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  • Fantasy?

    Tell me I'm stoopid!
    I was made redundant last July and have moved back to Cornwall where I was born & bred and where most of my family are. As a woodturner I would love to be able to at least make a part of my living from it and have started having fantasies about having some kind of outlet, (shop, market stall etc) down here in Cornwall. I am aware that a lot of the trade is done in the tourist months but I have also been thinking in lines of treen, customised kitchen ware from rolling pins to eggcups, mortar and pestles to plates, bowls etc. I am accredited with the Made in Cornwall scheme which could be a selling point as is my sustainable ethos. As I have no money to put into it and no business experience I am expecting you guys to convince me that it is a stoopid idea and impractical. I know that. So I am hoping there may be someone out there who is also a dream chaser who has ideas of how to get the money together to set something up, For those who know Cornwall I have been looking at Lemon Street Market and the Pannier, not a single wooden craft shop in sight anywhere and very little in the way of exclusive handmade unique kitchen ware.

    Please help to alleviate my obsesssion one way or the other

    Pete
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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  • #2
    You are definitely not stupid!!

    Your work is lovely - are there any grants in your area to help you set up?
    Check out business grants on your local council website for any help.

    Follow your dreams.

    Good luck

    Jane
    www.just-soaps.com
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    • #3
      Darling . . Jane is absolutely spot on . . Stoopid you are not!

      As well as business grants from the local council . . correct me if I'm wrong . . but doesn't the PoW own most of Cornwall via the Duchy? . . and does he not also have the Princes Trust? . . which does support small eco friendly businesses?

      Also what about the Arts Council and other similar organisations? . . and what about your local business organisation . . businesslink? . . www.businesslink.gov.uk . . and Green Business Network . . www.greenbusinessnetwork.org.uk

      I reckon a google search of grants for small businesses might turn up some very surprising results for you . . and start you on your way to making your obsession a reality pretty darn quickly.
      Gloria

      www.dichro-findings.co.uk
      Etsy Shop
      Artfire Shop
      dichro-findings blog

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      • #4
        I agree with the others, stupid you are not and in fact I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you are currently unemployed go to your local DWP and tell them your ideas and they will put you on to a business advisor who (I am told by my DWP advisor) will tell you about grants etc and may even be able to help with where to find premises etc.
        Diane
        Reach for the moon-if you miss-you'll still be amongst stars




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        • #5
          Get on with it! These lovely ladies have said it all already - believe it or not, the gov would like to help you in this matter
          "I was inoculated, very early in life, against all forms of magic and elfin whimsy, even when convincingly disguised as literature." Clive James
          Click the scales- rep points are for life, not just for Xmas!
          http://madlyswaps.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I was also going to suggest The Arts Council, they are pretty good cover a wide range of things.
            Carol
            God helps them that help themselves.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bodrighy View Post
              Tell me I'm stoopid!
              I was made redundant last July and have moved back to Cornwall where I was born & bred and where most of my family are. As a woodturner I would love to be able to at least make a part of my living from it and have started having fantasies about having some kind of outlet, (shop, market stall etc) down here in Cornwall. I am aware that a lot of the trade is done in the tourist months but I have also been thinking in lines of treen, customised kitchen ware from rolling pins to eggcups, mortar and pestles to plates, bowls etc. I am accredited with the Made in Cornwall scheme which could be a selling point as is my sustainable ethos. As I have no money to put into it and no business experience I am expecting you guys to convince me that it is a stoopid idea and impractical. I know that. So I am hoping there may be someone out there who is also a dream chaser who has ideas of how to get the money together to set something up, For those who know Cornwall I have been looking at Lemon Street Market and the Pannier, not a single wooden craft shop in sight anywhere and very little in the way of exclusive handmade unique kitchen ware.

              Please help to alleviate my obsesssion one way or the other

              Pete
              OK, you are Stoopid! (feel better? no? good!)

              Actually, the only "Stoopid" thing is wasting time sat there dreaming, and asking us when you could be out there doing it..

              Just because trade is only really done in the tourist season does not make it a bad business model.. the same is true for 60% of Cornish business.. you may have to adapt the model and work 7 days a week, and 70 hours a week for 8 months, and then have 4 months off, but if that is not offputting to you personally, then do it!!

              There's more than one way to skin a cat.. you might find selling to tourists in the local vicinity is a worthwhile enterprise, but have you considered positioning your products as "practical household items" rather than just a souvenir? you could easily market yourself to upmarket home stores, Garden Centres, kitchenware stores, via the internet, and a blitz on all the interiors magazines.. once you are established, it may even be worth employing a publicist to work on placing your products and raising the profile so you get more widely known...

              As a former "employee", and presumably not young enough to qualify for The Princes Trust, you will find there are many different schemes out there you can access, some in combination, others on an either/or basis.. certainly grants and support for the unemployed (6 months or longer), grants by postcode for areas of economic poverty, general "New Business" grants, free advice and support, and so on..

