How I started my small business during the pandemic! Selling Handmade Terrazzo Home Decor Q&A

How I started my small business during the pandemic! Selling Handmade Terrazzo Home Decor Q&A

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Hey guys welcome to my YouTube channel! My  name is Paulina and I run my own handmade   home decor business. I make things using material called  Jesmonite, which is an eco-friendly   type of resin based on cement and acrylic liquid.  I started my business during a pandemic last year   it's been a crazy crazy time since then. I  have over 70 000 followers on my Instagram   and more than a hundred thousand on my Tiktok  as well which is how I've been able to grow my   business into a full-time job. I thought you know  let's join the YouTube family as well so here we   are and I wanted to start off today by answering  some questions that my lovely Instagram followers   have left me. I've got a whole page of questions  to answer for you guys! I hope you guys don't   mind but while we are chatting here I'm gonna do  some work, basically I have my thank you cards   which have a little scratch-off code at the back  and I stick these little scratch stickers that I   get from amazon onto them um making it like this  like a little scratch card for 10 % off discount.  

My first question is "did you do this part  time before you quit your nine to five?"   Yes when I first started my business last year  I was on furlough and had quite a lot of time.   So when Covid happened I was working a full-time  job in the design industry, actually I was working   for a huge retailer... I was designing prints  for clothes, for women's fashion to be precise.   You know I was in an entry position so I didn't  actually get to do that much designing. A lot   of my job was admin work but I'd already been  working there for like a year, uh when I was put   on furlough because of Covid. So my furlough time  was only about two or three months, in that time I   started creating my handmade homeware. When I went  back to my full-time job, yes I continued doing   my own business around my nine to five. Just sort  in the evenings and on the weekends. So I was  

basically working two full-time jobs at that point  because I already had quite a few orders. When it   hit October time I was already receiving quite a  few orders, so it was really busy and really hard   to do both. The second question is "Are the long  hours worth it?" . I think for me yes, I'd say   it depends on what kind of person you are. Like  the reason I didn't want to stay at my 9 to 5 was   because I was just doing whatever someone else  was wanting me to do, which is the case even when   you're working even as a designer. When you're  working in a large company you don't actually have  

any ownership over any of your designs. You're  designing what someone tells you to design,   you're designing it to a style that someone else  likes and just overall it doesn't feel very fun.   When I found Jesmonite I sort of felt like this is  what I needed, this is what I wanted to do. For me   the long hours are worth it. "How did you learn  to do this?" "How did you get into what you're  

doing?" " How do you do this?" all these kinds  of questions well if you guys watch my videos   my reel videos and my Tiktoks then you, know you  can kind of see how I'm doing it anyway. But how I   learned to do it was I was scrolling through the  Resin8 website, which by the way you can get 15   off from if you use the code Paulina because I'm  a brand superstar. So I was scrolling through the   Resin8 website because I was looking for the right  type of resin to make coasters with. The reason I  

was looking for resin was because my friends had  just bought their own house and I wanted to get   them a housewarming gift, and I thought you know  if I could make them something... I had all this   spare time on my hands because I was on furlough I  figured if I can make them something that would be   fun. I sort of started an Instagram account where  I was creating print designs at the same time,   because you know I am a print designer. That's  when I stumbled upon Jesmonite and I ordered it   but I didn't use it in the way that I use it now.  I tried to make the underneath of a coaster using   Jesmonite, then sink a picture that I drew into  it, then cover it with epoxy resin. Which probably  

would have worked if I had more experience working  with either material, but at the time I didn't so   it was a complete fail. That's when I was like oh  well... I have this leftover Jesmonite I wonder   what else you can do with it? So I looked up  Resin8 on YouTube and they actually have quite   a few tutorials, so if you haven't seen them  do go have a look at the tutorials. And that's   how I learned how to make terrazzo. "How did you  feel since going full-time? Any tips for taking a   jump?" I was absolutely terrified, the good thing  for me is that I don't live alone, I live with my   boyfriend who also works full-time job. I mean if  anything went really really bad and I had no money   then at least I had my boyfriend to fall back  on and any of our savings. I did have a bit of  

savings before I left, I was at the point where I  was making the same amount of money from my small   business as I was making for my full-time job. It  felt like you know, I could take this further I   could take this beyond my normal full-time pay.  Though bear in mind I was in an entry position   so I wasn't getting paid that much and I had to  spend 500 pounds a month on trains to London.   As soon as we knew that we were heading back to  the office back, to commuting into London that's   when I was like I don't want to live that life  anymore. I was always travel sick on the trains,  

