What’s your name? Paula Jayne Martin
What is the name of your business? My Pink Elephant
What is your business and when did you start it?
We primarily started sourcing exciting, unique and ethical products, be it scarves, shawls or hand carved wooden transfer blocks, amongst other things from remote villages throughout South East Asia near to four years ago now; which we initially sold at arts and crafts markets and exhibited at trade fairs. The response in our first year of trading was simply astonishing which encouraged us to set up My Pink Elephant as an e-shop and website to reach a wider audience, leading eventually to us creating our own designs for certain products to be hand produced in small numbers by various traditional artisans.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Having travelled throughout the world, looking to discover other cultures, I have been most inspired by the vibrancy of colours used in the region which in turn introduced me to the ancient almost defunct hand crafting techniques and choices of fabrics and colours used by most communities in that part of the world. Having been exposed to such wonderful products I simply had to give them a platform.
Can you share 3 positive aspects about being running your own business?
-Satisfaction of helping very poor communities
-Flexibility of time to spend with family and friends
-No influence on my decision making
Since the economic downturn, having to worry about keeping the business afloat as most banks are not very supportive of small independent businesses.
How do you keep motivated?
Having the freedom of making my own decisions, choosing my own products and the satisfaction of knowing that I am supporting a dying craft help me keep focused.
Would you change anything you’ve done in building and developing your business?
I would have done more research of agencies supporting small businesses with advice and would have planned ahead more thoroughly before taking the leap.
What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own design/craft/interiors business?
Do your research!…As we do have wonderful supporting networks for the smaller business within the UK who are generous with their advice and guidance and have an unshakeable absolute belief in what you want to achieve.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Paula! I do hope others have been inspired by your business and your products.
You can find more about Paula’s business on her website – www.mypinkelephant.co.uk.