              Even with little or no money of your own, you can still go to the bank with a good idea and a decent business plan. If they wont take the "risk" alone, they can opt to use the government guarantee scheme where the Govt underwrites 75% of the loan (between £5000 and £2m! - how much do you need!). You do pay a premium of 2% of the loan guarantee.. but finance is not "impossible" even in the current climate.

              My only cautions would be:

              1: Terminology! "Dream Chasing" is not positive.. it suggests something out of reach and unobtainable.. like "I wish I was a great painter".. your "dream" is just an opportunity you haven't explored yet.. you have the skill and knowledge to provide the craft, all you need is the business skills to make it financially viable.. then you will have the opportunity to invite others to support it. I really don't mean that in a politically correct way.. you do have to see your business venture as a realistic opportunity, or you will not commit 100% to making it a success. Choosing something you know and love as the basis for a business is a very sound principle, not a "dream".

              2: Be prepared to "do what it takes"..! You have posted previously that you have not pursued enquiries that might have made you some cash because it was not the kind of work you would prefer. There's nothing at all wrong with that, especially as a crafter selling stock to ennable you to recoup your outlay.. but as a business you have to be flexible and adaptable.. if all your customers this month want bespoke oak spindles.. thats where the money is.. maybe next month is Burr Walnut fruitbowls.. but only the financially viable get to pick and choose what they do so easily..

              Having said that, dont be put off, and dont limit the extent of your dream.. think bigger and better.. not just about you.. if there is an untapped market for bespoke turned items like spindles, why not include that in your business plan. All you need perhaps is a second lathe and some more tools (grant opportunity ££!) and a trainee/apprentice (ooh! Grant Opportunity ££!!)...

              Just thinking about spindles, there must be a decent if "niche" market out there for heritage work.. all these listed buildings need "approved" materials for renovations and retorations.. if you can get certified, you can command a massive premium over the standard market rates.. I know spindles and the like is not what "you" want to do as an individual, but I am using them as an example of volume sales.. but no reason why your employees cant do that side while you make the stuff thats more to your liking..

              Can I suggest you look up Jude (bath_bomb.com) on here.. she has posted some very good stuff about how her business has been flexible and adaptive to customer demand.. and about how much she enjoys her business, as well as her craft.. Jane (greannancrafts) and Marion.Mitchell are two others who really seem to have their feet on the ground and their heads in the clouds and seemingly very very successful with it too..

              I would also suggest you borrow or buy "Anyone can do it - building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table" by Sahar and Bobby Hashemi. As a starter book for a budding entrepreneur it is readable and accessible, and full of "what we did" not "what you should do"..
              Last edited by sparkysdad; 20-05-2009, 12:53 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sparkysdad View Post
                OK, you are Stoopid! (feel better? no? good!) Actually, the only "Stoopid" thing is wasting time sat there dreaming, and asking us when you could be out there doing it.. Just because trade is only really done in the tourist season does not make it a bad business model.. the same is true for 60% of Cornish business.. you may have to adapt the model and work 7 days a week, and 70 hours a week for 8 months, and then have 4 months off, but if that is not offputting to you personally, then do it!! There's more than one way to skin a cat.. you might find selling to tourists in the local vicinity is a worthwhile enterprise, but have you considered positioning your products as "practical household items" rather than just a souvenir? you could easily market yourself to upmarket home stores, Garden Centres, kitchenware stores, via the internet, and a blitz on all the interiors magazines.. once you are established, it may even be worth employing a publicist to work on placing your products and raising the profile so you get more widely known... As a former "employee", and presumably not young enough to qualify for The Princes Trust, you will find there are many different schemes out there you can access, some in combination, others on an either/or basis.. certainly grants and support for the unemployed (6 months or longer), grants by postcode for areas of economic poverty, general "New Business" grants, free advice and support, and so on.. Even with little or no money of your own, you can still go to the bank with a good idea and a decent business plan. If they wont take the "risk" alone, they can opt to use the government guarantee scheme where the Govt underwrites 75% of the loan (between £5000 and £2m! - how much do you need!). You do pay a premium of 2% of the loan guarantee.. but finance is not "impossible" even in the current climate. My only cautions would be: 1: Terminology! "Dream Chasing" is not positive.. it suggests something out of reach and unobtainable.. like "I wish I was a great painter".. your "dream" is just an opportunity you haven't explored yet.. you have the skill and knowledge to provide the craft, all you need is the business skills to make it financially viable.. then you will have the opportunity to invite others to support it. I really don't mean that in a politically correct way.. you do have to see your business venture as a realistic opportunity, or you will not commit 100% to making it a success. Choosing something you know and love as the basis for a business is a very sound principle, not a "dream". 2: Be prepared to "do what it takes"..! You have posted previously that you have not pursued enquiries that might have made you some cash because it was not the kind of work you would prefer. There's nothing at all wrong with that, especially as a crafter selling stock to ennable you to recoup your outlay.. but as a business you have to be flexible and adaptable.. if all your customers this month want bespoke oak spindles.. thats where the money is.. maybe next month is Burr Walnut fruitbowls.. but only the financially viable get to pick and choose what they do so easily.. Having said that, dont be put off, and dont limit the extent of your dream.. think bigger and better.. not just about you.. if there is an untapped market for bespoke turned items like spindles, why not include that in your business plan. All you need perhaps is a second lathe and some more tools (grant opportunity ££!) and a trainee/apprentice (ooh! Grant Opportunity ££!!)... Just thinking about spindles, there must be a decent if "niche" market out there for heritage work.. all these listed buildings need "approved" materials for renovations and retorations.. if you can get certified, you can command a massive premium over the standard market rates.. I know spindles and the like is not what "you" want to do as an individual, but I am using them as an example of volume sales.. but no reason why your employeess cant do that side while you make the stuff thats more to your liking.. Can I suggest you look up Jude (bath_bomb.com) on here.. she has posted some very good stuff about how her business has been flexible and adaptive to customer demand.. and about how much she enjoys her business, as well as her craft.. Jane (greannancrafts) and Marion.Mitchell are two others who really seem to have their feet on the ground and their heads in the clouds and seemingly very very successful with it too.. I would also suggest you borrow or buy "Anyone can do it - building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table" by Sahar and Bobby Hashemi. As a starter book for a budding entrepreneur it is readable and accessible, and full of "what we did" not "what you should do"..
                My eyes are hurting!!!!!!!!.........
                Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings

