Leona runs the fab Indie Roller, Make it happen membership group that has now grown to over 200 members of fab indie business owners. It's all about finding your own way to work that works for you rather than letting yourself be constrained by the "right" way of doing something and this is something I'm definitely all behind. You can find out much more about the Indie Roller over on Leona's website.
Leona started her first business making and selling jewellery in Portobello Market back in 2003 and has since launched and had several really successful businesses. She's had her own webshop, brick and mortar store, her own workshop, and a very successful subscription box.
What impresses me the most with Leona is her willingness to walk away and not continue to grow a business that her heart is no-longer in. That to me is super brave and something I hope that I would also do if it ever came to it. She has so much knowledge and passion to share and she doesn't just stick to the fluffy "perfect" bits of business.
For this mini-interview, I asked Leona 5 questions and I hope you will enjoy this and find some inspiration to do it your way.
You've been both on the buying side and selling side, what did you enjoy the most and what did you enjoy about each?
I’m passionate about independent design so I love both sides because each offers a proactive way to bring exciting products into the world and put them in front of the consumer.
When you used to buy for your shop and for Lucky Dip club, what did you think made a supplier a good supplier, someone that you kept going back to for more?
Flexibility. As a bricks and mortar retailer and a subscription box owner, the product I carried had to be unique to keep our customers excited. I would mostly collaborate with small businesses to create exclusive designs for us or make best sellers in new colour ways. I found I mostly worked with designers who were flexible and open to collaboration.
You work with so many independent business owners and talk a lot about WHY, what is your Why?
My why is to empower and energise indie biz owners to play by their own rules. I’ve built successful businesses not by following trends and doing what everyone else is doing but by innovating within my sector and diversifying to keep my customers excited. This is what keeps ME excited too and it’s the heart and soul of what I teach and inspires my members and clients to bring to their work. The world needs creative independent businesses to bring joy and flair to an increasingly boring and bland high street.
I'm sure you're asked all the time, what's the best way to overcome the dreaded imposter syndrome? Any tips?
Know why you do what you do, start with an end in mind and clarify what ‘success’ means to you. Nail all three and you’ll be rooted in your decision making and focused on what to do. Imposter syndrome thrives when you don’t have a plan, you’re unsure what you’re trying to achieve, and more than likely when you’re spending too much time passively scrolling on social media. Being proactive and not passive is the quickest route to moving past comparison and moving towards your own goals.
What advice would you give to someone starting to think about wholesale?
Know your numbers! Financial clarity is the foundation of running a successful wholesale business. Wholesale is not only a brilliant revenue stream but it’s also a great way to get your brand out there and build awareness to drive potential customers to your own website and social channels.
Thank you so much Leona for taking part. If you feel like you need help and inspiration in your business life, have a look at the Joyful Selling Program. Follow Leona over on Instagram, you can find her on @indie_roller