This week’s interview with a (female) small business owner is with Carol Loyd who owns an inventive and unusual company specialising in products that appeal to all the senses. As a former SEN (Special Educational Needs) teacher, I was intrigued by the concept. I met Carol when we were both taking part in Michelle Rose’s marketing course (click here to find out more about Michelle).
What is the name of your business? Sensory Treasures
When did it start? July 2016
Why did you decide to start a business?
I wanted a change of occupation. I had so much experience; I didn’t want it to go to waste. I wanted to provide a service.
What was your work background?
I had a background in nursery education, I was a children’s centre manager, a children’s support worker, and had training in special needs.
Tell me a bit about the business.
My business caters for all ages. Sensory Treasures offers multi-sensory opportunities and experiences. We all have different learning styles, for example, for young babies the senses of taste and smell are key ones. My products give support for learning. I also provide sensory products for the elderly, for example, people who are having trouble with recall. We may know that we like the beach, but not know why – how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes. For example, an ex-fisherman might like the sound of the sea and someone who has knitted in the past – wool would be included in their bag or basket. Individual packs are made around their interests and the items inside help them to be calm and this reduces stress.
I make drawstring bags of a coloured print, linked to the customers interest, for example bright colours for a five-year-old, and inside there will be specially chosen items for that particular individual.
Everyone fidgets, and I supply items that will keep a child calm on a shopping list or going on holiday. I also have ‘fiddle mats’ for the elderly, and fiddle blankets for babies.
What things have been difficult for you in setting up/running your business?
I guess not knowing where to start and the fear of the unknown.
What would you say to someone in the early stages of setting up a business?
I would say get as much support as you can. Network, network, network as this really gives you an insight into barriers, and the benefits of working for yourself. It helps to know that you’re not alone, as it can be scary and daunting.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
Making your own decisions and knowing that at the end of the day good and bad it’s down to you, but you have the power to make a difference.
And in other news:
Spoonflower have now introduced a velvet into their fabric range, so you can order any of my fabric designs to be printed onto velvet. I have ordered up some velvet in ‘Abstract Watercolour’ to make cushions.