Setting Up Your Own Business? Read Co-founder Jackie’s Top Tips for Success

 

How it all began: the very first Little Book prototype

They say necessity is the mother of invention and that’s certainly true in my case. The idea for the ‘Little Books’ came about when I became utterly fed up with my earrings and necklaces getting tangled, broken or lost. I searched everywhere for a product that would solve the problem and also look good on my dressing table, but nothing existed. That’s when I came up with my own solution to the problem. Simon, my husband asked a contact who made bags for television equipment to bring my concept, the ‘Little Book’ prototype, to life. The result was so effective that friends quickly began requesting their own and the idea for a business was born!

Seven years on from the creation of the first ‘Little Book’, the business continues to go from strength to strength, so much so that I sometimes get up-and-coming entrepreneurs asking me for business tips! I have three pieces of advice for anyone setting up their own business.

1. Test demand

By having samples of our product made we were able to test demand for it by persuading a local gift shop to stock a small selection. Within 24 hours they had sold out. This gave us the courage to launch the business properly and we received invaluable feedback about product formats, colours etc., which we took on board. My advice is to identify a local shop or business that reflects your own values, and whose products/services are targeted at the same audience. Then go in with some samples and just ask them to trial them! If you’re friendly, open and honest about what you’re asking them to do for you (and why), you will be surprised how supportive other entrepreneurs can be of fledgling businesses. After all they’ve been there themselves!

2. Take criticism

When you’re setting up your own business it can be easy to get carried away with how fantastic your idea is! However, you need to ensure that your own enthusiasm is grounded in reality. Listening to the opinions of others about your idea is therefore a must.  Whether it’s your partner, your family or a mixed group of friends you get round for a bottle of wine and a chat about your concept or a research company focus group – they will all have a point of view. It’s great to hear what they love about your idea, but even more important can be inviting the criticisms. This is how you spot any pitfalls that you hadn’t thought of and can tweak your offering before you launch to make sure your product really works and is the best it can be. It is always difficult to hear the negatives when you’ve invested so much of yourself in an idea, but criticism is often the best advice you’ll ever get.

3. Create something you love

You’re likely to end up living and breathing your product/service once your business is off the ground, so make sure it’s something you love! I can guarantee there will be times when you’re frustrated, stressed out and questioning everything you’re doing. But if you’ve created something you love and believe in, your enthusiasm will overcome the doubts and your drive to see your product come to life will keep you pushing on through the toughest of times. And I can assure you, it’s worth it.

Good luck!

 

Little, Little Books – The Ultimate Travel Companion

Holidays! Aren’t they fantastic? A time to relax, re-charge and indulge your sight and your senses with new experiences and local delicacies. But a recent study conducted by Little Shop Of revealed that more than two in five of the UK population find packing for holidays stressful. Over half of people surveyed said this was because they couldn’t decide what to pack and 20% said they get anxious about forgetting their accessories.

Well Little Shop Of is here to help! Did you know that as well as our Little Books we also make Little, Little Books? Measuring a compact 11cm x 15cm they make the ideal travel companion – taking up minimal suitcase space. Despite their diminutive size they have all the same helpful features as the larger books, with soft padded pages for protection and a clever design that ensures jewellery will never get misplaced, tangled or tarnished. They can also be discreetly stored amongst other books in your hotel room to give you peace of mind about taking your precious pieces on vacation.

Indeed our Little, Little Books love nothing more than a holiday adventure! So to celebrate the start of the summer holiday season, we are launching a new competition. Each month we will upload to Twitter and Facebook a photo of one of our lucky books on holiday and invite our followers to guess where in the world it is. We will then pick a winner at random from the correct entries who will receive their own Little, Little Book of Earrings, Necklaces or Rings to take on their summer break.

Everyone at Little Shop Of HQ is keen to be involved in the fun as well so next time you’re on a trip, why not take a photo of one of our books enjoying some down time to get us guessing too! Upload it to our Twitter @LittleShopOfLtd or Facebook account @LittleShopOfLtd using the hashtag #LittleBookBreak

Wedding Jewellery From Around the World

From the very beginning of mankind, civilisations have celebrated wedding unions with jewellery.  And despite the changing face of marriage, this custom is still widely practised today. So as we embark on wedding season, Little Shop Of thought we’d take a look through some of the varied and interesting jewellery traditions incorporated into weddings across the world.

In Ireland, many couples wear a Claddagh ring, named after a small fishing village outside Galway. The intricately designed ring symbolises friendship, love and loyalty. When worn as a wedding ring, the Claddagh is placed on the left ring finger with the heart facing the wrist showing that the bride or groom’s heart is taken. This style belongs to a group of rings dating from Roman times called “fede rings”, meaning “joined in faith”. As well as their romantic significance, they are also seen as icons of Irish identity.

Greek couples still practise the ancient Greek tradition of wearing wedding crowns, known as Stefana. Originally these would have been constructed from vines, flower and fauna tied together by a ribbon to symbolise the newly-weds unity. Today a Stefana is normally made from pearls, gold and silver.

In Norway, crowns are also a popular wedding tradition where it is custom for the bride to wear a silver and gold crown adorned with small charms. The sound these charms make when the bride moves around are meant to deflect evil spirits.

At Hindu weddings, the bride traditionally wears sixteen pieces of jewellery, which are usually made of yellow gold adorned with gemstones. One of most important pieces of jewellery is the Mangalasutra, a black beaded necklace believed to provide protection from evil. The groom ties the Mangalasutra around the bride’s neck in a special ceremony called Mangalya Dharanam (Sanskrit for “wearing the auspicious”).

