I have something a bit different for you today. I’ve been working with Anastasia, the owner of the lovely website Jellybean which sells a selection of cute handmade gifts and homely decorations.
Due to an injury, Ana was unable to work so decided to start Jellybean instead. I love that her inspiration comes from her being a child and never being able to find anything with the name ‘Anastasia’ on. I had the exact same problem, no pen, keyring or mug ever says Corinne! So she has a selection of personalised items so no child (whether 3 or 30!) will have to go without having their name on something.
Ana interviewed me before I went on holiday and posted it on her blog, and I sent her some questions and wanted to return the favour as I was really intrigued about the idea of collaborating a blog with a business like Anastasia has, and also how she thinks working with bloggers can help her business grow. So, here goes.
I’d like to know how you got started with Jellybean – can you give us a bit of an insight to where it all began?
Jellybean was born when I had to give up my job as a carer due to injury at the age of 18, I couldn’t just not work so I got creative and put my skills to good use. Owning my own business has always been a dream, so when I had the opportunity, I just jumped. I create handmade wooden home decor & gifts, most things are custom made to customer specifications which is one of my favourite parts of the job 🙂
So you have a blog on your website – what came first, the store or the blog?
They both came at the same time, for the first year of Jellybean I operated solely on Social Media, then in our second year we got our e-commerce website with a blog too.
What benefits does the blog give to your website?
I find it very hard to make time for the blog, but it’s something I’ve included in the schedule to keep up with. When I do keep up with it, the benefits are that it helps people. I usually do gift guides, or tutorials or information blogs. I keep self promotion away from the blog as much as possible, I just want to help people and give value to the posts.
I found you when you were looking for bloggers to work with, what made your decide to search for bloggers?
I’m learning to manage demand all the time, and taking the next steps in advertising is always is a big one as I have to make sure I can cope with any extra orders. Having recently set up a rigorous schedule to allow me to fit the time in to do the extra jobs and work the extra hours that would come with more exposure, whilst still maintaining a healthy work/life balance, it made the perfect sense. Bloggers are a great tool, and are so lovely too which is an added bonus!
In what way have they helped your business?
I’m very new to the world of working with bloggers, and have only really worked with 3 properly. However, the advice I’ve been given and the willingness to work with mutual promotion has been great. Not only have they helped Jellybean, but I hope I’ve given them a little exposure too!
What advice would you give to a blogger wanting to sell things of their own or start a business similar to yours?
Whether a blogger or anybody else wanting to start a business, just go for it. Do your research as much as you can, but you WILL make mistakes and that’s okay. Always be professional, and be friendly. Everything else will fall into place. If anybody ever needs any business advice, I don’t mind answering any questions or helping them in any way I can 🙂
How do you see Jellybean evolving over the next 5 years?
I would love to see Jellybean stocked in a shop on a permanent basis, and doing a lot more craft fair events. I’d also love a proper workshop and studio. In the long term I’d love to have a shop of my own selling Jellybean goodies, along with other handmade small business’ products, with a workshop in the back, and a cafe on the side. Along with a place to hold workshops and other community events. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll be happy. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
So there you have it, anyone can start an online business just as anyone can start a blog. Have any of you thought about selling something alongside your blog? Or do it already?
Feel free to add any tips of your own, or ask any questions for Anastasia if you have any!Don’t forget to check out Ana’s webstore if you are looking for a gift, or something fun and quirky to buy yourself! Jellybean will be sure to have something for you!