A video popped up on my Facebook feed last week talking about people having 'grit' and their ability to learn from their experiences to keep going and not give up. This video got me thinking and, along with the questions people have been asking about Shambhala House, inspired me to write a blog on what we have learnt over the past seven months. And yes, if we were to start over, we would do things differently.
Our journey has had a few bumps in the road, a few give way signs, a few detours and lots of roundabouts. With the launch of our website, this is continuing. So here is our Top 10 Lessons ... so far:
- Originally our idea was to have a specialised product line. Our very first market proved that this was not a good idea, especially in a smaller populated region like Central Queensland. I am thankful that Leica didn't give up at this point as she sat there for two days selling very few items. No worries, expanding the product range to be more diversified has been a lot of fun and it has also put us in contact with people who are doing some amazing things
- It is a great idea to test your product range first before investing capital into something. This one runs from point one and will become more clear in point three. But let me just say that Leica attending markets has been a great way to put our products in front of customers and gain instant feedback. It has been a very steep learning curve finding out what people like and don't like
- Seasons count. Obvious huh? Blankets and scarves are great in winter. Beach towels in summer. We tried to do the latter in winter. Then stocked scarves ... will definitely be looking at more of these for winter 2018. Watch this space for the relaunch of those beach towel bags as the weather in the southern hemisphere warms up
- There is an unbelievable amount of information available on the internet. We probably should have researched and read more of this information in the beginning. We got a little excited with kicking off our new venture and ploughed right in
- The elusive name. I can tell you that this took months! We would think our name was original to find that it was indeed not. My big recommendation is when you come up with one make sure you google it. We are very lucky Leica did. Our original name has quite a prominent presence on the internet selling adult type products
- The 'Save' button when developing websites is really important. Let me just say that half of our website (www.shambhala-house.myshopify.com) has been done twice due to my inability to use this crucial button
- Taking product shots to use online is a lot harder than we thought it would be. Apart from the fact that we know we are not very good at doing it yet, becoming good amateur photographers is our next goal
- The 'not-so-hidden' costs of doing business ... so many to consider from fuel, credit card fees, PayPal fees, website fees to set up costs for stalls at markets and the list goes on. The good news is that there is a lot of free information on the internet and umpteen ways you can do things yourself to get started (see Leica's lightbox photos, which have been a major focus of the day)
- When approaching potential suppliers in the beginning I felt very much like an amateur as I fumbled my way through a meeting. I have realised now that many of our suppliers are just like us ... they also have an idea and a passion, and, they too, are working on building their businesses and learning everyday in the process
- Just keep going. One can get disillusioned and become uncertain. Luckily, Leica and I never actually felt like this at the same time. Be flexible, know that you may need to change directions, open your mind up to new possibilities, don't be afraid to just give something a go and just keep going.
Thank you for joining us on our journey so far. The positive response we have had from people has been amazing and very encouraging. We are very excited about the future and look forward to bringing more amazing products to you.