Our latest interview is with Tracy, owner of Memory Maker Jars. Thank you Tracy for taking part in one of our interviews!
Grab a cuppa and enjoy reading about Tracy and her business…
Tell us a little bit about you and your business. When did you start and what made you decide to start your own business?
Hi, my name is Tracy and I am a 39 year old wife and Mum to 2 gorgeous girls, Holly aged 7 and Chloe aged 4. My business is an online business called Memory Makers. It started on New Years day of this year – just as I was getting ready to go over to our friends to celebrate the new year, I posted a photo on Facebook of my memories jar that my family and I had been building all year, with the caption “I can’t wait for us to open this tomorrow”. I thought nothing more of it and went off to our friends to see in the new year with lots of laughter!
I awoke on New Years Day to lots and lots of likes, comments, shares of my photo and people texting me asking where I had got it from. I was delighted everyone had liked it so much, and still didn’t give it another thought. The opening of our jar as a family, on new years day was such a special moment, talking and laughing about all the things we had done last year. In fact, it was the first thing we put in this year’s jar.
I then realised that I wanted all my friends to have moments like that, so thought I would maybe make some as gifts for people and then when the comments, likes and texts kept coming, I realised that my jar had really struck a chord with people and “memory makers” was born.
How did you feel when you had just launched your business?
With ‘empty nest” syndrome looming, as my youngest starts school this September, the time has felt right for a new challenge, and “memory makers” is my new baby for sure! I felt nervous, but also exhilarated and excited by the challenge and I had so many ideas in my head when it first started that I just wanted to get going with it!
What were the main challenges or most important things to learn when you first started?
For me, it was making sure I never lost sight of getting the balance right. Having worked on a trading floor for 13 years before I had children, I am well aware of how easy it is to get the balance wrong. My family always come first and I make it fit round them, not always easy to do it but I try my hardest to keep within that parameter.
Did you get lots of support from family and friends?
Yes, I am totally blessed but the most amazing and supportive family and friends, and especially my husband. I bounced lots of ideas of them all (still do) and they are great and giving feedback and advice.
Once you had started how long did it take for you to feel that it was an established business? Or if you’re still building your business at what point/milestone will you feel like you’ve established a successful business?
I am still building it for sure, I have set myself some targets of how many orders I want to be achieving a week by the end of year and if I can get there then I think that will feel like my first milestone achieved.
What was the first item that you sold? And how did it feel?
When I received my first order from someone other than a friend or family member, that felt pretty special and it also gave me the confidence to believe even more in the product as someone non-biased liked them enough to buy one.
What are the best things about running your own business?
I am enjoying being my own boss but I think the most rewarding this is seeing the fruits of your own labour and that you get the direct results of all your hard work.
What are the worst?
It can feel quite lonely and vulnerable occasionally, as no matter how much you talk to people and bounce ideas, when you put something out there – it is you and your idea out there for the world to see.
Is there anything you wished you’d known before you started?
I wish I had known more about SEO and I still do wish that, it is on my list to try and educate myself as this seems key to having successful website growth – but it is like a different language to me right now!
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement so far?
I think all of it, taking that one photo and from there creating my very own business. Getting a logo designed, getting product photos shot and having the confidence to tell the photographer exactly what I wanted, building my website and just turning my idea into a commercial product. My stand out piece of feedback was from a customer who gave a newborn memory maker to her sister who had just had a baby, and her sister was so touched she burst into tears!
If you weren’t running your own business what do you think you would be doing?
I have always always wanted to be a teacher in a primary school, although now I have children I am not sure I would have the energy for 30 children!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I love being with my family and friends, clichéd but true. I love the theatre, and reading and never miss my book club. I also have started recently trying to get fit again, so run with 2 friends when I can and I volunteer for a local charity helping disadvantaged families in the local area which is hugely rewarding.
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about starting up their own business?
GO FOR IT. Stop pondering and stick your toe in the water, just give it a try and believe in yourself. . In this day and age with the wonders of social networking, you can reach out to people quickly, easily and cheaply. Don’t be afraid to try things, I have recently set up a blog alongside the business and blog about my journey into the world of business and I knew nothing (and still know fairly little) about blogging, but sometimes the only way to learn is to just have a go!
What plans do you have for your business in the future?
I want to grow the business as much as I can and get it to a point where it is a thriving small business generating a nice little income.
Do you think running your own business has had a positive effect on your children and how they view you as a working mum?
Yes I do, I love being at home for them and I am not embarrassed by that and find being a stay at home Mum so rewarding, but I am enjoying using my brain in a different way and I think they can see that something else is energising me too outside of our family life.
Where can we find out more about Memory Maker Jars
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