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 How I started my business making bespoke homemade gifts!

little red

I can remember the day so clearly.

My baby was 5 months old and napping in her bouncer. I would normally collapse and revel in the peace and quiet, but that day, the day it all began, I needed something to do. 

For once the house was tidy and a wash was on, dog walked and tea sorted. Twiddling my thumbs I thought I would look for a name plaque I wanted for Little Red’s room. I trawled the internet, wondering why it was so hard to find something I liked. I found plaques that were too plain, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I wanted something different, something as unique as my little girl! When I did find something I liked I was shocked at the price, £89.99 for a name plaque? I could win the lottery and still think that was ridiculous. Then I thought I will just make my own! Within minutes I had added some items to my shopping basket and had my PayPal password ready to purchase them. But then I thought what else could I make, how much would things cost, can I paint as well with emulsion as I can watercolours, would my husband think the idea brewing in my head right now is crazy….well he didn’t. My husband thought my idea was a “brilliant” one.

When he walked in the door from work I flew at him “I’m starting a business!”. By the time he had listened to all of my ramblings and seen how excited I was, he sat me down and told me to write a list of 5 things I would like to make. He agreed to let me use some of our savings for a few pots of paint, wood and tools and told me to go for it! Then he asked if I had a name for my new little business. That was simple, I would name my business after the lady who inspired it, Little Red. Little Red’s Homemade Gifts was born and planned in one afternoon. Easy!

My husband is a Business Development officer for our local Council, the perfect man to help me get started. Also the perfect man to be organised and keep me grounded when my ideas started to become more and more elaborate. I needed to be sensible, register my business, learn the financial and record keeping side of things. He enrolled me in some classes that he helped run through our council called Business Enterprise Gateway (Found Here), helping people just like me get started. I went to every one of the classes and had one on one advice, I still go and see my lovely business advisor Nigel, he’s an absolute star and doesn’t mind that Little Red steals his pens when we go to visit!
little red logo

By this point I was already trading, doing quite nicely for such a brand new business and was really enjoying myself juggling my  creations with my real Little Red, who would sit in her bouncer for hours watching me (hopefully learning the trade so she can take over one day!). I had my lovely friend Polly, a very talented artist, draw for me my beautiful Little Red character, based on the real lady with her own ideas filling the gaps. (Polly’s work is here

Then I received an email from a local shop in Harrogate, they had seen my work and wanted to meet with me about possibly stocking in their shop! I couldn’t believe it. That was the point when I thought maybe I can do this, if my work is good enough for such a nice shop, then maybe this could be my REAL job! The day I went to meet with the owner was the day I took the biggest leap of faith in my life. I went from the meeting having agreed on several samples to be made for them, straight to the solicitors I worked for and I resigned. Despite being scared and nervous I had done the right thing, I left with the biggest smile on my face, and somehow it felt like I was going to be doing the job I should have been doing all along.

Fast forward a year and here I am, have had work accepted into 3 shops, was nominated as Mumpreneur of the Year in some business awards, an order book that is bursting, a 16 month old who is as fiery as her hair, a husband who has never wavered in his support, a new website that I hope will be the start of another chapter in Little Red the business, and I still have the biggest smile on my face.

That day, the day it all began, that was a good day.


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