                NEW Website: www.thecreativemills.co.uk
                Blog: http://thecreativemills.blogspot.com
                Check out my MISI shop: http://thecreativemills.misi.me.uk

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think what everyone else has said is right, you're ideas aren't stupid - the only stupid thing is not acting on them. I particularly agree with Sparkysdad about all the other avenues you can go down with regards to making yourself different from the other wood people about (can you tell I come on here to learn all the technical language assocaited with craft??!).

                  Surely all experience that we pick up through life is, more often than not, as a result of mistakes that have been made. Having been made redundant, would it not be an idea to give it a go and see what happens?

                  If you give yourself a good shot at it and it doesn't work out (fingers crossed it doesn't end that way though) at least you can say you had a damn good go.

                  Sally x x
                  Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings

                  NEW Website: www.thecreativemills.co.uk
                  Blog: http://thecreativemills.blogspot.com
                  Check out my MISI shop: http://thecreativemills.misi.me.uk

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                  • #10
                    Just to add to what others have said, if you're thinking about shop premises, I think that now is a great time to negotiate a bargain rent.
                    Celia
                    I can't be creative and tidy too
                    www.jencel.co.uk for beads, findings and threads
                    The Occasional Sheffield Bead Shop
                    Jencel on Facebook

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                    • #11
                      Sorry for the "problems" earlier, I managed to swap browsers and get the punctuation and formatting corrected!!

                      Just one other thing you might consider..

                      I recently approached my local business link office As I was looking in to buying an existing business, although the "business type" was new to me.. I was told that "going in to business - even through the route of acquiring an existing one" still counts as "new".. so you are eligible for all the potential grants.. The one I looked at was also in an area of economic deprivation, so a further non conditional grant was available too.. a small, and perhaps less viable business may provide you with workspace and equipment and stock far cheaper than buying it..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can think of worse things than working my tail off in 'tourist season' and then a few months downtime to regroup/restock/chill/fly to the sun.

                        You have the skills, the niche and the will - go for it! It may turn out to be a nightmare but IMO it's better to have tried and failed than to regret not doing something and always wondering wether it would have worked. As Millsy83 says we learn from our mistakes and worse case you still have the skills but need a new direction.

                        Dream the dream or live the dream!
                        Terry xxx
                        You can't have everything. Where would you put it all?" - Steven Wright
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                        • #13
                          You are a long time dead.

                          Over 25 years ago my husband sold his vintage motor bike and gave up his well paid job to start his business - the bike has long gone but the lathe still remains in use daily as he earns our living through it. If you are good enough go for it, it can be done just takes time.
                          Liz
                          p.s I can hear the lathe running in the background from my office!!

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                          • #14
                            Wow, I hoped for some feedback but not this much. Thank you all for the suggestions and the encouragement. I realise that at the end of the day it is down to me to get off my posterior and do something about it. I was thinking of focussing on treen partly to extend the season as it were. Relying on the decorative work is IMHO not viable unless you are an established name (or live in the states...see the prices they command there) but I hadn't thought of trying the upmarket catering places as suggested. Have to have a look around. Although Cornwall is a 'depressed' area economically, there are a good number of expensive and high end (not always the same thing) down here.

                            Again, thanks for the advice and encouragement. Keep it coming as I always did need kicking and pushing. Fortunately one of my daughters has done a business course and she has started researching grants etc for me.

                            Pete
                            "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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                            • #15
                              carpe diem!

                              I could never tell anyone wanting to follow their dream and escape the rat-race that they are stupid!
                              ...and living in Cornwall too! (I'm so jealous) For an artist/craftsperson there is absolutely nowhere more inspiring!

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