Before starting a shop Antonia had lots of different jobs that ended up with a career in teaching which fitted into her lifestyle when her children were young but as she approached 40 she realised that she no longer enjoyed her job and that it was actually having a quite negative impact on her life so she found herself at a crossroad.
She decided to just go for it with an attitude of, what is the worst that could happen, and she never looked back.
Running your own business gives you freedom
Setting up a shop is not easy, and a lot of hard work goes into running your own business, but it also comes with a lot of freedom when you are your own boss. Antonia said it's sort of odd because you never really switch off and you are sort of always working but you can also choose your hours and keep a degree of flexibility. There is also a lot of freedom to create and do things your own way.
Gone are the days when she would send her children to school even if they felt unwell only so they could call from her children’s school to say that she needed to come and collect them just to not have to have a difficult conversation with her own workplace, we’re still a long way from workplaces being very flexible and understanding.
Instagram is not the only way
Instagram has been a great way for Antonia to grow her business and gain a loyal audience but in our conversation, she pointed out that we should not discount local marketing such as flyers and advertising in a local publication.
Local community groups on Facebook can also be great for driving footfall to your business and for connecting with your local community.
You must sell your products
A while back Antonia had access to some business coaching and the coach told her that her Instagram looked beautiful, it had great pictures and great products but she was not actually selling anything, why show a picture of a beautiful handbag but don’t’ say anything that will make someone buy it such as it being Italian leather?
I think this is such an important point, we must take an active approach to our selling. Not only may your customers want to know that the handbag is made of Italian leather but they are much more likely to buy it if they also hear about the small family-owned business that made it and how well it will go with both your daywear and evening wear. We buy into benefits and stories and Instagram is a brilliant way to offer a visual guide and suggestions too to make an upsell as well.