Selling bold and bright, cute necklace designs, Frankie’s initial idea for her business stemmed from creating her own ‘name’ beaded necklace. Despite never having any intention to make any more than one necklace for herself, after giving it a go and realising how much fun the process was, Frankie began to play around with designs and techniques – and from this experimenting, Made By Frankie was brought to life!
So Frankie, how did it all come together into a business after you’d made just that one necklace for yourself?
I’d had fun creating lots of designs and before I knew it, I had built up a pretty big selection of necklaces and bracelets – so I decided I wanted to start to sell. I didn’t expect to get many sales nor did I have a business plan prepared, but in a way, I think doing it in a relaxed manner and just enjoying it actually led to it being more successful for me. I had fun with it and didn’t put pressure on myself! It fell into place quite naturally and I learnt along the way.
Once sales came in and I felt Made by Frankie had potential, I just threw myself into it. I watched loads of online tutorials, experimented with different tools and tried out new designs. My partner, who also has his own business, was a huge help (he still is) and designed me a logo and helped me with the postage and packaging.
Once I was set up on Etsy it slowly came to life by building up stock and taking lots of pictures. I think anyone who owns a business will know the feeling of running around the house trying to get pictures in any natural light!
Your necklaces are gorgeous! Where do you get your creative ideas and inspiration from?
My inspiration mainly comes from 90’s fashion and jewellery – anything I probably had as a kid! A lot of the time though I’ll get more inspiration from colour palettes. Whether that’s from an outfit, a graphic print, interiors or items that just happen to be placed near each other in my house. The colours are really the starting point with every necklace or bracelet.
Is there any planning as to how you get your products to grab the attention of your target audience?
I’ve never really thought about a target audience – I want anyone to be able to wear my jewellery if they like it. I don’t alter my content for specific audiences, just anyone who is wanting to look and enjoys bright beaded jewellery. I tend to just go for what I like, and hope others like it too!
Your following has grown rapidly on Instagram so you must have a vast amount of people who love your designs! How do you think you have achieved this?
Consistency! I try my absolute best to take a lot of pictures and post regularly. As time has gone on, I’ve found my own style for taking pictures and, once I had established that, it seemed to help grow my account. I also would highly recommend to anyone thinking of starting a business to engage with other makers, make friends, speak to people and share each other’s work. I have met loads of inspiring people via Instagram who are all very supportive. I have done swaps in the past and it’s an amazing way to spread the word for each other.
I also think it’s important to highlight not to get too caught up on numbers, a lot of followers doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of sales! I think the best focal point is being engaged and connected with the followers you do have, doesn’t matter if that’s 100 or 10,000.
Everything’s going so well for you! Have there been any highlights whilst running your business that stand out most?
Being featured in The Sunday Times Style magazine was a highlight for me! I didn’t know anything about it and I was just shocked that they would feature me! It was a really lovely feeling to have that recognition.
Have there also been difficult times or tasks too?
One difficult task I have found so far is research and finding the best possible materials for your work. Not every technique will work for you and not every material will be right for your product. I have done so much research and tried lots of different materials – and it can be really frustrating. It costs money and time but it’s essential to make your product the best it can be, it’s an on-going journey. It can really knock you when you feel like an idea isn’t working the way you want, but once you nail it it’s the best! Practice makes perfect after all.
You run Made By Frankie whilst working a full time job. How do you manage motivating yourself each day to work on your own bits and pieces?
It’s hard and the only way I can motivate myself is because I enjoy it! It can be really difficult with so little free time, but I just make sure I use my mornings and evenings to get as much done as possible. I have to create a schedule and be strict with myself, but once I’ve got into a routine it flows quite nicely.
For example, I’ll try and dedicate two mornings for post office trips, evenings for making and packing and weekends to take pictures to upload during the week. I can get quite easily overwhelmed, but I think the best way to handle it is to divide your time and just focus on one thing at a time, if you want to do it and are determined – it’s possible!
It sounds like there’s always something to do. How do you feel about running a whole business solo?
I actually really like it because it means the business has a really personal touch. I enjoy connecting with customers, seeing people reorder from me and knowing that I am responsible for every step of the process.
It has also taught me so much about business too. I don’t think I fully appreciated how many different roles there are and how much more there is to do other than just the making aspect. Packing orders can take hours and that was a shock to me at the start, but you learn that that’s your time and it needs to be reflected in your price. Every day is a learning curve and when there is no one else to own up to a problem, you have to take it upon yourself to sort it. It is a constant juggling game but I do think that’s part of why I love it.
Finally, this new knowledge you’ve gained, is there anything you would tell others starting out to help them on their journeys?
My main piece of advice would be if you want to do it, go for it and enjoy it. Have fun with your ideas, take your time and experiment. Engage with other makers and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Be patient too, things usually fall into place and you’ll be so happy you stuck to it. Also, easier said than done – but don’t be hard on yourself, there are ups and downs but you never know where you could end up!
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