In parts of China, the bride wears silver jewellery to bring good fortune and luck on her marriage. However, unlike in the UK when wedding superstitions, such as wearing something borrowed or blue, are only thought about a few days before, the Chinese often begin collecting special pieces when the daughter is very young.

In Masai culture, women get married wearing a special wedding collar made for them by their mother. Despite the craftsmanship and beauty of these elaborate beaded strands after the ceremony her father must spit on her! The purpose is not to tempt fate by being overly supportive of the happy couple.

If you’re planning your own wedding this summer, why not see if you can incorporate some of your own cultural roots into the jewellery for your big day? And if you need somewhere special to store it, don’t forget to check out our products page for our full range of practical and stylish storage solutions!

Untidy House and Desk? Watch Out – You’re Being Judged!

Spring has sprung, grass is sprinkled with yellow bursts of daffodils and the air is filled with the anticipation of the changing season. March is the perfect time to start afresh, so earlier in the month we partnered with National Spring Cleaning Week. Now in its 14th year, the week aims to encourage everyone to clear out the clutter.

As part of our involvement, we decided to conduct some research into the negative effects of an untidy home and the results were startling!

Move over, Hyacinth Bucket!

As a nation, we are quick to judge our friends for having an untidy home, with over 1 in 5 of us viewing them as lazy, and 22% viewing it as a sign that they don’t take pride in their home. However, our research showed that it’s not just friends that are likely to judge you for mess. Over 40% of us would be less likely to promote a co-worker if they were disorganised and cluttered.

Messing with our minds

It seems clutter is also messing with the nation’s minds, with 39% of the UK feeling de-motivated when their house is disorganised. The negative effects of clutter are further highlighted with almost 1/3 of us left feeling anxious and depressed. It is also having an impact on our social lives with 28% of respondents claiming not to invite friends over if their homes are in a muddled state.  But that doesn’t mean we are using those lonely nights to clean up our act, as 1/3 of the nation admitted to piling the mess in a cupboard and forgetting about it, rather than having a much needed spring clean!

Wasting time

As well as losing friends and promotions, the UK is losing significant time in the workplace as people search for misplaced items. Almost three-quarters of the population (73%) are late up to four times a month as a result of being unable to locate an essential item.

“A Place for Everything and everything in its place”

It is disturbing to see that, not only does clutter make us feel bad in ourselves, but it also has a detrimental impact on how we are seen.  So, how can we clean up our act? Our mantra at Little Shop Of, has always been “a place for everything and everything in its place”. By giving everything a designated place, it makes it much easier to put it away and then find it again.

We all lead busy lives and not many of us have the time or inclination to devote a weekend to the duster. But even small things can make a big difference! Why not wipe down the kitchen cupboards whilst you’re waiting for the pasta to cook or attack oven gunk whilst the kettle’s boiling? By making small changes before you know it, your house will be clean and clear of clutter and, as our survey shows, so will your mind!

Start Your Holiday Happier!

We love a holiday! With cheap city getaways, competitive flights and endless accommodation options, from camping to castles, there’s never been a better time to book that break! However, we also know how stressful packing for holidays can be. Pack too much and you end up burdened with heavy bags and excess luggage fees. Pack too little and you spend the first day running around buying missing items.

This year, over 12 million of us are expected to take winter holidays (source: ABTA)- that’s a lot of packing and unpacking! With this in mind, co-founder of Little Shop Of Ltd, Jackie McLaren, shares her top packing tips, so you can start your holiday happier…

  1. Make A List

A few days before, start jotting down everything you need to take with you. Make a comprehensive list and then leave it in a prominent place so you can easily add to it. By the time you come to open your case, you’ll have a succinct record of everything you need.

  1. Keep It Fresh

Unless you are a perpetual jetsetter, it’s likely that your suitcase will spend a lot of the year zipped shut, stuffed in a cupboard or loft. Pop some fabric conditioner sheets or lavender bags in amongst your clothes to stop them inheriting that musty smell.

  1. Lay Out Your Clothes

Before putting anything in your suitcase, lay out all the clothes you intend to take on your bed. This makes it much easier to avoid those packing mistakes such as a favourite top that doesn’t go with anything or three pairs of jeans for a two day trip!

  1. Roll, Don’t Fold

We’ve all read that too much sun can cause wrinkles but did you know that they can appear before the plane has even landed? To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them.

  1. Layering Is Key

Wearing layers can add colour, texture and pattern, providing a simple way to expand your travel wardrobe. It also allows you to pack light even if you’re visiting multiple climates.

Packing in layers is another effective method for preventing clothes getting creased in your case. It also means you can easily find key items without having to unpack your entire bag.

  1. Bring Out The Bling

Jewellery can help transform any outfit- making your clothes work for the beach and the bar. However, if the thought of sifting through all your accessories to find the perfect match leaves you needing more than just a holiday, why not invest in one of our stylish Little Books (link) or Bundle Bags (link) offering the perfect space-saving solution for your suitcase.

  1. Cushion Your Compacts

To prevent your powder or eye shadow compacts from cracking during your travels, place a flat cotton wool pad in between the pressed powder and the lid.

  1. Leave Space In Your Case

If like me, you enjoy shopping make sure to leave room in your suitcase for the all-important souvenirs!

De-tox Your Dressing Table

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about de-toxes. After indulging in some of the best food you’ve had all year, the media encourage you to eat cabbage soup and water until Spring. All this whilst returning to work, faced with nothing but dark winter nights and the knowledge that the next public holiday isn’t until Easter. In our opinion, it’s the worst time of year to go ‘cold turkey’, especially when we’ve still got Christmas leftovers in the freezer! However, there are other ways you can get the buzz and feel-good factor of a fresh start. Why not de-tox your home instead? Continue reading