In my last blog post, I shared reasons why starting a business while on maternity leave and becoming a ‘mompreneur’ is a great idea. If you are considering a side business, here are some tips on how to get started based on my own experiences creating Wuchild.
1) Start small and test out your concept
For the longest time, Wuchild consisted of only baby headwraps (really freakin’ stylish ones). In the beginning, my business partner and I would buy just enough material to create a few samples to take photos to post on social media. We were hoping to test out our brand, and much to our surprise, a few local shops reached out asking about our wholesale distribution. Shabam!…we knew we had something! Now we also sell tops for babies and mamas, but this was only possible because we first tested our concept.
2) Put in as much sweat equity as possible
Do as much as you can on your own. Not only is this cost-effective, but you’ll feel empowered and proud that YOU did it. Now of course, there will be unavoidable costs but you’d be surprised by how much you can save by doing things on your own.
For example, we directed and took all our product shots for our website and social media posts with our handy dandy iPhones. We never rented studio space. Instead, we found cool coffee shops or interesting backdrops to snap photos. This has become part of our brand personality.
No experience with creating websites? No problem! There are some amazing and very easy to use website platforms. Our personal favourite is Squarespace because it comes with sleek templates to chose from and it’s pretty affordable.
Here we were at our first “photoshoot” at Luke’s cafe in Gastown.
3) Ask friends and family for favours
The amount of support we’ve received from our friends and family floors us! Go through your list of people and you’d be surprised by how many could potentially contribute to your business, pro bono. People want to support and be part of something special so don’t think of yourself as a burden. For example, we had a friend do our logo for free (normally a cost of between $500-$5,000 depending on who you go with) and our mother’s and grandmother’s have helped package our goods for shipment. We also saved another $5,000 on graphic design costs by asking friends to take our rough pen and paper clothing design sketches and convert them on Illustrator.
Logo designed by aftermodernlab
4) Partner up with someone you love and trust
Partnering with someone might not work for everyone. It’s hard to choose the right one. But if you are going to partner with someone (and I think two heads and four arms is better than half that), you need the right person to compliment the skills or connections you may not have.
When Bernice partnered up with me on Wuchild it was a turning point for the business. I now had someone to share, play, create and build with. My advice for finding a partner is to find someone who has the same vision and goals as you in terms of how far they’d like to take the business (and how to get there). You need to trust this person and have open communication. Can you disagree and not harbour any bad feelings? Just because you are best friends with someone, it doesn’t mean that you should be doing business together.
For Bernice and I the business comes second to our friendship. Because the vision of this company is really a creative outlet for self discovery, our company values from the start were to promise to keep having fun. If it’s not fun, then we consider stopping.
Stay tuned for my next post on how we leveraged Vancouver’s amazing community of enterpreneurs to propel our business!