#SelfStarterStories: From being a costume assistant to becoming a manufacturer of handbag organisers
Today's #selfstarterstory features Dinara Khusainova, Founder of Bag All Done.
Bag all done manufactures bag organisers for handbags. A bag organiser is small bag that you carry in your handbag. The main purpose of it is to help people to change their handbags in minutes without the worry of leaving something important behind in another bag. It has lots of pockets and a hood for security. Everything will have its own place and will make it easier to find things.
PickYourselfUK caught up with Dinara to find out more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?:
Costume assistant for films and TV
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?:
When I was pregnant with my first child I realised I can't do costumes anymore as the hours were crazy. I had to find new way of making money which would allow me to spend time with my family. I had an urge to start my own business for long time and had an idea of handbag organisers in mind.
At the same time I met a person from Prince's Trust charity, and after my little girl was born, I started Enterprise Programme with them. They were amazing and really helped me to focus on the most important things. It was so good to have someone who can give you an unbiased opinion and Prince's Trust volunteers are perfect for it.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?:
Every step is a challenge in one way or another and good opportunity to learn new skills. For me the most challenging part was to find manufacturer who would be willing to work with small minimum order.
I spent many hours researching and contacting different companies and luckily found the right people at the end. It was a big relief as once manufacturing is sorted you can move forward easily. Another big challenge is balancing work and family with a young child but I enjoy it very much and look forward to the future.
What is your favourite business book and why?:
Dale Carnegie business books. His book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was first released in 1936 but advice there is still very current. This book is full of insight and useful tips not only on how to be a successful interpreter but how to interact with people in general.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?:
Yes, I myself designed the organisers and even considered to make them myself but realised that it is unpractical with little child in tow. I am doing all day-to-day tasks myself at the moment and it works so far.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?:
World of mouth works best for me right now. My happy customers like to share their excitement. Now their handbags are not a mess anymore, they don't leave important stuff behind whilst saving their time by changing their handbags in seconds. So, yes, the world of month is how I get more sales. Digital one is Google Analytics, I love their conversions tracking tools.
How do you market your business?:
I sell my handbag organisers at markets and pop ups. It gives me opportunity to engage with my customers face to face and show how my product works. Shop-sharing works for me as my handbag organisers don't take much space.
Social media of course is another good way to market your business. I occasionally link with bloggers.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?:
It was lovely lady from Prince Trust who liked my idea and decided to try my organisers. The majority of my other initial clients came through friends of friends and family.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?:
From family and friends sharing my website.
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?:
It is hard to pick just one as I am lucky with all the support I have got. My husband Rob has always supported me and I am very grateful to him. And of course my Prince's Trust mentors were very helpful, each of them have spent many hours going through my business plan and gave me great advice.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Go for it, but do your homework first. It is never just an easy ride but if you are determined and willing to learn from your own mistakes as well as others, you are good to go. Also don't give up just because you had a bad day.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?:
Amancio Ortega - the founder of Zara. For me he is a good example of how to make the best of what you are given.
Dinara Khusainova 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.