Inspiring words and
sound advice today from the wonderful Fiona Pullen of The Sewing Directory. Visit her amazing gem of a
site for techniques, projects, news, events and inspiration - indeed it is a
true one-stop-shop for all your sewing related needs!
been such a huge support to us whilst establishing HQ but we've never met
her in person (hopefully that will be rectified soon!) We wanted to
get to know this brilliant lady a little better. She kindly agreed to
answer a few questions for us...
Have you always been into crafting?
child my mum taught me to sew and knit, I used to be very creative. As I
got older university and then work took over so I didn't craft for 10 years or
so. It's only when I went on maternity I had time to get back into it
Where do you get your inspiration from?
crafting time is pretty limited because I work so much, so I tend to create
what I need, mainly things for the house or the odd garment for my son. For
these I tend to be inspired by what I see on blogs or on Pinterest.
What’s your professional background?
I have a
law degree and used to do a very non-creative job working for the legal
department for a firm of loss adjusters. When I went on maternity leave I
realised I didn't want to go back, and wanted to do something I enjoyed not
just something that I did just for the money.
What made you start The Sewing Directory?
I was working on my mum's website (she runs a dressmaking business) and
realised that I couldn't find anywhere to promote her business. I started
to think how do people find sewing businesses? When they are looking for
fabric, classes or sewing groups etc do they just have to trawl through
Google? So I decided a site which pulled that information into one place,
along with some projects, competitions, technique guides and industry news
would be a good idea. Luckily for me several other people thought so too!
Advice for someone trying to
build their own business, please?
Research and preparation is key,
I worked for 6 months before I launched to make sure there definitely was a
market there, and that I was doing everything I could to reach that market from
the day I started up. Also that research never stops, things change
rapidly and you need to keep on top of SEO, social media, new blogs and
magazines, your competition etc and constantly adapt your strategy.
How do you promote your business?
Mainly online, I rely a lot on
social media (updating 5 times a day) and also on blogs, both advertising and
working with bloggers in other ways. I used to advertise in magazines but
found it costs to much and I didn't see much return whereas online the results
of any advertising or promotion are so much easier to measure. I do
however write for a few magazines as I think people often pay more attention to
the editorial content than the adverts.
It's also well worth taking the time to understand SEO and apply that to your
site, I now get around 700-1000 hits a day purely from Google. I did a
recent SEO revamp of my site and my hits almost doubled within weeks.
What bit of kit would you be lost
Workwise - definitely my laptop,
I've got the same one I bought 4 years ago when I started working on The Sewing
Directory and it has everything on it. When it stops working I think I
Sewing wise my unpicker! I tend to make things up as I go when I sew
which does often mean I have to unpick things and try it a different way.
I find I learn quicker by experimenting that by following instructions in a
book or magazine.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm currently writing a book with
Search Press on making and marketing a creative business. The book will
be on sale next year and I am also planning to build a website which will
accompany it. I've recently started doing marketing, social media
and SEO training with other craft businesses which I love. It's great fun
coming up with ideas for other people's businesses as well as my own.
Is there a fellow maker whose work you particularly love?
What advice can you give others about fitting it all in?
Expect to work all hours
especially when you first start out, it is a lot of hard work. Also don't
set impossibly high standards, I used to set myself really high targets and
standards and then get stressed when I couldn't meet them. I'm finally
learning to let go a little and realise it's really not the end of the world if
I reply to an e-mail tomorrow instead of straight away.
Taking some time away from the
business every now and then is important too and allows you to re-charge your
batteries and come back to it with a lot more energy.
To find out about the recent
article Fiona wrote for Crafty magazine on online legislation for crafters,
visit her facebook page.