Tell us a little about the person behind the business?
I am Jeni Pizzi, a 30-year-old mum of 3 gorgeous children, twin girls who are ten and the world’s cheekiest 3 year old and Partner to Greg. I am addicted to all things handmade and juggle kids, a part time job and two businesses–mine and his. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. My favourite colours are green and pink and I have an obsession with pretty stationery, peacocks and of course anything handmade.
And now a little about the business itself?
Handmade Love was developed in August 2011 after my love of all things handmade became an addiction, I have spent countless hours searching high and low on Facebook , Etsy, Madeit and Hand-made.com.au trying to find and source the most perfect things for myself and my gorgeous kids, so now I want to share the best of the best with you. And I have done all the hardwork for you. No more trawling through countless websites trying to find “that” perfect item. They are all here. Handmade Love is a website with a blog, advertising, business directory and product reviews all rolled into one. Chances are, if you are looking for something handmade it will be here, If not I will help you find it. From mums, bubs, boys and girls, dolls, softies, jewellery, art or home décor– if it’s handmade it will be here.
How did you come up with your business name?
I wanted the business name to be really clear in expressing what I was serious about. After countless days, and an ever-growing scrap pile of names…it became glaringly obvious (and beautifully simple!). And so, ‘Handmade Love’ was born and registered.
What made you want to begin a work at home business and how did you get started?
When I first had the idea to start Handmade Love, I kept it in the back of my mind for quite some time before I actually began. I wanted to be able to launch and look professional from the offset, and felt I needed to do A LOT of research first. The idea was born after speaking to a few business owners and some close friends about the idea of promoting handmade. I was starting to develop a bit of a reputation as a lover of handmade and had people asking my opinions and advice on their businesses and handmade in general. During research phase, it was becoming more and more apparent that image was everything. I was immediately drawn to the pages with great logos, contact forms and professional websites. It gave me the clarity in deciding exactly what I wanted. Registering my business name was the first step. The next step was setting up a FB page, securing a domain name and then onto Graphic Design–a website etc and it just grew from there.
What inspires you to keep your business going?
My love and passion for handmade. The ladies behind the businesses who work long hours to make the most delightful items, the handmade community and the feeling behind it, It is really hard for me to express in words but I just really, really LOVE what I do.
Do you have a current best-selling product or service? If yes, tell us about it.
At Handmade Love we do advertising, reviews and promotion of handmade businesses and we are also the home of The Handmade Showcase, a bi-annual event that encourages businesses to work outside their comfort zones, I choose a collection of fabrics and then with those fabrics you enter products into 3 categories: girls, boys and Mums. The first showcase featuring “Sophie ” by Moda in November last year was a HUGE success with over 70 businesses taking part and 160 items entered. This showcase we have over 120 businesses involved with an opportunity to enter a maximum of 9 items each, I am yet to tally up the entries but it is going to be even bigger and better. This showcase is featuring “The British are coming” and “Weekend Clubhouse” by Michael Miller.
How do you advertise your business and which methods have proven more successful?
At the moment Handmade Love has been mainly promoted via word of mouth, though I have been approached by a few businesses to appear on their sites and blog. Networking for me has been a huge factor in my early success and there are some big plans in place this year which involve a lot of advertising on sites and also in national media which is very exciting.
How do you juggle your family and your work at home business? Any tips for other home based women entrepreneurs?
Ah this to me is the hardest and I do struggle. In between part time work, two businesses, kids sports, volunteering at the kids’ school plus the normal day-to-day mum chores, I often find myself up very late working, though thanks to a new schedule I seem to be managing my time a whole lot better. I seriously would love a few extra hours in the day, that’s for sure. I think all work at home mums struggle and we all struggle to find a work/family balance.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a home based business?
Research your market. Take yourself seriously because if you can’t how can you expect others to? Something I feel is really important too is branding. Branding is not just about the visual. It’s about the dialogue you have with your customers, and the discourse that people have on your page. It’s about how you (and anyone associated with you) carries themselves. Therefore, I operate with professionalism at all times.
Business Name: Handmade Love
Website URL: http://www.handmadelove.com.au
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/handmadelove.com.au
Twitter URL: http://twitter.com/#!/handmadeloveaus
Location: Coffs Harbour NSW