Clare Agate, 29.
Tell us about your family: I married my husband, Paul, in September 2007 and we have a one year old daughter called Lily. We live in Bracknell, Berkshire.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I trained in Multimedia Technology at university and since completing my degree have worked as a software trainer for different companies. I have always wanted to run my own business, and that combined with my love of online shopping and my Mum’s creative flair for wrapping presents, Funky Wrapping was born! I am very lucky to have my Mum to take care of the day to day running of the business so I can still work full time as a software trainer, and then use the evenings once Lily has gone to bed to spend time updating our website and looking at potential marketing opportunities. Luckily I love being busy!
When did you launch?
How did you get started?
Once my Mum and I had come up with the initial idea, I quickly found a company to design a website for us. Once we had some stock we were up and running and raring to go!
What research did you do before launching?
Having high quality and funky products is absolutely critical to us, so a lot of time was spent finding a variety of suitable suppliers of products.
How have you funded the business?
The initial outlay was not big, so myself and my Mum managed to fund that on our own. We have since been very careful at budgeting and only purchasing additional stock, or invested in marketing when we have sold enough products to afford it!
We mainly use Google adwords at the moment, however, we have just started working with a great PR company called Tally Communications to get the name out there, and moving forward would like to spend some money investing in search engine optimization so we are less dependant on Google Adwords for traffic.
What has worked well about your business?
We spent a lot of time getting things right from the beginning, even to the extent of putting multiple test orders through, and putting the products in the post back to ourselves so we could ensure the ordering process was trouble free to our customers and they received their orders in perfect condition.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
I think so far my biggest challenge has been making decisions about how to market the business and take it forward. There are a lot of services out there, and you could spend a huge amount of money for not much in return, so it is qualifying what is going to work well for us and what will be worth the money spent.
How do you fit in work with the family?
With difficulty sometimes! I am really lucky to have amazing family and friends who are always willing to help us with the business where required and of course childcare!
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Go for it. It is the best thing I ever did, but just make sure your realistic about how much time it takes running it day to day, and how much time it takes to establish the business.
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