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Does anyone run a craft based business from home cakes/gift hampers

(138 Posts)
bigeyes Mon 09-Feb-09 13:40:35

I have toyed with the idea of doing bits and bobs to work from home to top up my part time income from two days work. I dont need to but feel I 'want something' for me. I have considered:

Making and selling cakes - you are allowed to do this on an occasional basis from home via carboots

Selling stuff on ebay - gifts watever I get from wholesale section and breaking it down

Preparing gift hampers and selling them on line and to local area.

I know its tough time and I have a business bakground so know basis of whats involved in setting up for Tax etc but what are your thoughts?

Does anyone do any of the above?

bigeyes Mon 09-Feb-09 14:39:26

bump

bigeyes Mon 09-Feb-09 17:26:35

please anyone?

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 13:03:55

Big eyes - I have too toyed with this idea.

Thought for a time about making perfume and soaps etc to sell at local fairs and possibly to local shops but haven't gone beyond the thinking stage.

I am doing my own cake stall at a sale this Sat but feel this is tricky to make enough fresh ones and get decorated in time. I have made several sponges already and frozen them but know that I prefer fresh. Will also be selling hen and duck eggs and flogging cakes as free range eggs and farmhouse made etc.

I would go for it if I were you. There are no massive set up costs so youcan't lose alot. DH is a bit hmm about my ideas but don't really care about that any more!

Dubh Tue 10-Feb-09 14:40:27

I run an online gift service. Once you're online you're a slave (albeit happy slave) to it - you need to be able to dispatch quickly particularly if you're doing business gifts (always ordered last minute!) and unless you're shutting up shop over holidays you'll need cover.

Very very satisfying though.

bigeyes Tue 10-Feb-09 17:05:58

Thanks Maple and Dubh

I just wanted to hear from people who real (even virtual!!) who have got out there and done it. Having come up with these ideas last year when I was full time and now adjusted to part time I think its time for me to just get on a do it.

Pleased you doing your cakes Maple, my DH never shows any interest and is very risk averse in many ways! I do feel its something I very much need to do on my own. I'd love to leave work too.

Dubh - so slave but satisfying one, hmmm never thought about holidays. Did you use evay to get started or set up own website?

Also has either/anyone used businesslink?

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 17:21:11

I do think I should talk to Business Link - as my other idea is to be a personal assistant for home and business needs. Kind of valet service where I will deal with your dry cleaning, pet sitting, emergency repairs (ie organise a labourer and supervise them), or invoicing, letter writing.

Dunno though - really need to work hard to find my clients on this one though!!

bigeyes Tue 10-Feb-09 17:27:59

Oh mrs maple I thought of that too - a girl after my own heart the women that whizzes and does stuff - I liked the idea of helping out other families and stressed working mums!

I live in west midlands where you?

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 17:51:28

er west midlands - nearly didn't mention it in case I was talking to the competition?

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 17:57:34

the one thing that holds me back is finding clients at the mo.
Do you think that there is a market for this in a recession. I am kind of hoping that I can persuade people along the lines of 'giving them more time to work and then have more time with their families at the weekend'. Just need to get the well heeled professionals.

Dubh Tue 10-Feb-09 18:24:50

There are a lot of people making a success out of being a VA - Virtual Assistant - helping small business owners out on an hourly basis. Established ones charge up to £20/hour, but you'd probably need a speciality to charge that much (bookkeeping, marketing, etc).

If you can get to london, the British Library has an excellent business start up area where you can research different business ideas.

Alternatively take a look at the www.giantpotential.ning.com website where lots of women business owners share info.

Good luck.

(no, I didn't start on e-bay but it's a good place to start...you can get the hang of it before spending a couple of grand on a website)

bigeyes Tue 10-Feb-09 19:11:39

A couple of grand eeeeeek..............

Thanks Dubh

Well Maple, what can I say? I live near an area that is quite affluent, the type that needs to get tree surgeons in to mind their huge gardens with trees that have conservation orders slapped on them. I am sure these households are of the demographic that would use such services.

I just can't decide what to do. I think I will just make an appointment with business link and share my outline ideas to see whats what. The servies and baking dont require much outlay but the gifts would need more stock.

Ebay does seem attractive because you can control how much you put up for sale.

Hope we can support each other Maple whatever we end up doing! grin

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 19:20:55

Good luck Big Eyes - do you think we can really make it?

I know I 'could' but need that sort of entrepreneurial fire in my stomach which I am fighting a bit shy of ATM. Scared to flop I suppose.