I didn't enjoy it. I spoke to my boyfriend, I mean  this was a conversation we were having for weeks.   One day his mom called him and she was like  "your girlfriend is working herself sick,   she needs to quit that job already!" so that's  when he was finally like "right do it because   I don't want you to you know, hate your life.  Doing both these things as you're clearly enjoying   it, you're putting so much effort into it". He  said do it and the next day I handed in my notice.   Do I have any advice for taking the jump? I think  you just need to feel ready, you need to know   that you're gonna have something to fall back on ,  some kind of safety net and if you decide that you   actually don't like doing this is it easy to get  back into your industry? Wherever you're working   currently, I knew that if I wanted to go back into  print design I can because my job is still very   creative. I can actually do print design alongside  this if I want to. I could freelance somewhere!   All those things are still a possibility. I  sort of said to myself I'll give myself a year,   and if after a year's time I don't like doing this  anymore then I can still go back to my industry   because I'm still young and they still have  this experience that I've already gained in it.  

"What's your favourite item you've ever  created?" I'm gonna plonk some pictures on here,   so you guys can have a look. Everything that I  make is made in moulds. Like this is for example   a pot that's currently in a meld, I do have to  demould it. So I can pour into any kind of shape   of mould I have, that process is always the same.  And then I have to sand. So making different items  

I don't really have favourites because it's  basically the same thing, but I do have   favourites over the colours that I make them in. " How do you do the flakes? My flakes move and   jesmonite covers them" Well, you mix the flakes  into the base. Um I'm not really gonna go into how   I produce things too much in this video because  I am planning to make another video on this. But   yeah you basically, you mix the flakes into your  base colour and you pour it, so you don't actually   position them yourself. They do move around,  that's normal. I need some water, be right back!  "Why terrazzo homeware? What do you like most  about your work?" When I started making stuff   I was having a lot of fun, because it brought  me back to the days when I was at university.  

We used to learn a lot of screen printing, a lot  of that was experimenting with mixing colours.   Experimenting with different fabrics, different  kinds of dyes, all that sort of stuff and it was   quite chemical because of all the... you had  to mix like different formulations of dyes.   That reminded me of when I first started working  with Jesmonite. When you're like weighing it all  

out with a scale mixing all the colours, you  know remembering colour theory. All of the   sorts of things is something that I do enjoy  doing. Plus I've always loved making things,   ever since I was little I used to make things.  And what do I like most about my work? Is the  

freedom to work from where I want to work from.  So currently I'm obviously working from my home.   This is my little studio room and it's just  next to my bedroom and the other thing is,   that you know I get to be my own boss. I get to  do what I want to do. I do love connecting with   loads of people online. I have so many amazing  followers who engage with me all the time.   It's like having loads of online friends. "Would you consider expanding your business   in the near future?" Yes actually I am, I am  trying to expand. It's uh, it's you know...  

it's not as easy as you think it would be. I  want to get my own studio but I need to be able   to have it locally. Like I definitely don't want  to commute, so that's my main thing is I want to   be able to find a studio space that I can walk or  cycle to. You know unfortunately, that is proving   very hard. I've seen a few spaces that could have  been affordable for me, but they wouldn't have  

been the right size and the right location. And  so therefore I'm still looking and until I have   a studio space I can't hire anyone, to expand it  in that side. I can't have anyone come to my home,   I live in a building of flats and you know my  room overall... this little walk space is just   too narrow to have two people walking around  in it. Yes I am hoping to expand my business,  

but for now I just have my mom who sometimes helps  out. But she works from her own home and she's   taken over some of my orders. She's doing them  from her own house and shipping them out for me. "Any specific detail that you don't enjoy so much?  like suppose sanding or your artwork or something   similar." Yes I mean the sanding, can get a bit um  annoying … because, only because it takes such a   long time. Like I don't actually mind the sanding  it's just when I'm sanding some really big, or   just really inconvenient items. Unlike flat thing,  and my pots are actually not that bad to sand, But   there's certain items that are a bit  harder to sand. That's when it gets  

not as enjoyable. I also don't like dealing  with whenever things go missing in the post,   or broken in the post. Things like that, that's uh  something that you know, no one will enjoy having   to remake things because the postal service messed  up, but it does happen. Luckily not very often!

