Spotlight on One Off to 25
I featured this art filled home last year, admiring the home owners’ ability to find beautiful and distinctive art which she shows off in her fabulously dark and moody home. So, when I found out she had launched her own online gallery, it made perfect sense, the perfect business fit, and today we are looking at the reasons behind the career move with Jaz otherwise known as Jazzierere and her new business Oneoffto25
Hi, my name is Jasmine Rosten-Edwards I am a Facilities Management professional but recently I took the plunge to fulfill a lifelong dream to setup my own art business called Oneoffto25. The business specialises in selling original art and limited edition prints up to 25. I collaborate with emerging and established artists to produce a curated art collection and my home is used as an art gallery to display some of the works I sell.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
The rationale for starting up my business was that I’ve always wanted to own my own art gallery. However, I recently perceived there was a gap in the contemporary art market for small businesses to sell original art and small runs of good quality limited edition prints at affordable prices.
2. How did you start up? Kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
I don’t rent premises due to the unwanted commitment related to fixed overheads, so I work from my study at home. However, I don’t work within a fixed timeline, so I always end up working well beyond standard office hours which I probably wouldn’t do elsewhere.
3. How did you fund your business?
My business was funded from savings and from income earned from my previous job.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
The part that I probably found the easiest (but not easy) was how to start and setup my own business. This in part can be attributed to the Executive MBA that I am final stage of completing which has definitely helped in terms of creating a sound business model and applying a strategy etc.
Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a fool proof process especially with regards to procuring goods and services for your business. For example, a huge challenge for me was obtaining specialist art insurance to cover holding artists’ stock at my home, including how it’s transported, the use of an approved courier and how it has to be packaged for delivery.
Other challenges related to the setting up of contracts with artists as this can become quite a convoluted process depending on how you are going to work with them.
Thereafter, decisions related to the best type of e-commerce platform come into play. You also need to be knowledgeable regarding legislation related to distance selling and online trading and ensure this is factored in when you write your terms and conditions for the business.
Finally, how you market your products and obtain sales is definitely not a straightforward process and at the end of the day it all needs to balance out on your profit and loss account which for a new business is a tall order.
5. What help was missing for you?
I think in hindsight I would have benefited from structured advice regarding the logistics and the complexities involved at the point of setting up from a business support network. However, I think I’m now in the position to provide advice to other people about setting up their own business and I would not rule out providing some form of consultancy service related to this in the near future.
6. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long?
I have only been trading a couple of months and so many things have invariably gone awry especially as you are learning on the job so to speak. However, when things go wrong I always tell myself there is a plan B. Moreover, you need to learn to manage your own expectations! Always try to stand back and appreciate that you’ve turned a dream into a reality and not many people necessarily get the opportunity to do this in life.
7. What have you learnt?
I have learnt that I am way more determined than I thought I was and that it takes courage to strive for something that you truly believe in. I know it’s a cliché but never give up, you might have to reinvent or reshape the dream but keep going!
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
Do your research beforehand as having your own business looks like a great gig (which it is) but it’s a lot of hard work that will take a physical, mental and emotional toll in a way that you don’t expect it to.
It also depends on whether you are planning to have an online business, fixed premises or a combination thereof any as in any scenario there are numerous pros and cons. However, I think one of the most important aspects is to understand the market and industry you intend to operate in and to know your competition. All of these make a difference to the type of business model you should implement. Ultimately, you need to be a strategist as you may have to reinvent your business over time depending on supply and demand considerations.
9. And what do you enjoy the most?
I love the fact that I have setup a small business with ethical credentials, a transparent supply chain and one that’s principally concerned with delivering value to customers.
Undoubtedly the thing that gives me the biggest high is when I make a sale as I feel truly grateful as it’s not something I take for granted. I also get ridiculously excited when I inform an artist that I have sold their work as an important aspect of my business is about helping other people to succeed.
10. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
At the moment, I would rate it as 7 and I would say the hardest aspect of being self-employed and running your own business is that it’s quite solitary existence. It can also be really stressful if you are having a bad day to stay motivated. Thus, you need to be able to manage your own psychological and physical wellbeing. But every time I second guess my decision to start this business I have to remind myself that I made many, many sacrifices to pursue something that I am completely and utterly passionate about and really enjoy!
Nicola says “some really sound advice from Jaz, as you’d expect from someone who understand the business perspective through doing an MBA. However, I think it is important to remember the emotional toll running a business can take, and making sure to carve out enough time for you and to think about the business strategically, to ask if anything can be changed or done better, and to give yourself breathing space.
Because, in my experience running your own business can become a 24/7 job with never enough hours in the day if you let it, and you will need time to change things, when they go wrong or just need tweaking a little bit. Running full pelt means you might miss something critical, easy to do in those early days.
The Girl with The Green Sofa