Well, we are now halfway into our 12 week pop up shop at Hatch on Oxford Road, Manchester and what a fantastic experience it has been so far. We even featured in this week's Thursday Trader Talk where we were asked questions about our business and how we started.
One of the things we are asked most frequently is how our day is structured. Often, people think that because we are self-employed, we have a lot of 'free; time - when in fact the opposite is true. Being self-employed means that we are never really 'off work'. Even on holidays, we have to be where we have wifi (or pay for wifi packages on cruises) so we can answer customer questions and respond quickly to any issues.
A typical day for us starts at 6am, where we check all our e mails and Etsy convos and deal with any queries. More often than not, we have e mails from our American customers (who make up about a third of our sales on Etsy). We then make a start on our orders for the day. We have online shops on Etsy. NotOnTheHighStreet, Amazon Handmade and our own website. All the orders are packed in the order in which they were placed, unless the customer has selected Express or Next Day Delivery Guaranteed.
Once we have packed our orders, one of us sets off to open the shop and takes the first batch of post for the day to the Post Office. Our shop opens at 11am every day (except Sundays). At the end of the day in the shop, we come home to the studio and then start again on our orders until about 10pm.
As well as working in the shop and making and packing our orders, we also have to find time in the day for things like accounting, making and sourcing new products, website/online shop maintenance, product photography and all the other little things that go into running a business.
It is easy to neglect yourself when you are self-employed so we also have designated 'us' time in the week to try and keep fit. We both walk to the station and to the shop every day, rather than drive and James has Wednesdays off to play football, whilst Anna is a member at the Manchester Aquatics Centre and often pops off during the day to swim. The shop is perfectly located just a couple of minutes walk from the Aquatics Centre - so there is little or no excuse ;)