is your unique selling point? At Crafty ‘n’ Clothy we believe that going green doesn’t have to cost money. In fact most of our products are actually cheaper than the products you can buy on the high street. For example, our soapnuts (a natural, eco-friendly alternative to washing powder) are not only cheaper than washing powder (based on price per wash) but they can also be used to make multi-surface cleaner, thus saving the cost of cleaning products too. Washable nappies & sanitary wear may cost more initially but they work out much cheaper than the disposable alternatives pretty quickly. We stock products that help the earth and your pocket!

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it? It has been difficult advertising on a low budget. Having a presence on internet forums certainly helps. I’ve also learnt a lot about judging how good a deal really is and what questions to ask. It can also be difficult when you attend craft fairs and don’t sell very much. I now go to craft fairs thinking of the costs as an ‘advertising fee’ – it’s how much I’m paying to get my products noticed and hand out business cards to anyone who’ll take one. Anything I sell is a bonus and I’ve got better at choosing fairs that are good value for money.

How do you fit in work with the family? My working hours are rather chaotic, to say the least. My daughter always comes first and always will. I pack orders up as soon as I get them. If it’s in the morning, my husband takes them to the post office on his way back to work after lunch. If I get them in the afternoon and can get to the post office I will, otherwise they go the next day. I do most of my crafting in the evening while my husband plays with Erin, I think it’s nice for them to have time together so it works out quite well. I try to update the website when she’s having a nap or watching Peppa Pig!

What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area? Do plenty of planning and research before you start up. Visit craft fairs before booking them unless you’re sure it’ll be a good one. Being a work at home mum isn’t easy, it’s like having two full time jobs.

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