#SelfStarterStories: From being a Content Manager to becoming the founder of an online shop
This week's #selfstarterstory features Hannah Clarke, Founder of Apples & Pips.
My husband and I are the apples to our gorgeous pips; Toby and Martha. Through our experiences as parents, I’m sourcing amazing products from the brands that we know and love so that you can be sure of excellent quality and value in every order you place. From parent, baby and toddler essentials, to eco-friendly products and those treats we all deserve, you can find everything you’ll need for the parents and children in your life, all in one place and with free delivery.
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Hannah to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?:
Content Manager - I worked at an insurance company as a Content Manager, managing marketing campaigns, budgets, company website and social media accounts, and events.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?:
Because if I don’t learn to shout about my business from the rooftops and tell the world why it’s amazing, then I cannot expect anyone else to do it for me. I’m a shy person, an eternal wallflower, so self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me, but Apples & Pips is like an entity in its own right and I believe so strongly in the ethos of my social enterprise shop.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?:
Money! Losing my income at the same time as needing to invest in marketing materials and products was tough!
What is your favourite business book and why?:
I love Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - not technically a business book, but it’s all about releasing creativity and not letting fear hold you back. She’s amazing.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?:
My husband does the graphic design for new merchandise, but otherwise, I do everything, alongside raising our two mini humans who are 3 and 1 and running my parenting blog.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?:
I’m trying to fall in love with AdWords because it’s amazing! I do love Buffer too for making social media that bit easier to manage.
How do you market your business?:
Primarily on social media, although I am dipping my toe into AdWords.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?:
Through a Twitter launch party which saw my hashtag trending in the U.K.!
How did you get your first traffic to your website?:
As above - that launch party was an exhausting success!
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?:
My amazing husband - his unwavering support has made everything possible, and his awesome design skills have made my brand look beautiful!
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?:
Do it, but think very carefully about why you want to do it. There is no overnight success, there is no immediate flexible working around your kids. It’s hard work, late nights, money, tears, doubt, failure and success. I absolutely want to see people make their dreams come true, but they need to understand that it takes a lot of time and work.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?:
Well I’m a Spurs fan so feel like I should say Alan Sugar, but actually, I’d love to have dinner with Elon Musk.
To stay up to date with Hannah's entrepreneurial journey, please find her on Facebook below:
Hannah Clarke has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.