When did you start up and why? I started in 2016. I initially designed pictures for a hobby but saw a gap in the market. It was then that I could see a potential business from my hobby.
What prompted you to launch the business? I was on a career break supporting our eldest child through a challenging time. I thought if I could turn this idea into a business, I could work from home and be able to generate an income.
What challenges have you overcome since the company's launch? The biggest challenge is cashflow. It is challenging to grow when using your own finances to get started. Also when running your own business, you have to carry out many tasks on top of designing your artwork. You have buyers to communicate with, social media, branding, admin, accounts, websites, and packing orders. I now have a team of five people who help in all areas of the business, this has been a game changer and really helped with business growth.
Tell us about your product offering. Here at Simply Mourne we design unique artworks using natural materials. We aim to have designs for every occasion.
What are your most popular products? The most popular pieces are the robins, the Always range, lovebirds, love you to the moon, tree of hearts, and diamond in the sky.
Have any styles taken you by surprise with their popularity? The Always range was interesting, as I launched only a few designs focusing on what I thought would be popular. I had buyers requesting for others in this range i.e. granddaughter and godmother.
How do you keep your designs fresh and current? Do you follow trends? I aim to release new designs every year. I don't really follow trends as I focus more on occasions.
What sets you apart from your competitors? I provide a high quality finished product. The materials I use are of high quality, the frame can be hung on the wall or free standing. Each piece is finished with branding added to the frame, giving information about the artist.
How are you finding the current climate in the UK? Is it affecting business? I fortunately am finding business very good. I attended two trade shows this year which generated nearly double the stockists. Our products have a very good price point and are perfect gifts.
How do you view the future of independent retail? I believe people are very supportive of supporting local and especially handmade product.
Are you active on social media? How is this important for the business? Yes I am very active on social media and feel this drives a lot of traffic to my website.
Do you have any advice for new businesses starting out in the world of gifts? It does take time. I attended a lot of craft fairs and shows before gaining retail shops. You need to be patient and get as much support as possible from local councils.
What can we expect in the future from the company? We will continue to deliver new designs and plan to work on new products. Please sign up to our newsletter to be informed of everything happening at Simply Mourne!
T: +44 (0)7549 537 067