"Did you ever imagine yourself creating these  beautiful products?" No, when I studied at   university I studied to do fashion. When I  went to my job I was also working on fashion,   but it was still a creative role. A lot of  it was about colours, overall I did have a   lot of transferable skills, which helped  with this. like i wouldn't have known how   to design my own "thank you" cards, if I hadn't  gone to university to study design. We had to   design our own portfolios, all of that stuff  which translated into what I'm doing now. But   I did not imagine myself making homewares.  Actually making homewares from scratch.

"I would love to know how did you create  your website?" For my website I used the   Wix website builder. I chose it because  that's where we built our portfolios when we   were at university. I already knew how to use it,  however as a website there are limitations to it.   I currently can't integrate my Click and Drop  account into it because the integration's not   in place yet. Whereas there is one with Shopify.  Shopify does have some benefits over using Wix,   so I would definitely recommend you doing your  research before you just go into one of these.   Use a website builder, if you're wanting to build  a website on your own and you don't know how to   code one. Or however you do one from scratch...  I have no idea! I just plonked some nice things  

on my website, and that's how I did it. "As a small business owner, how was it in the   beginning when you were having low sales?" At the  beginning this was just a hobby for me, I didn't   really think that it would ever become a full-time  business. I didn't start with a business plan,   I just I didn't have that kind of vision for  it at the time. I just started experimenting   and I sold some of the things that I made.  I was working with one one-off made items,   like listing them and selling them as one-offs.  Now I'm making things to order and everyone   can buy whichever item they like, whichever they  want. That just sort of means it's more accessible  

to everyone, because things started selling out  for me really quickly once I started gaining my   following on Instagram and Tiktok. It was slow  at the beginning, but I didn't mind that because   I was still learning. Actually whenever I did  get orders, I used to get really really nervous   because I was like "oh what if they  receive it, and they don't like it?"   especially selling on a platform like  Etsy. Where I started, it was a bit  

worrying... like what if I get bad reviews  or people don't like what I'm selling them.   What if they don't like my packaging? Because you  see so many nightmare situations on Instagram,   of people posting this happen, and you're just  like I really hope it doesn't happen to me. "Your favourite part of the business? and  the biggest struggle of your business?"   My biggest struggle, let's start with that! It's  not having enough time. If I had all the time in  

the world I would do everything. I have so many  people requesting me to make certain colours   or certain patterns, and everything it's just so  difficult. Bringing out more different versions   when ever I bring out another colour, I have to  make like 20 different products in it. Finding  

the time to work on these extra things alongside  making orders, which sometimes it's extremely busy   for me, that's the difficult part. That's when  I end up working really long hours, so that is a   struggle. My favourite parts, I've kind of already  gone over : it is being my own boss, it's you know   doing what I like doing and I enjoy talking with  you guys, being on my social media. It's fun! I have a few that I just say "colours" , "colours"  "I would like to know how you get the colours"   The colours are just like pigments, which you  can also get from Resin8. They come in red,  

yellow, blue, and I think they have green, white  and black. There are a few other shades as well,   but basically you do have to learn the colour  theory and you do have to mix your colours.   You don't have an orange dye, you would mix your  red and yellow. You don't have a purple dye,   you're mixing blue and red. That's the basis of  it , and it is all just about mixing it. I might  

make another video going more about the colour  theory and mixing colours of Jesmonite, if you   guys were interested in that? Do leave that in the  comments and I will try and make another video. "How you got to working full time for yourself?"  I mean it wasn't instant. Let's start with that.   I started my business around June last year, it  was around October time that my sales started to   really pick up. It was getting to the point that I  was working outside my full-time job, really long   hours to try and fulfil all the orders. That's  when I moved to selling things in restocks way,   as in making the items first and selling them  after. From here my items started selling out   really quickly, every time I launched them.  Because I was getting quite a few followers...  