I am more south west of the west midlands IYSWIM and quite rural. However, I do know some people at my old firm who I think could use me as they work all hours and cannot possibly have time to do all they need to.

I thought of sending flyers out by email to local firms and also wouldn't mind getting in on one of those Ladies networking type group things.

Dubh - I keep going back to the VA type thing but feel that I don't have fantastic office skills to offer. I could type from tapes which I think would be useful for any firm giving quotes (once met a gardener who had a dictaphone and thought mmmm), general correspondance, invoices, call minding (somehow) as well as offering a filing service where I turn up and sort them out. So really just general office admin I suppose. I have had a look at the Giant potential site and have registered to get further in to it. Thanks for that.

bigeyes Tue 10-Feb-09 19:33:33

Good luck to you Maple too smile I must the admin type work doesnt appeal to me.

I think we could, I met someone who got made redundant and is going to open their own business, she younger than me and has two young children.

Maybe we at the stage where we need to list pros n cons and what our strengths are for ideas. When I looked craft thing last year their are organisations that run the craft fairs and farmers markets, some have strict criteria about what is considered 'craft' (cakes defo) but others less so. You can register with these and do the rounds, but this is more seasonal and require further travel.

During a recession things are quiet but its is stil viable to set up as it gives you time to fine tune your idea and prepare properly before being tempted to dive in - I just read this n a site today.

I have background in Hospitality and a Business related degree so know some basics, but also know that RL is not like a textbook.

As for being scared to flop - a high degree of new start ups do for a variety of reasons, one main one is lack market demand and cashflow. BUT I have always wanted to work for myself and other people do it and suceed to a greater or lesser extent. Would you want to look back and say I wish.... you can develop confidence and learn to pass yourself off and anyway so much communication is doen over the phone and internet.

Maybe look at ebay because I think they advertise services - I'll go look now.

MaplePecanPlait Tue 10-Feb-09 21:05:40

gosh - really services on ebay? Now that's worth a look.

I REALLY want to be my own boss. DH is his own boss and see that it is true freedom and flexibility plus it's all down to you what you make of it isn't it?

I looked in to our local farmers markets and they seem to almost recruit people for what they are selling ie. they need a bread vendor or someone doing organic meat. Suppose so they don't have a glut of jams or something else?

With your hospitality experience could you organise parties for people as part of your service?

bigeyes Tue 10-Feb-09 23:12:50

Maple go onto Ebay and search services from all categories - you'll be amazed what comes up as 'classified ads' just like you'd find in local paper, you can narrow search for your local area. I dont know how this section of ebay works but I do know that you can easily set up paypal to accept business payments and stuff, the have different types of accounts so you can use it like a credit card machine without having to pay high fees of a merchant bank account (I foudn this out last year when I looked into things) basically means you can accept credit cards. You do need to read up on bank accounts for business's as there is muh variation in tarriffs and facilties - I found info about this all off web.

I pledge to do one thing a day to move towards working for myself. I intend to post on this thread.

let me know what you decide Maple and how you get on - I may even meet you at some point at one of these womens netwrk things. The government has allocated specific money for women in business but its restricted to areas that need developing.

HTH Stay in touch x

MaplePecanPlait Wed 11-Feb-09 08:41:01

Thanks for your hints Big Eyes (do you in fact have big eyes?).
I, like you, thought it would be good to keep in touch and will put this thread on a watch to see what you are up to.

I seem to swing between "should I go out and get a job or should I try and go it alone". I know I could earn much more and have more stability (?) getting a job but I really want the flexibility of my own business. I have 4 DCs and quit my last job to spend more quality time with them after all!

I also think it is time for some action and thought about getting in touch with Business Link today to start me off.

Wish you loads of luck and do keep posting, it will encourage me to keep up with you.
smile

no1andno2 Wed 11-Feb-09 09:46:23

Hi Maple

have you contacted WIRE.......Women IN Rural Enterprise ?

They ahve a website.

May help

Good luck

Eddas Wed 11-Feb-09 09:58:24

hi ladies, i've been watching this thread as was interested in the responses. I love making up hampers etc but am not sure I could make moey from ithmm It maybe something I save for doing just at christmas via ebay maybe. Buying bits through the year to make up treat/toy etc etc hampers?

I was also interested in your thoughts on vitual PA type jobs. I'm actually an accountant/bookkeeper and am currently trying to get self employed work, half heartedly atm really, but was going to offer things like typing aswell. Although I'm not a trained typest I do have to write letters and things at work so can type fairly fast!

Do you mind if I also join in updating and sharing on here?

