Interview with ‘Weaving A New Story’
Have you ever thought about starting your own business? Maybe you have a dream, a passion or a hobby which you think has business potential but have no idea how to start. Lauren started dreaming about her business venture some years ago and she’s recently taken the plunge to create a full online course for ‘Weaving A New Story’.
This blog is a chat with our friend Lauren to find out more about her journey and to learn some key things about starting a business venture.
What is ‘Weaving A New Story’ all about?
‘Weaving A New Story’ is an online platform that’s just launched with an online course to teach Tapestry Weaving to beginners. The whole company will be focused on Tapestry Weaving and teaching it. As I’m just starting out, I thought that starting with an online course made the most sense. It means that more people will be able to access it. I had the idea a long time ago but we can get into that in a bit.
What would you say inspired you to start the business?
Quite a few years ago I was a radio broadcasting intern, living with other interns. It was from one of our silly conversations which made me realise that one day I could start a business which could use its profit for social causes.
I didn’t have any idea how to do something like this, so I just wrote my ideas down and gave it to God. Fast forward several years and I meet a Mexican guy whilst working in Manchester and eventually end up moving to Mexico and getting married.
I started volunteering at an anti-trafficking charity in Mexico city. There was a social project where survivors were making and selling their own jewelry. This reignited the idea within me to start my business.
I discovered Tapestry Weaving through a workshop I went to for my birthday and I absolutely fell in love with it. The following year I set up a meeting with the owner of this workshop to hustle my way into some free lessons. I saw that her website needed improving and that the physical workspace could do with some reorganisation. I offered to help in exchange for classes which is how I started to learn the craft.
It’s more of a journey rather than one moment of inspiration but that’s how I got from the idea to use a business for good to starting my online Tapestry Weaving course today. I’m not yet doing anything for social causes as it’s still early days.
What are the key things that have helped you along the way?
I think the time it’s taken has allowed me to sit and chew over ideas. That’s been really helpful. Nowadays it’s very easy to just rush into something.
Often online we see these people— over lockdown… bam! They’ve made a successful business, but I don’t think it’s like that for everyone. Well done to them but sometimes it’s a process and processes just require time. I’d say to anyone else, don’t be afraid to give yourself time.
I think having people to talk to about my ideas- friends who would share my excitement and encourage me. They would actually listen and not just look at me like I’m crazy.
It’s good to bounce your ideas off other people because we all have blind spots. People can ask you, “have you thought about this or that? or say, “That’s a great idea,” and encourage you. I think at the start it’s very easy to think, “who am I to be doing this?” and have imposter syndrome so having people to talk to is helpful.
It’s good to write your ideas down when you have them. You will discard a lot of ideas along the way but the good ones will stick and you’ll have a reference point.
When I got back to the UK I looked into the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Course because I know people who’ve done it and it’s free if you’re 18 – 30. It’s been really beneficial, just having a well known organisation with loads of contacts, access to specialists for free – it’s really good. They help you build a business plan, look at the basics and refine your idea.
What challenges have you faced along the way and how have you overcome them?
It sounds really dramatic but I’d say that sometimes I’m my biggest challenge.
I struggle a lot with self doubt and my motivation can be up and down: feeling positive one day and really negative the next. I think having confidence in yourself as a business owner really just comes with time and in order to have that time you simply have to stick it out and just keep turning up even on the really rubbish days. Even in regular employment you have some days when you’re really productive and other days when you feel like you’ve done nothing once you leave. You have to be realistic when you’ve got so much on you as a business owner which you wouldn’t have as a normal employee. You’re not going to feel like you’re on top of the world and dancing in sunshine everyday. If you’re really struggling you can tell people and ask for help.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a business?
Do it knowing that it might not work. I know that many successful entrepreneurs have had failed businesses before they had success.
Business plans are a living document- they are always evolving. There comes a point when you just have to jump in and get your feet wet.
Don’t expect the business to be your main source of income to begin with. It depends where you’re at but if you can get some savings behind you to begin with or work a bit at the same time, that’s a good thing.
Do research online to see if anyone else is doing anything similar and before putting money into things, I’d recommend seeing if there’s actually a demand for the type of product or service you’re offering. It might not mean discarding an idea all together but it may need tweaking.
If you’re really serious and passionate about it and thinking about it all the time, I’d say just give it a go because you’ll always wonder. If doing it isn’t going to be too detrimental to yourself or others then go for it!
Many thanks to Lauren for taking the time to share her story! I hope it will encourage you to take the plunge and start the business you’ve been dreaming about.
If you want to find out more about Lauren’s Tapestry Weaving business, visit her website: weavinganewstory.co.uk.