I think I was on like 10 000 followers at that  point things were selling quickly. I only had   you know, one or two of each item in stock. I did  like that way of working because it then meant   that I could dispatch things really easily,  really quickly when things sold. I left my job,   I think I handed in my notice, in April 2021.  I worked through May and I left at the end of   May. When I finally left my full-time job, at  that point I was making similar income from my  

job as my own business. That was sort of a sign  that, you know I could make the same amount   of money I was making from it by doing you less  hours on it, than my job. If you're enjoying doing   it and it's sustainable enough for you to do it.  That's when you realize you can do it full-time. I   don't know... I don't think I really answered that  question. That's really, it's hard to answer. Like  

how did you get to working full-time? I  started getting sales and I was getting   these sales because I grew my following, and  I sold my product well on my social media.  "How did you get wholesale orders?" I get  wholesale orders by people messaging me or   emailing me. You do need to have a wholesale  price list, I actually might do another whole   video about this because that's another thing.  With wholesale you need to make sure that you   price your products right, so that you can give  a generous discount to whoever wants to stock   your products. If someone likes your products they  will reach out to you and ask you whether you're  

selling wholesale. You can have information on  your website or on your Instagram. Something   saying "wholesale orders welcome" and you do  have to make sure you give a generous discount,   so that whoever wants to resell your  products, gets a part of the profit too. "What a day looks like? Can you have a work-life  balance working for yourself?" I mean this is   a question that would be different for everyone.  Personally I am trying to do a bit too much right   now, on my own... And I would love to have someone  helping me here, one or two days a week. As I said   until I have a studio I can't have anyone.  For now I am taking on all these things,   which are helping me save for when I do  finally have a studio. I don't mind because  

I really have nothing else to do. If you have  a busy social life and you go out every evening   it might be difficult for you. For me, my friends  don't live very close to me, my boyfriend is in   the other room and he just likes to sit there and  play his games. We don't really spend the entire   evening together. I don't mind working a bit  extra in the evenings or working on the weekends,   like right now it's Saturday, I haven't got  anything else to do. Yes you work long hours,   if you want to, you don't  have to if you don't want to! "I'd love to see a video about how you  started, what was hard and what was easy? etc"  This is really hard to answer because I can't  really remember. I don't have any videos of  

then anymore because my phone storage got full up,  so I deleted them. The only thing I remember being   really really hard at the beginning was sanding.  Figuring out how much to sand how long to spend   sanding something, when do I finally say it's  enough . I realized that because my products,   at the beginning were really badly made they  had a lot of flaws, which meant sanding was   longer. As you get better at it it does get  easier. I hope that answers the question...? 

"What job did you do before you started  this?" I have already explained that,   which was printed textile  design or women's fashion. "Do you think you would be doing this if  Covid lockdown or furlough hadn't happened ?"  I doubt it, honestly I don't know. I mean before  we went into Covid lockdown I was commuting   to London, potentially I would have left my job  anyway if we were still commuting because I didn't   enjoy the commute. But if I had left my job I  don't know whether I would have found Jesmonite.   It's possible I would have just  ended up working freelance instead,   which is actually what i wanted to  do initially before I took that job. In this time that we've been talking  I've done this many stickers.  

This is probably only about 60 or  70 and I have a thousand to do. "What are your hobbies? what things do you  enjoy? "This is going to be embarrassing for me!   Playing video games, my boyfriend is just like  me. I already mentioned he plays video games,   I do that as well but nowhere near as much as him.   We of bonded over the fact that  we both like playing video games.

Someone did ask me how to make  different melds from silicone,   you just pour silicone over an object but  there are tutorials on it already on YouTube.   If you would like me to make a  tutorial I could try and do that.   Leave a comment below if you'd like me to  do a silicone meld making tutorial video! So yeah in general the other questions I had  were quite similar to the answers I've already   given so I do hope these answer to questions.  If you do have any more questions pop them in  

the comments below I hope you guys enjoyed this  q and a video. My next video is probably going   to be a studio vlog. I've got things coming up  that I want to film and record to show you guys.   Which I can't really do in the form of reels  or Tiktoks . you know they are 30 second videos   so it's hard to capture these things.  I am really excited to start vlogging.  

I hope you guys like this kind of side of  things, watching more of day-to-day running   the business. And the weird things that happen  to me sometimes, because that's basically what   the channel is going to be about. I will  be doing some small business tips videos.   I might do some tutorial videos, if you  guys would like to see that side of things.

If you have any questions or anything  that you'd like to see from my channel   leave a comment! Don't forget to subscribe  and I will see you next time! Byeeeee!

2021-09-09 22:59

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