When I started Text From A Friend I thought it would be a small side project, that I would pack up some orders every other day, and it would make money while I slept. I had no idea that it would grow into the business that it is today.
When I think about it I don't even know if I wanted it to become as full on as it is. I freelance as an art director/designer and have my own design clients so I probably thought it would only take an hour or so every other day.
Oh. How. Wrong. I. Was.
Being stocked by retailers all over the world couldn't have been further from my mind. Exhibiting at trade shows was not even on my radar. Yet, here we are, five years on and I've done exactly those things that I didn't think I could manage or even imagine.
I've managed to grow the business whilst running my design studio and become an expert at juggling :)
Not to mention all the new skills I've acquired along the way as well as the many hats that are needed when running a product based business.
Working out profit margins, wholesale costs versus RRP's. Finding stockists, dealing with courier companies and missing packages. Overcoming manufacturing challenges, printing and production decisions, generating actual sales and then there's the creation of products. Brainstorming ideas and phrases, decisions on colours, the photography of the products and the uploading onto ecommerce sites. As well as writing the descriptions for them and making sure SEO is covered.
Shall I continue? Because there's more. There's always a never ending to do list and I think it's about time I got some help.
Looking back maybe I was a bit naive or maybe I didn't quite realise how much time and effort running a product based business would require. I seriously under estimated it all and I can't help but wonder if I should have done more research.
But then again, if I had, I might have talked myself out of it.
Then the world would have less sweary cards and I'd just find myself thinking of another side project to start up.
Having worked in advertising and design agencies for over 20 years I spent a lot of time creating brands, names and products for many different clients so I think I was always destined to start my own.
If it wasn't a stationery business it would have been the idea I have for the death industry.
But that's another story.
And one that is still lingering around.
I have the domains registered for it. I have some products designed. I have a lot to say about it.
One day I will. When I have more time ;)
So back to Text From A Friend. When I take a step back and look at what I've achieved after starting the business with a budget of £200 I am rather proud of myself.
Being stocked in retailers from Japan to Germany, Paris to Jersey and all across the UK and USA is something to be chuffed about.
Especially when I started out with less than 10 card designs and no desire to grow the business or imagine it would become what it has.
I think we all need to realise that anything is achievable and taking a slow and steady road can work too.
Creating cards people swear by, building loyal customers and making people laugh has been quite a joy if I'm honest.
Who doesn't love posh paper with shiny swear words?