So as you all know I love to support local and started a #girlboss segment where we could share, learn and inspire!
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
We chatted to Jen about her special business and she had this to say.
You started your own business – How does it feel to be a successful #girlboss that inspires others and loves what she does?
Ah thank you. Well if I am inspiring others or at least just one person, then that is truly the biggest compliment and gift of all. I am a firm believer that we are all #girlbosses in one form or the other whether we are raising our own small families or running a start up or working for a corporate or juggling all three! I am so grateful to be able to do what I do because I absolutely LOVE it. It’s not just a passion its a way of life for me. So I feel very fortunate that I’ve embarked on this journey.
This beautiful piece of art is for sale – It’s called Vivienne and it is from the Caren Walsh Collab series. It retails for R350 but we have a special running where you can buy any 2 in this series and receive the 3rd for Free!
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Oh goodness there are so many! If I had to pick just 3 it would be;
1) Always know what you and your business stand for and do not compromise on those things, ever. I would suggest making a list and whatever step you take make sure you have these key items in mind. Always refer back.
2) Research Research Research! Don’t assume the first offer you get or supplier you find is the right one. It’s all about research, finding what doesn’t work initially (unfortunately the negatives are just as important as the positives) and then ultimately finding out what does work for you and your business. Its’ a process and it’s something you need to go through in order to see the true value of what you do.
3) Be yourself, talk to your customer like they are a real human beings sitting opposite you and always have them in mind. They are one of the most important assets in your business. So you need to treat them well and have them at the forefront of whatever decision or new product or new idea you are working on.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
Gosh I have so many dreams for this small business. I would love to expand into other retail offerings other than stationery in the near future. I have always loved accessories, fashion and home decor so perhaps I could figure out how to incorporate these elements. Alexa Lily has always been an extension of how I live my life. So each product or offering is a natural progression or at least thats how I feel. I’ve also always trusted my instincts in relation to whatever decisions I have had to make. It’s also about growing this company as organically as possibly and moving at a pace thats in line with where I am currently.
What is your advice to women out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
It is scary. Let’s be real about it. But it doesn’t mean that it will continue to be scary.
I remember when I first started my first real job in London straight out of university and I cried for almost 2 weeks because I didn’t know anything! But after being there for 4 + years I did and I knew I had to move on. The truth is we adapt. We learn. We grow. We evolve. Even in my 20’s I always knew I had to be my own boss. I desperately desperately knew that was what I wanted but I didn’t know what or how or when to make this a reality. So perhaps try ask yourself if you want to make a difference in this world? Do you want to create or sell or offer something that’s not currently out there or even if it is what can you offer that could be different or unique or meaningful to others. To be able to do something that adds value and improves quality of life is so worth it. You will make mistakes and you will think it’s over when it’s not. But you always have to get up and keep trying because that’s when you see the true value of what you’ve started. It’s often the process of discovery that is the most rewarding rather than the end result.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
I love SO many things but one thing that has all the perks is being accountable to you + you alone. I don’t have employees yet as I work with amazing people on a consultation basis and some wonderful suppliers. But I am accountable to my time and my work / life balance. Also that I can ultimately make a difference. I think that’s pretty awesome to be able to give someone something that adds joy to their life. I truly love interacting with all my customers daily and being able to give them a product that they can be proud of and love, that is what makes me so incredibly happy.
The New Planner ’21 Collection launches towards the end of the year, hopefully in September so keep an eye out! You don’t want to miss out on these gorgeously beautiful planners. Bring on 2021!
There is a variety of stickers, note books, planners, calendars, note cards and original art – something for everyone!