Today I’m thrilled to welcome Nicola Eslick from Starling Store, a fabulous online boutique with a fun, contemporary edge. Here, Nicola shares her experiences of building her business over the last year. I hope you’re ready to be inspired?
What’s your name? Nicola Eslick
What is the name of your business? Starling Store
What is your business and when did you start it?
Online store of contemporary interior accessories. Launched in May 2013, it has grown enormously since its launch, with every month bringing new and exciting challenges.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I’ve always worked in the fashion industry but always loved interiors and styling for the home. I was looking to work in a new direction and thought putting my skills of styling and trend forecasting, together with my passion for well made, beautifully designed products, could offer a fresh approach to online interiors. My aim is to create a unique shopping experience, offering inspirational pieces for the modern home.
Can you share 3 positive aspects about being running your own business?
I think the biggest draw is being able to manage your own time. I’ve freelanced for the last 15 years, whilst managing to raise a family of 3 busy kids, very often, having to factor in work trips to the other side of the world. I strive to achieve a work/ life balance and try to prioritise family time.
Running your own business also always you to have a real creative freedom. I’m constantly trying to look at new ways to present the products within the store and love photographing new product ranges. When buying I always bear in mind how a product will be used in the home and how to present this in the store, which is allows a creative element to the job which I relish.
Being able to make quick decisions that impact the store, is also an important factore in having your own business. I love the fast pace of each day, which can involve anything from placing orders for new ranges, to tackling online marketing and building sales strategies. I find there is a creative way to approach almost every area of the business, and as a result enjoy the challenge of how to improve each area.
I can easily find ways to be distracted when it comes to doing the accounts! Keeping on top of all aspects of the business, even the bits, you’re not so keen on, can be a real challenge some days.
How do you keep motivated?
Motivation isn’t a problem, because I love what I do. I have great feedback from my customers, which is always great. I love seeking out new products from around Europe and I’m proud to stock many items not sold anywhere else in the UK. It’s great to work on a business that is growing so successfully and so quickly, and I am always looking to see what’s round the next corner.
Would you change anything you’ve done in building and developing your business?
I spent a lot of time developing the site and planning the product range, but in hindsight, I should have been researching SEO for the website at the same time as the products. Analytics has been a steep learning curve!
What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own business?
Research your market. It’s said time and time again, but it’s the most important part, understanding your place in the marketplace. Look at where you want to be placed in the market, and look at who your customer will be, what they want from your business in terms of product and service and what they will pay for that.
Oh and don’t foregt to enjoy it!
You can follow Nicola and Starling Store in the following places:
www.starlingstore.com // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram