Welcome to another instalment of the latest Natbee’s Series where Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs are featured once every month telling us a bit about their career and products/services with the hope to inspire more of us to start up our own business and get crafty! For the month of October, we feature lovely Jacqui from the English Hound – I found Jacqui’s stunning creations whilst searching for a personalised gift for a friend who is a dog lover and instantly fall in love with all of Jacqui’s creations! Jacqui is an animal lover and believes that dogs are much more than the stereotypes: ball-fetchers, bum-sniffers and tail-chasers.
Here’s Jacqui’s inspiring Interview:
1. Hi Jacqui, it’s lovely to have you here today, could you start of by telling us a little about yourself and your business please? What inspired you to start the the English Hounds? Jacqui English Hound
Hi, thank you for contacting me about my English Hounds! My name is Jacqui and I live with my Husband, two daughters, dog and two cats in Warwick. It took me two years to create English Hound and I launched on Etsy at the end of last year. Like so many of us, I am crazy about animals and particularly dogs. For many years I wanted to own my own dog, but because I was working full time wasn’t able to make the commitment. Owning an English Hound is the next best thing: you get all the benefits and they don’t even require walks or feeding. You can choose and personalise your favourite hound either for yourself or as an adorable and unique gift for friends or family.
2. Did you pursue formal training or are you self-taught? Jacqui English Hound
I’ve always been creative and love making things. After a pretty full on corporate career, I took a break when my second daughter was born and completed an Interior Design Diploma. Although I don’t work in Interior Design, this gave me the opportunity to develop artistic skills, work with beautiful things and think differently about what I wanted to do going forward. I also met some wonderful people and the whole experience gave me the confidence to give my English Hounds idea a go!
3. What does your creative space look like? Jacqui English Hound
I work in the attic, but we have recently renovated our home and that gave me the opportunity to open up the space and add roof windows, giving me lots of wonderful light! It’s still a work in progress, but I love working there surrounded by all of my art and craft equipment….and English Hounds of course!
4. Do you remember your first sale and what it felt like? Jacqui English Hound
Well the first sale was to a friend! I imagine that may be the same for a number of us. But the first sale to someone that I didn’t know was very special, it was actually a Dachshund which I shipped to a lady in California. What made it even more special was hearing how delighted she was with her English Hound, the presentation and service. I still love the fact that people choose my doggies and imagine they are crazy animal lovers like me as well.
5. Describe a typical day in your life!
I always start the day by walking my dog Freddie. We live in the centre of Warwick and have a beautiful park at the side of the River Avon. It gives me a chance to plan the rest of the day! Next I dispatch any orders, but after that everyday is different. Recently I have been designing some new breeds to add to our range, as well as working on new images for the website.
6. As a small business owner, what is the biggest challenge you have encountered so far?
Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, you still have the same range of responsibilities for your business. Creative, sourcing, admin, accounts and promotion and only you to make it all happen! It’s essential to be pretty organised and self disciplined!
7. What is the one tip you would offer someone who is looking on starting up their own business?
Be realistic about the costs, particular the cost of promoting your business. This is especially important for online businesses and something I underestimated in the beginning. Take advice from those with experience wherever you can….it really is a free gift!
8. Where would you like to be a year from now?
Still selling English Hounds, perhaps an extended range and still having lots of fun with these crazy puppies!