Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Creative Business Advice

As you may know, I recently took the plunge and left my full time job to fully concentrate on Patchwork Harmony and 91 Magazine. I started blogging in 2008, and since then the business has evolved and changed greatly. It's been one of those experiences where I've just learnt 'on the job'. You learn from your mistakes, you learn from others and you learn that it is damn hard work.

There is absolutely no shame is firstly admitting it's hard; goodness knows I've considering packing it all in for the easy life many times! and secondly realising that its ok to ask for help every now and again. For most people there are skill gaps. For example, I'm not particularly good with numbers, so I ask for help with my books and tax.  I'm not a web designer, so I ask for help with designing my websites.

Whatever your skill gap, the wonderful thing about the world wide web and online communities such as Twitter, is that it is easy to find people who can help you. Check out my previous post where one online shop owner employed the expertise of a stylist and photographer to collaborate with, to create some great photography to help promote her business and showcase what it had to offer.

When I decided to downscale my online shop last year, I took a step back and tried to reevaluate things, and work out how I might move forward. After nearly 5 years of running and evolving Patchwork Harmony, I decided that I may well have something to offer in terms of helping other small creative businesses. I'll admit, I don't have any business related qualifications, I have a degree in photography, but I do think my real life experiences are of value, and I really want to share what I've learnt with others.

So I decided not long ago to start offering some creative business advice sessions. These are totally tailored to the individual, depending on what stage you are at with your business - a seed of an idea, or 3 years in - and are on a one-to-one basis, so you can ask absolutely anything and I will give an honest answer or opinion. Anything from editing press releases to blogging to using social media to your advantage - I will try and help in any way possible.

I've already been working with a few clients - one which is a fledgling idea which I'm excited to see what happens with, one is a established brand who are wanting to develop, and one is a brand new, freshly launched childrenswear brand - La Coqueta Kids. Owner Celia contacted me a few months back and asked me to help with a few aspects of her launch - editing copy for her website, as well as some tips on blogging and social media. The editing side of things was all done via email, but the other areas we covered in a 2 hour one-to-one session.

I was so excited and chuffed to see Celia announce the news of her Hampstead shop opening via Facebook and Twitter recently, and later the opening of her gorgeous online shop accompanied by her blog! She told me she found the session really helpful and we plan to work together further soon. Celia said: "Caroline gave me a very good understanding of how social media works and showed me the benefits of it all when you build a business from scratch. She was incredibly accommodating to my brief and tailored the sessions to my needs as a business and as a mum of five under five. I would definitely recommend her. She was great at thinking outside the box and highly creative when it came to providing an online strategy. What I thought was very good were her scriptwriting skills which helped me greatly writing my bio and T& C's." Here is a taste of Celia's gorgeous range....

I truly love finding out about fellow creative businesses, discussing plans and how to make it work, so do drop me a line if you think there is anything I can help you with and I can give you a (very reasonable!) quote.

I hope to share some small business ideas and tips on here too, so feel free to subscribe for updates on the right hand side. Or just follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Also check out a feature we ran in the current issue of 91 Magazine which is an extract from a brand new book by Emma Jones - A HouseBeautiful Home Business - which shares lots of tips and ideas for setting up your own homewares or craft business.

In fact the publishers have given us an exclusive discount code to buy the book for just £10 (including P&P) instead of the usual £14.99. Just use code 91MAGHB when ordering.

Finally, if you are interested in hearing my story I will be speaking about my experiences at the Cybher blogging event on the 1st June in London! Hopefully see you there!



  1. That was really interesting reading, thank you! And well done on your success xx

  2. This is fantastic. Could we arrange a Skype chat to talk more about it? I have creative clients who need a helping hand with more than just the accounting side I'm helping with.

    PS. Hampstead is near me and I'm sure I;ve seen that shop!

    1. hi Rosie! sure thing. Do you mind sending me an initial email, and then we can arrange a chat?


  3. Great post. We are witnessing this glorious shift in working practices where collaboration and sharing is inherent to what we do. Since I set up What You Sow I've met so many people who have given me lots of advice and I've been able to help point others in the right direction too. There's this new consciousness that who those who may in another world have been competitors are now peers and potential collaborators and that there is plenty of room for all of us.
    The book looks ace and I love the fact that the front cover looks just like craft corner; the office I've set up at home.


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