This week Graphic Designer Nicky Attridge talks about leaving behind workplace stress to create a business you love.
Tell us a little about the person behind the business?
I am a mum to 2 girls aged 10 and 12, a wife to my wonderful husband of nearly 12 years and a super busy business owner. We recently moved from the hustle and bustle of Auckland for a quiet, small community in rural Taranaki. Talk about a change of lifestyle! We love it!
And now a little about the business itself?
The Chic Party Boutique was created a few years back when I discovered my love of graphic design. We specialise in personalised stationery for parties, weddings and other special events. I also have a range of fill-in birthday invitations which I designed and launched about a year ago.
How did you come up with your business name?
Surprisingly enough it didn’t take that long. I just started playing with a whole lot of different party, celebration type words and it came together. I asked my husband what he thought, we made a couple of tweeks, and it was decided on.
What made you want to begin a work at home business and how did you get started?
I was working part time in a stressful profession and I found graphic design was a wonderful creative outlet for me. I began creating invitations for my own children’s parties and it grew from there. I love the creative side of the business, I love seeing both mine and my client’s ideas coming to life. It’s super fun.
What inspires you to keep your business going?
I enjoy it, I get an immense amount of pleasure from creating. I think it would be really difficult if I didn’t get such a kick out of it. I am in the process of retiring a load of old designs. Looking back at those and even earlier ones I can see how far I’ve come and how much my skills have improved over the years. I’m really proud of what I’ve created. It’s a great motivator.
Do you have a current best-selling product or service? If yes, tell us about it.
I have a couple. The chalkboard themed invitations and the bunting themed invitations are by far and away my current best sellers. I am being asked for more custom work from party planners which is great. I create custom designs which don’t get sold again, but it’s fun creating unique stationery just the same.
How do you advertise your business and what methods have proven more successful?
I mainly advertise online. I’ve found that print advertising is not only incredibly expensive, but doesn’t tend to work as well as online advertising. I know myself that I often look through magazines and think “oh yes I must keep that in mind”, but I never go back to it. I think with party stationery, it’s not an every day sort of a purchase so if someone sees me advertise in a magazine but they don’t need party stationery for 6 months or so, then they’ll soon forget me. The majority of my clients come through Google searches, which makes sense as people only go looking for party stationery when they need it.
How do you juggle your family and your work at home business? Any tips for other WAHPs?
It’s a neverending struggle. I’m not currently working outside the home, so I do find this a little easier. I get most of my work done in the day so can relax with my family most evenings. When I was working part time, I spent most evenings and weekends working on designs. My girls are a little older now so it’s a bit easier than it was. I guess my advice would be to plan your work times as much as you can. Set aside an hour or two here and there to work, and then put it to one side and spend time with your family. It is a juggle, but if everyone is on board, you can make it work.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a home based business?
Be prepared to put in an awful lot of work. It’s not likely to be an overnight sensation, you’ll really have to work at it. But if it’s something you’re totally passionate about and really get a kick out of, go for it, don’t let anything hold you back. If you don’t give it a shot, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.
Connect with Nicky:
Name: Nicky Attridge
Business: The Chic Party Boutique
Location: Taranaki, New Zealand