2019 will always be known as the year that I left my career to focus on Hazel & Blue full time. It was a year of first time experiences, lots of learning and finally, of finding clarity and direction.
Leaving my role at the end of January turned out to be the biggest driving force behind the growth of the business this year and one which I have not regretted once.
Having the time and energy to invest in your business is fundamental if you want to grow it. Snatching a few hours here and there, or a sneaky day or two is great, but I’ve found that to really grow a business you need to be invested in it full time. I could only get as far as I could when I was running the business as a side hustle, and it was only in this last year that I started to find real clarity focus and direction in the business going forward.
Here are a few things that have happened....
Moving into self employment brings so many positive changes, most of them beneficial, however for those lacking structure or a support network, solo working can be tough. This year I have slowly managed to create a fab network of people who have provided me with much needed support in the business.
Sometimes when you work on your own, it can be lonely and isolating, so having a group of peers to lean on when needed is so important, whether it’s for advice, guidance or just a general chat over coffee. There are many formalised local support networks out there, both in person and online which you can access relatively quickly, with most free to join, but I tend to find meeting people face to face, and one to one support online most beneficial for me over the year.
Having the valuable time this year to invest in wholesale, has enabled me to grow my wholesale sales. Increasing my offer has been key to steady growth this year, learning to lower your margins and increase your volume is a significant learning process and in return you can potentially gain a steady income stream as well as new professional relationships and colleagues. Wholesale is a long game with great beneficial outcomes, but it may not be for everyone.
Working with the right people
Choosing the right people to collaborate and work with is important when growing your business. I have been very lucky and fortunate to work with some amazing people, brands and companies over the last year. From Iggy Box subscriptions to Castle Farm, Ceramic Magpie and most recently The Positive Planners and the Brand Stylist 'Gifts for Entrepeneurs 2019. Working with the right people has really helped built my brand, and I am forever grateful for the generosity and support of these humble, kind people.
This year more than ever I have had the time to really connect with people on Instagram and Facebook, this has been a major highlight for me this year. Meeting new insta friends and other creative business colleagues has provided me with a community which I cherish and value. The community of support I have gained has been extraordinary and of great value to me and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this, thank you!
Over the last 12 months I have had the space and time to really think about which products would be best suited for the business, and could not have happened as quickly without working on it full time.
Brainstorming ideas, speaking with customers and putting ideas and plans into action takes time and effort and this year I have been able to produce a new collection of eco candle making kits and a subscription gift box which I am very proud of! I have lots of new ideas and products planned for next year and all I can say is watch this space...
Finding your dream business partner!
For as long as I can remember my business dream was to have one of my products in Not on the High Street, for me this was the pinnacle of success. I would dream about what the product might be and visualise seeing it in the online shop. Fast forward to December 2019 and not only am I now a partner but I am also recently become one of the Not on the High Streets ‘Top Three New Gifts of 2019’ It really is a dream come true!!!
Consolidating and Moving Forward
In 2019 I have found clarity and direction for Hazel & Blue. I have learnt that great products take time, effort and passion, and that you cannot do everything on your own. Reaching out to other experts to help you achieve your goals and dreams are key to any businesses growth and success. I have also learnt that the strength and joy I receive from my customers and other creative colleagues are really the roots of my business.
This last year has been amazing and tough and at times lonely, but over the last year I have managed to grow the business, figure out the direction it will be going, and finally at the end of the year secured my dream stockist. I ended this year with such a high with the sales figures tripling from the previous year.
I still have a lot more to figure out and learn but I am heading into 2020 with clarity, focus and direction with Hazel & Blue, I will always be grateful to the people who have stood by my side and supported me on the way and for me you are the heart of this beautiful business of mine.
(PS Look out for my Word of the Year 2020 Post coming soon....)