My main issue is how to approach people to offer my work. I currently advertise on Gumtree (a good place to start as it's free) and I have had a few phone calls although only one client from it atm. The problem I have is people want me in office which I can't do. I want to work evenings once dc are in bed.

Do you think a mailshot of local businesses would work? How do I find the businesses, any ideas?!

I look forward to chatting with yousmile

bigcometobedeyes Wed 11-Feb-09 10:35:29

GOOD MORNING everyone...

Welcome Eddas and thanks to NO1andNO2. Yes lets keep updates as and when we take our small steps.

I feel great I have rung businesslink west midlands this morning. I have looked up all the supplier websites I did last year. I plan to do one serach a day on net to fact find.

Ideas for raising your profile as a VA:

Donate a voucher worth so much of your time to local business to use in charity raffle or auction. Think about what groups you are part of or people you know. For example:

Gym
Womens Institute
Nursery
Local Primary - sponsor their flyers for a school event?

It is about rasing your name and profile, exhibiting a good image in community.

I plan to advertise in local neighbourhood directry and neighbourhood watch.

Look up fothcomming events in local area and see if you can get involved.

As a VA I would be pushing the flexibility of your services in that it can SAVE them money as they dont need full time staff.

The local chamber of commerce provide opportunity to network their are different membership options, not to bad a price.

Re networking/selling aspect once you do it first time an get an order/booking, it will spur you one, this will grow with confidence, start over telephone - if you send out letters to target firms follow up with phonecall.

Maple - think all conference facilties in city center we both live on edge of - its there to get stuck into IMO!

MaplePecanPlait Wed 11-Feb-09 17:21:04

Hi all
Welcome to the newbies!!

I have heard of WiRE and seen their website but need to revisit it and get a bit more serious about it all.

On getting actual clients - I was going to contact all the local businesses in my local free paper but think that offering a prize of an hour in a raffle is a brilliant idea. I will def be thinking about that at the next school fair or local fair.

I will also be looking into ebay and gumtree to dip my toes.

Meanwhile got to make about a dozen more cakes for this sale on Sat. Just bought a piping bag and will be trying to pipe meringues to flog too. wink

bigcometobedeyes Wed 11-Feb-09 17:44:21

CALLING DUBH...

Dubh, if you dont mind can you share with me how long you been doing, did you start very small, did you do market research?

Go Maple Go

When I got back in this afternoon, I went on the net and looked at how many gifthamper suppliers there are and it disheartened me somewhat. But I remember reading somewhere not to let this put you off.

I am going to go through very carefully and look to see how I can compete on price and contents.

I even revisited my other ideas but just find this one appeals as I can do it from home and is more flexible.

MaplePecanPlait Wed 11-Feb-09 18:12:33

Bigcome to bed eyes - I am sure you will find your niche hamper. I am getting confused now but was it you with the idea of hampers for new mums? I would love to get one of those if I had a good friend with a newborn. Just simple lovely things that you need and extras like some organic chocs or soap. I am sure a variety would work - so there is one for a gardener (male/female), 18th birthday, Christening/confirmation....

I didn't call Business Link today as got tied up with DH's stuff. Need to be firm and more proactive!

Loving this thread - feel it is really good for all of us. Solidarity and all that!

bigcometobedeyes Wed 11-Feb-09 19:56:44

Yes Ive been doing some more searches and found a websit that will let you order small quantities to put together sample baskets. I have also found some gift suppliers non high street stuff. I would like to find local or regional suppliers of products.

I may contact councils business dvelopment team in morning.

Dubh Wed 11-Feb-09 21:03:02

Hi Bigeyes,

I launched my business about 8 months ago, and it took about a year of planning (but I was post-natally deluded, looking after 3 children aged 4 and under...utter madness...normal people wouldn't take so long!).

I didn't start very, very small but would recommend doing so! I made some expensive mistakes!

Building these things slowly allows you to try out the market and work out the logistics - gift wrapping, mail packaging, couriers/royal mail - before investing lots of money. Also allows you to work out how the kids fit in/don't fit in.

Gifts are a very happy business to be in though!

It's diabolically hard managing kids + your own business but it's wonderful (although I may have been crying yesterday, lol). I had 3 meetings today talking about websites, new product ranges and catalogues and loved every minute of it.

My recommendation to anyone thinking of doing it? Make sure you have enough free time available to give it a proper go. And don't worry about having a fully formulated plan. That'll happen once you start talking to people about your ideas and investigating them more fully. You just need to be open to altering your plans as you learn more!

Sorry, that's an awfully long post...

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