Why I started the English Charm Co

My name is Natasha and I own The English Charm Co. I am the Keepsake Business Owner/Designer

I am an independent Keepsake Designer and maker. I have a studio in Worting House courtyard where I handcraft all my work. Customers come to my studio to look at the work on display which includes silver keepsakes featuring personalised handprints, footprint, fingerprints, drawings and petprints. There is also a display of 2D and 3D hand and foot castings as well as family hand casting and pet paw casts. I take all the impressions at the studio which makes it very easy for customers, or I am happy to visit people at home too. I am an Accredited Trainer with the Craft Ecademy so I also teach women and sometimes men too how to make the keepsakes and start up their own businesses.

The nature of my business means it spans a wide variety of markets from baby to weddings, to memorial. It is a very rewarding job as I am privileged enough to be able to offer the service and a lasting keepsake.

My career before starting this business was as a European Product Manager for Remington, and also Britax Childcare. My job took me all over Europe and I developed products with Hong Kong factories to be distributed to our European colleagues. The role was very creative and marketing focused which I loved. I wanted to start my own business after I had my children which incorporated elements I had in my previous roles without the travel. I also wanted me flexibility to be able to spend time with the kids.

My current role is so diverse. When you run your own business you have to do EVERYTHING, that means admin, invoicing, budgets, marketing, website, SEO, social media, creating new ideas, making the products, designing packaging, leaflets and product photography. You learn so much which is great but hard to do on your own when you have 2 kids, a husband, 3 cats and a dog. I wouldn’t change it though because it is my baby which I have grown. I am also independent so I am not part of a franchise. I have the ability to be completely in control.

3 days a week I train so this involves me teaching people from the Craft Ecademy casting and keepsake jewellery. The other two days I am making my products. It is a fulltime job now. My children are 7 and 10 yrs so it is a little easier now they are bigger.

Making the products, seeing people’s faces when they receive their own special personalised piece of silver or cast. Making is the best part.

Accounts and invoicing are the worst, I think they are for a lot of people. Juggling everything for the business along with family life is challenging because I like to make sure I am also around to take and pick the kids up from school when I can, take them to after school clubs, go to school assembly’s.

My role means I am spending less if no time at all in the gym which I did love. I am going to TRY and get a work life balance and re-introduce this at least for 2 hours a week. I think it is important to have a little me time too. My role could involve taking on an apprentice at some point as the business is growing.

It is very scary starting your own business and you do doubt yourself a lot in the beginning but it is so important to keep revisiting why you are doing it and looking at a longterm strategy so you evolve the business and make changes where necessary to keep it growing. It was the best thing I ever did and I would say if you have any doubts at all, don’t just go for it.

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