Spotlight on MarcieKDesigns
Today's Spotlight in on Marcie Kobernus of MarcieKDesigns, who creates the most unique and unusual up-cycled furniture. Marcie started her business around her family needs, something I see a lot in this creative community, a chance to do something for yourself, while still being around for the family.
She has been so successful she now writes a regular piece for Reclaim Magazine. So, read on to find out how Marcie got started and if you want to shop some of her items, you can do so here.
What was the reason behind you starting your business?
Like with most decisions in life, there were many reasons why I started this business. I had been self-employed for many years throughout my life; the most recent being as a Personal Trainer, which meant that many evenings I was out shouting at other people rather than being with my family. After a family holiday to Ibiza, I did a bit of soul searching and realised I needed to spend more time at home. Obviously, they all regretted this decision, I, however, have been having a ball!
2. How did you start up?, kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
I started where all great business start ...the kitchen table...fuelled by wine. However, this swiftly moved on to an opportunity to have a pop-up-shop in the centre of Bristol for 6 months and even though I was stretching myself a bit thin, I knew I couldn't miss this chance for more exposure. Four years later I'm still there and a year ago I reached the dizzy heights of writing a regular monthly feature for Reclaim magazine.
3. How did you fund your business?
The business was funded by my last bit of money that I made as a trainer. It was as simple as that. I then took out a £1000 loan to buy a van and that is the only bit of funding I have had. I must be honest though, even now with money coming in from different avenues I still get months when I think OMG how am I going to pay the rent. But I just get my head down and hustle ....it always works out.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
The most difficult part for me has been expanding. I knew this would involve deliveries and it just made me anxious not being able to gauge peoples’ reactions to my products. I soon got over this and I now realise that the hardest part is actually trusting a delivery service. As I write I still have a Leopard print ottoman in courier orbit somewhere.
5. What help was missing for you?
The main help I needed at the beginning was with a website...after 5 years I've only just got it together. Definitely a hub somewhere, where there was help on hand, would have been great, I spent so long trying to figure out what font to use I forgot that the main thing was to just get products up for sale. I’m over that now and a working website with the wrong font is better than no website.
6. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long?
Many things went wrong in the first year....and many things still go wrong now. But that is part and parcel of running your own business. My first mistake was buying too much stock, with only a gazebo to store it under. Needless to say, after a few massive rainstorms and the neighbours wondering what that sad broken frame that had been blown into their garden was, I had a lot of wasted stock.
7. What have you learnt?
The main thing I have learnt and it sounds rather harsh...is never leave until you get the payment. Sometimes when you create things for people, they treat it differently to buying something at John Lewis and when they breezily say I will transfer the money.... you are never sure when they are going to do it. I have spent many nights stressing when payments haven't been made and I've been forced to send that " I'm sure you've been busy but where's my money " message. I've toughened up a lot since those days.
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
I think the main thing you need to ask yourself when starting a business is "why" you are starting it and what joy you will get from it, apart from the obvious "will it make money" question. For me, this way of working would fit around my growing family and increasingly ailing mother whilst also realising a creative outlet that had been dormant for a few years.
9. And what do you enjoy the most?
The most enjoyable aspect of my job is imagining an upcycle and then selling it. When someone buys an item that I have made it never fails to put a spring in my step. Also, whenever Reclaim magazine pops though my door and I open it up to see my face looking at me....no kidding, I love it!
10. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
It is hard to run your business there is no denying that....but when I look back at the times when things have been their hardest, that is when I have made great strides in achieving things. I realise I work best when life is hard....otherwise I just get lazy. So on that note I hope most weeks it’s a hard 10.
Nicola says "I love Marcie's take on her business, knowing ""why" you are starting it and what joy you will get from it, apart from the obvious will it make money", is an important lesson when starting out, because business will be hard work, it is often all consuming and you have to enjoy what you do to want to put in the hours"
The Girl with The Green Sofa