Has your week got off to a good start? If you’re in need of some words of encouragement after a tough day at work, grab yourself a glass of something nice and read the latest in our series of “Happy Mondays” posts! Today we’re sharing an excerpt from our interview with Hannah Nunn from Radiance Lighting – read on for some inspiring words.
Hannah is one of the talented ladies we spoke to in the run-up launching the Handmade Horizons marketing e-course, to get her advice and feedback on building a creative business online. We’re dying to go and visit her gorgeous lighting and craft boutique when we eventually manage a trip up to Yorkshire! In the meantime though, we’re more than happy to spend time on her stunning website and blogs…..
Is there one thing you know now, that you wish you had known when you were first starting your business?
“I’m actually so glad I went into it completely naive! I remember the night before I opened feeling scared and saying to my boyfriend ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, I have never even worked in a shop’. He had sound advice that I still take to heart. He said ‘do it in your own way’. I don’t know if I’m doing it ‘right’ but it seems to be working!
One other key thing is I wish I had valued my mailing list right from the start. Early on I had lists in odd sketchbooks but I never compiled it properly and postal addresses were a pain. I have been more organised the last few years and have discovered that my email mailing lists are very very valuable indeed, sales wise. When I do a mailout I sell stuff! The people on that list joined because they like what I do and want to keep in touch. These are my special people and it pays to look after them!”
What advice would you give to handmade sellers who have had some success with selling online, and are thinking about opening a shop?
“Well as you know, I didn’t do it this way round. I had the bricks and mortar shop first and then boosted that with an online presence. The wonderful thing about having both is that the shop acts as a brilliant advertisement for the website. People visit the shop and then come back to shop online, again and again. Obviously it would be silly to open a shop solely to advertise your website but one can really support the other. It can work especially well if you’re in a place that gets a lot of outside visitors.
It really is a lot of work though, so only do it if you have got a real passion for it and can handle the commitment of opening every day. If you have that passion then that will give you the drive you need.
It’s not always easy to get on with your making ‘in the back of the shop’ either, as you can be disturbed a lot. So think about your opening hours. I shut the shop on Tuesdays so that I can get my head down and work without being disturbed if I need to.”
You’ve just finished writing a book on “Contemporary Craft Lighting”, which is due to be published next year. Congratulations! How did this come about?
“Thankyou! It’s been quite a year! When I was exhibiting at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair last year a woman visited my stand and we chatted about my work and all about Radiance and all the marvellous makers who I stock. She came back later in the day and it turned out she was an editor from A&C Black publishers in London. She said that ever since they had published a book on ceramic lighting, she’s been longing to do one on handmade lighting across all mediums and would I like to do it. Of course I said YES!
I have had an amazing year interviewing lighting artists from across the world about their stories and their ‘aha’ moments in lighting up their work. Illuminate: Contemporary Craft Lighting is going to be published in November 2012.” (It’s available to pre-order on Amazon now! – Claire)
How important is it for you to get out and about and meet other people in the creative community? For example craft fairs, meeting other shop keepers, creative retreats etc?
“Very important! I feel really well connected to other makers, shop keepers, gallery owners, blog writers and other amazing people. It’s a wonderfully supportive community and I am very happy to be a part of it. When you do craft fairs you never know who you’re going to meet (as you read just now) and what opportunities will come out of it. As I have the shop I don’t feel the need to get out all that often as I get to meet people all the time, but a couple of times a year it’s a great thing to do.”
What’s next for Radiance Lighting?
“Well after the commitment of writing the book for the last year I am really looking forward to getting back into the studio and doing some new work. At the end of the year there will be celebrations when I launch my book!”
Thank you so much Hannah for sharing your story with us!