#SelfStarterStories: From being a Marketing Executive to becoming the Founder of an online gifting service
Today’s #selfstarterstory features Chloe Wharton, Founder of Handpicked Hampers.
Handpicked Hampers came to life from our love of all things food and drink. After visiting food shows and farmers markets finding the best products with amazing flavours, we just wanted to share them with everyone. This is where the idea came from, why not create a gift for someone with products and flavours which they might not have experienced before.
PickYourselfUK caught up with Chloe to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: My previous job was a Marketing Executive for The Vet in the Support Office.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: I have always had a keen interest in starting my own business from a young age. I wanted the freedom and control to create something that was great and that I could be proud of.
I took the leap to leave my job and start something from scratch, learning new skills every day and growing with the business.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: The unknown - not knowing how well it will go and having the confidence to overcome these thoughts and truly believe in myself.
What is your favourite business book and why?: My favourite business book is Common Sense Rules by Deborah Meaden. She gives great insight into the world of business as well as interesting information about her businesses and her time in Dragons Den.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I do the majority of things myself, marketing is a big part of our business, and from worked in marketing previously I have gained valuable experience. However I have outsourced help with the website when needed and my Tax returns.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: I love to use Hootsuite and Mailchimp. Hootsuite allows me to schedule my social media posts and Mailchimp is a great tool for creating the monthly newsletters.
How do you market your business?: I market my business through Google Adwords, social media and occasionally I link with bloggers.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: Through Google Adwords. This is a great tool for getting your website seen by customers who may have not seen it organically.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Through Google Adwords, social media and 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?: James Sara - my boyfriend and business partner. He believes that I can do anything even when I am having doubts. I met him at University and we have had a strong bond ever since. He's supportive and helpful and without him, I don't think I would be where I am today.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Do it! It is a whirlwind but great experience. Be sure to find something you are truly interested in, research the market and go from there. Remember to believe in yourself and read other people’s startup stories. Chances are any thoughts you are having, someone else had those same thoughts.
Be Happy! Sometimes running a business can be tough but you just always need to remember why you started it in the first place.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Deborah Meaden. She has worked hard all her life and is driven and independent. She has built up many businesses and since being in Dragon Den has invested in many others. She is fair but tough which I think are great personality traits for a business head.
To stay up-to-date with Chloe’s entrepreneurial journey, please follow her via the channels below:
Chloe 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.