Last weekend I was able to share some news with you on Twitter and Facebook that I've been hinting at for some time. I'm really excited to be the new Chief Writer (someone make me a hat!) at Craft Candy. It's a company that had been on my radar for a while, having read about it in various magazines, and I had downloaded their app as soon as it was released, so the chance to work for such a forward-thinking, creative business while writing to my heart's content makes me a happy Anna indeed.
For 2014 I thought I'd bring back the 'Chat With a Creative Business' series as I know I take a lot of inspiration from noseying at how creative businesses work, and where better to start than with Zoe Arch, Craft Candy's founder?
Hi Boss! So we already know I’m sold on the idea of Craft Candy. Can you tell us how you started it and what it’s all about?
Hi! Well, before I started Craft Candy I wasn’t interested in owning my own business. I had a job I loved, things had started to fall into place and I was content with work and life in general. I started to get an itch to learn something new, but finding something, anything creative to do in my community was hard work and very frustrating. I now know there was loads going on but unless you knew the right person, followed the right blog, picked up the local newspaper at the right time, then it was pretty hard to find these events, so I started blogging about the events I could find. And so Craft Candy was born!
Today Craft Candy is a platform, a website and app (fitted with GPS) to list creative events from across the UK. Craft Candy is about making local creative events accessible to more people. We are working hard to make sure that every creative event i.e. workshops, classes, markets and clubs listed on our site are searchable online. Sure, many creative events are free to join, take part in or visit but with limited budgets for marketing how will all of these great activities and events be found & ultimately visited? This is where we come in. Craft Candy has a growing community of followers across a number of social media platforms, we market these events across our social platforms so they are easily accessible to our creative community and the events are listed on our app. The GPS in the app lists the events in mile radius from where you are standing, so you can decide if it is local enough for you to visit or too far away.
What do you love most about running your own creative business?
I'm still learning, having a start-up is incredibly hard work! However what keeps me going is how reactive it is, we have the capacity to talk about something today and implement it tomorrow, which is very cool and suits my personality. The other things I love about running my own business are that I get to meet lots and lots of interesting people. Those people really get Craft Candy and what we are trying to achieve.
What’s your social media of choice?
Well if you know of any self-help groups for excessive pinners, please ‘pin’ me in that direction!? Shopping is now on the backburner, I've noticed my house has become considerably untidy since Pinterest entered my life, generally I can't leave the site until I find and pin that last amazing image to my Craft Candy projectboards, it’s an early morning, late night… actually, anytime of the day addiction!
But on a serious note, if Pinterest was around many moons ago when I was at university having to carry tons of magazines & scraps of newspaper cuttings for my projects, it would have been a life saver, a website full of inspirational images from over the world, which I could pin and add them neatly to one place which is accessible anywhere. So now I’m making up for lost time!
We’ve talked a lot about how Craft Candy is growing to incorporate all sorts of creative events, as well as crafts, such as photography and gardening. Where else do you see Craft Candy heading?
I started as a blogger and as you know bloggers are very good at harnessing their own communities. With two bloggers now on the team, we want to use our blogging knowledge to grow the Craft Candy community. Our aim is to grow a fabulous creative and interactive community of like-minded lovelies, with whom we talk to, build relations and share relevant information such as creative news, offers, discounts, the latest blog posts, fabulous images and of course your local classes and events information. We aim to build relationships different and better to other companies, treating everyone as individuals and having fun conversations.
|One of my first jobs as Chief Writer was to accompany Zoe to the Renegade Craft Fair. It's a hard knock life.|
What’s been your greatest business triumph so far?
Having a start-up business often means there are weekly business triumphs and I’ve learnt to appreciate everything from featuring in a magazine to hitting key milestones. I've also met some amazing people who have become great friends along the way, so there is never just one achievement I can pinpoint.
There have been a quite a few challenges on the Craft Candy journey, and remember we are still very much at the beginning of it. If I had to pick one I'd say funding, a challenge familiar with all start-up businesses but starting with no money makes a business very resourceful and puts us in a great situation for our future plans and funding prospects.
And finally, where do you go for creative inspiration?
I live in London and it’s not possible to walk anywhere in the city with your eyes closed, nothing goes unnoticed, it’s an inspiring city and I like to think I find creative inspiration everywhere. You'll always find a notebook & pen in my handbag ready to take notes, sketch ideas and take down information. But saying that, I spend hours on the internet researching websites, blogs, reading news articles, planning my next imaginary holiday, the internet really has made the world more accessible.Thanks Zoe! You can see that the boot was placed on the other foot when I was interviewed for Craft Candy here.