Really excited to share this tassel earring queen’s brand story, Kylie of Jack and Freda is a creative superstar.. even if I do disagree with the way she has her cream teas (sorry not sorry!). If you’re an avid Instagrammer you might have even seen her gorgeous jewellery pop up already, where she counts Instagram royalty Erica Davies as a fan.
Hi, I’m Kylie, originally from Devon but now living in Berkshire with my 2 sons (3yrs and 7yrs) and husband. I’m very loyal to my Devon roots and for some strange reason it really riles me when people don’t agree with the Devonshire way of eating cream teas – CREAM FIRST!
Tell us a little bit about your business
I used to work in advertising in London, but when we had our 2nd son we moved away from London to Wokingham, where we could afford a bigger house and garden. I just knew my old job and commute wouldn’t work around having kids, but I’m someone who loves working and always has a project on the go. I set up Jack and Freda (which are my grandparents names!) on maternity leave and it’s now in it’s 3rd year of business. I make tassel jewellery and also sell a range of products from other independent brands.
Once you had your idea for Jack and Freda how did you go about turning it into a reality?
I almost can’t remember this stage as was in the midst of a new baby! I started by researching and contacting small brands asking if I could sell their products in my ‘shop’ (which initially was going to be a weekly market stall and website). Once I had a good selection of products, I started building my website and it’s kind of evolved from there. (I started out only selling other brands products and it’s only fairly recently that I started making jewellery which has really taken off).
What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?
Time! Which I expect is most people’s answer! Having a really good idea but only being able to work on it during nap times and in the evenings was difficult. I have more time now my youngest is at pre-school, but there is never enough time in the day to do everything. The fun stuff is the making, but there’s also the admin of running a business, marketing, photography, fulfilment etc. I’m trying to organise my child-free time so I do specific tasks on specific days, but I’m also a freelance social media manger for a couple of local businesses so time management is something I need to work on!
I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without?
Working from home means I eat a lot of pate on toast! I find myself having a second breakfast after the school run and not having a separate studio or workshop means I can access snacks all the time – not a good thing!
When running a business these days, especially an online store, you need to build a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?
I LOVE Instagram – it’s such a supportive, friendly community, especially for creative small businesses I think. I feel like people are generous with their commenting and sharing, and there’s a real camaraderie for supporting independent businesses.
Engage, engage, engage! Follow, like, comment, reply as much as you can. The more you put into Instagram, the more it will work for you.
Captions are as important as the image – think about what you’re saying and give your followers/customers something they’ll find interesting/fun/likeable.
Instagram Stories – use them. I’m yet to brave speaking on Insta Stories, but I know I need to start doing this! I often watch someone’s Stories and don’t check their grid anymore.
What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?
Oh yes! Seeing Erica Davies wear my earrings and getting a mention in the Selfish Mother Insta-zine were BIG moments for me. When things like that happen, I pinch myself and go ‘oh my god, people actually like my stuff!’
Has being a parent influenced the way your business works?
Yes, because I feel more confident since becoming a parent. Little things which would have stressed me out in my career pre-kids, now seem so insignificant. I’m comfortable contacting influencers on Instagram for example, or chatting to people I don’t know (like introducing myself to the Mollie Makes Editor at Kirstie’s Handmade Fair), because what’s the worst that can happen?!
Running a business as a ‘one girl band’ means you have to be and do everything from managing your budget, to being a buyer, a maker and good at sales, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed.
Speak to people who are in a similar position. I’m a member of The Mamahood, which is a community of like-minded mother makers/small business owners and we support and help each other on a daily basis. It’s like having a team of coworkers. Our daily Whatsapp chats can be anything from help, what’s everyone doing about GDPR to help, my kid’s been up all night with chicken pox!
What’s been your favourite product so far and why?
All of the products I make with the tiny tassels are fun to make and the tassels come in so many great colours. I can’t stop adding new colours.
Got any new products or ranges in the pipeline?
I’ve got some ideas, but no time at the moment to work on them! Watch this space!
Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business or even start up on online store?
I’d say just do it! It’s relatively easy to set up a website these days or start off on Etsy to test the water. Make sure your photography looks professional, but all you need for that is good light and a phone. All of my photography is taken by me on my iPhone.
A huge thank you to Kylie for sharing her story with us, I hope you found it interesting and please do get in touch with her if you’ve got any questions, or leave a comment below.
Kylie is offering 10% off for all you lovely readers!
Just pop the below code in at the checkout when you’ve chosen what you’d like to buy.
Find out more about Jack and Freda
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