I am very excited to share with you that we will be exhibiting at the
Country Living Spring Fair
26-29 April at Alexandra Palace
and have 25 pairs of free tickets to give away!
If you would like to come see us, and all the other brilliant businesses at the fair, then use code 18CLS216 when booking tickets on the Country Living website to get a pair of free tickets for any day, while they are still up for grabs!
How to apply for tickets:
On Friday 23rd February I had the pleasure of meeting Theo Paphitis. This wasn’t because we just happened to be in the same place at the same time, but because I had won an SBS award back on the 16th July 2017 and was invited to the 2018 SBS event in Birmingham, run and organised by Theo and his team.
Since SBS launched in 2010, 329,000 small businesses have applied for the award, and I was very fortunate to be one of the 0.68% that won. It is still mind-boggling! It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to this event, sponsored by great businesses, all with the purpose of nurturing and advising us little ones.
Opened by Ryman CEO Kypros Kyprianou, you could feel a buzz of excited energy about the room at the honour of being at such an event with these big names. Sponsored by eight companies, Ryman, Robert Dyas, DHL, iLaw, 123Reg, Square, Western Union and HP, each of the groups introduced themselves and gave some information about how they would like to support us small businesses.
This year’s focus was on brands, so after Theo introducing himself, Stephen Cheliotis, the expert at SuperBrands gave a great talk about the importance of brands within business, but also that a main importance is a customer’s perception of the brand, and how it makes them feel. Colour and shape of the logo is not as important as the feeling behind the brand experience.
As we are all small businesses being spoken to by the large ones, a lot of questions occurred, starting with ‘I know I’m small, so I can’t do x & y, but…’ to which Theo stopped and pointed out that just under 50% of gross value added to the UK economy comes from small businesses, so actually we can! How crazy is that, that this small business is helping contribute to that figure in some way.
One of the most uplifting things for me is that apparently most small businesses will fold in the first 2 years. As some of you may know from my recent 2-year celebration and giveaway, I have just passed that mark! As many doubts and worries for this business run through my mind, something must be going right, and I know that most of that is because of you lovely people supporting me.
The afternoon consisted of a fireside chat from AO founder John Roberts and Theo. Eye opening and so honest. They both emphasised how important it is to be transparent, honest, and admit when you have made a mistake. Don’t grovel, just fix it. But most importantly, be upbeat! You set the tone for your company. Being brand recognised is something but having a positive recognition or experience from a company is more. Speak to every customer like you would your grandparents and look back at your actions and assess if your mum would be proud. Most of all, use common sense, and stay grounded.
The day ended with photos with Theo. As I found out from collecting name badges at the start of the day and having my winners certificate signed, everything had been done alphabetically, but luckily the photos were not! We had been told that we wouldn’t have time for a conversation with Theo as he had over 200 people to take a photo with, and it was only 4pm when pictures started – understandable, as no one wants to head home late, especially on a Friday. As the excited and stuttery person I am when nervous, I went straight for facing the camera for a photo after saying hi, but Theo actually struck a conversation with me instead. His daughter has the same name as me, and as my certificate was the last to be signed by him (being alphabetical and all) he remembered doing it, and asked what my business was, and what I do. He was really positive about it all, and it was great to have a lovely, although brief, talk with him.
One other thing I can take away from all this, is don’t be afraid to ask others for help/ advice/ support / whatever it may be. This event happened because Theo thought of it one Sunday evening back in 2010, and it wouldn’t be possible without all the sponsors he had asked to be on board with him. These companies, and the amazing guests, all give up their time for free to be there. It shows that being a supportive community really does win. As I always like to say, community over competition!
I had a fab day out, I think my mum did too (she was my plus one) and I came home with an SBS branded notebook, goodies, and a lot of great advice.
To anyone out there with a small business, I recommend entering SBS – I did, and the next day found out I was a winner, that has now opened me into a whole world of business support and love.
It is with great excitement that I can share that Z-O-E is now on Not On The High Street!
As NOTHS state they are “the home of the UK’s best small creative businesses”, it makes us so proud to be a part of their site too. Originally launching on their site with our new ‘Welcome To The World’ gift boxes designed especially for them, we have now added the majority of the products that are on this website, so you can get comforters, baby grows and blankets there too. As we were accepted on their site based on the gift boxes, there are some exclusives on their site, which you are welcome to see, here.
All The ‘Welcome To The World’ gift boxes have been designed so that you are able to mix and match your favourite patterns, and have them packaged in a luxury gift box ready to gift to the new little one entering this world. There are a variety of boxing options, from a few essential items all the way to a set of everything! Of course, they are all packed with care, neatly folded and wrapped in tissue with a card stating what is in the box, before being placed inside.
So, let us know what you think of them!
Finishing a Textile Design degree meant that one day I hoped (and dreamt about) seeing my designs on products out there in the world, but seeing something I am so proud of, and it being the first design sold, just made me so overjoyed, that I could never express it properly in words. The hours spent putting the detail into the design, and the joy I got from it cannot be described in words. This print was my kid that I nurtured in my final year of uni, and released into the world, and it means more to me than just birds, branches and florals.
Seeing my designs out there never gets old. It never will. The excitement and elation is something that will never fade, as it has been a dream of mine ever since I chose my degree, to bring my designs into life by placing them on products that people use. Hence why I started the hashtag #zoemuslin after launching my muslin collection. That way I can see where the products go, and how they are used in people’s lives. For me, it is not primarily a promotional tool, but so that I can be excited about what I have created and know that the ideas that have been running around my mind are in people’s lives, and are not just left on paper for good. I cannot tell you how big a smile I get from a post sent to me with a photo of my products in use, or a lovely comment about the designs. It gets me so excited to show you the next step coming from my studio, that I have to contain myself from sharing new designs before it’s ready.
So, thank you, for all your kind words and positivity. Please do continue to share your comments and pics of my muslins, as I cannot tell you how much it makes my day!
Ornithology, available at B&Q, under Holder Decor