Experienced in setting up a business teaching others how to make jewellery and advising start-ups on how they mimic her success is second nature to Jane. We caught up with her recently to discuss her success as an entrepreneur and her new venture delivering marketing workshops with Business West.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in business?
I’ve run my own business with a friend for over 12 years, designing and teaching people to make jewellery from our retail premises. My career had previously been in finance, banking software training and teaching business start-up. My business partners’ background is sales and marketing so together we made a great team.
We have experienced a lot of changes in the industry regarding the best way to promote your business and understanding the product needs of the customer. When we started all those years ago we opened our premises at Paintworks in Bristol, delivering workshops and designing commissioned products for clients who wanted to wear the jewellery and not make it. We also sold all of the products required to create your own jewellery. We opened our 2nd shop 18 months later in Bath, and our 3rd shop 2 years later in Stroud.
In addition, I’ve been a Business Adviser at Business West for a few months now – sharing my experiences as a business owner and advising on the next steps to make a success. I’m thrilled to be delivering the new Strategic Market Planning workshops, held at the beautiful Leigh Court, because I want to be able to help other businesses who may or may not be in the same situation I have been in over the years.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Everything! I’m still involved with running my own business but now I get to share my experiences with other business owners and work with a great team.
And what are the most challenging aspects of your job?
When we first launched the business, the promotion was very simple - we could advertise in the local paper for the beginner level and we could advertise nationally in the industry magazines. This promotion always drove traffic to our website and created class bookings making our investment a good return. But with all the areas of trade being very different; customer, price, ethos, and what was popular, it made it difficult to reach our target audience on a larger scale.
What marketing has worked well for your business?
How we gained customers has changed considerably in our industry and we found that online advertising and social media, such as Facebook, became a better way to promote our business. Before social, business boomed when we advertised in relevant publications and dispatched mailshots, although most advertising we did was free.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever been given?
To test promotion of your business regularly. Customer behaviour, wants and needs change regularly so you need to adapt in order to continue to reach them.
Do you have any key learnings from running your own business which you would like to share?
I have learnt a lot over the years about being able to change with technology and adapt the way you reach your customers, which is why I am sharing my experiences at the workshops to help other business owners to create a successful marketing plan. These will be run monthly and will help start-ups or businesses who need to review their target customers.
About Jane Purdy
Jane has run her own jewellery-making business for over 12 years and has recently joined Business West as a Business Adviser. Her expertise is delivering workshops which will equip customers with the knowledge they need to make a successful product or service.