Sandy Taylor has made a real success of selling Etsy jewelry, as well as other craft items. She’s a mother of five children aged from six to 27.
Throughout the 27 years she has been a mum, Sandy has always tried to get jobs that fit around family life. Over the years she has been a supermarket assistant, a weekend estate agent (for 7 years), an Avon lady, a Virgin cosmetics consultant (in the evenings), a health care assistant, and a teaching assistant. She is also trained as a nurse!
However, nothing has given her the adaptability that being self -employed has. She has been self-employed with her own small business for the past 4 years. She makes jewelry designs and children’s party favours under the name of Sandy Kisses UK. She has also just opened a second shop on Etsy selling floating charm glass lockets.
We were delighted to be able to interview Sandy and find out more about her Etsy jewelry business.
What gave you the idea for an Etsy Jewelry business?
Years ago, we moved to Norfolk (UK) as my husband had taken a redundancy package. We brought a couple of bouncy castles / outdoor games to hire out in an attempt to get some money coming in.
Sadly it didn’t work out, as traveling to venues outweighed the income – so we sold them. I went back to nursing, but then while I was on maternity leave my husband and I started up a shop selling party bag fillers. We sold stickers, puzzle books, little tattoos and similar things, all themed for parties. As well as being a house-husband, he carried that on once I went back to nursing.
A year into going back to work I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and found that the shift work was making things worse. After six months of sickness, I had to walk away from my beloved nursing career. I started up my own company, because my husband still had the party shop. I made children’s necklaces initially, and that quickly expanded to TV/film and book-themed jewelry designs for adults. My shop soon started to grow!
Had you ever had your own business before?
Yes – our bouncy castle business (Little Jumpers).
It failed miserably but showed us that having our own business was doable. We just had to change stance and sell something different.
How did you expect the business to develop? Has it met or exceeded your expectations?
My business has exceeded my expectations. I’m in my fourth year and have made a profit for the past three years.
As long as I can pay my rent and feed my children I’m happy. I may not be a millionaire or anywhere near but the possibility is always there!
Did you have to spend much on start-up costs?
You do need a certain amount of money to start a business like mine, but I started with just GB£1,000 to buy jewellery making items. From then on, I would say that the majority of my profit was ploughed straight back into buying more stock.
I was lucky to be selling items that were popular, and (at the time) one of a kind, so I sold items straight away and fortunately continue to do so!
If you had your time again would you do anything differently?
I probably would have skipped the bouncy castle business as we lost thousands in that sadly.
How do you manage to juggle work with family life?
Being self-employed means you can work around your family. I drop off my little boy at school, walk the dog, then get straight to work.
I’m able to attend assemblies and school meetings without having to ask anyone to help, and can still ensure that the day’s orders are posted. When I’ve collected my little boy from school we take the post and orders to the post office, then I transform back into being a mum! I go for walks on the beach, cook dinner, and when my son goes to bed I work on my business, adding new stock, updating tracking numbers, ordering supplies, etc.
Has your business improved your standard of living?
Absolutely. When I was a nurse, I worked 13-hour shifts, which meant I was gone at six in the morning and back at ten at night. I didn’t even see my son for four days of the week.
What has been your biggest success – and if there is one, your biggest disappointment?
My biggest success has been working with a theatre company in the USA to help create Jewelry for their upcoming productions.
My biggest “disappointment” is growth. I’m too scared to take that next step, which is now long overdue! That next step will be getting myself a unit for my business, and a staff member to help with my growth.
What would you say to other people thinking of starting their own business?
I would say consider your competition: is the market already saturated? You will always do well if you start selling something that no one else has. And make sure you register with the tax authorities!
Is there a stand out moment in your business so far?
Without a doubt, the standout moments for me always involve my customers, and when they write to me telling me how much they like my Etsy jewelry – it means the world to me.
We’d like to thank Sandy for sharing her story. If you have a successful home working business and you’d like to share a case study – please contact us! We love to share these stories to help inspire others.