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Self-Starter Stories: From rummaging car boot sales on weekends to breathing new life into vintage furniture.

Emma Weeks from The Treasure Trove Vintage Furniture Store

By: Nadine Burzler

This week's self-starter story features Emma Weeks, owner of The Treasure Trove, Shabby Chic & Vintage Furniture based in Waldron, East Sussex.

Owners Emma and Chris ( a husband and wife team) have a passion for antiques, homes, interiors and all things vintage. They hated seeing good things go to waste which is why they breathe new life into pre-loved items.

PickYourselfUK caught up with Emma to learn more about how they set up their business and some of the first challenges they experienced.

Interview with Emma Weeks (née Trigg.)

Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: Having previously spent 10 years at the same company and with quite a few changes in the company leadership in that time, things had become a little uninspired. Taking the leap of faith to start something for myself, unlocked a creativity that I didn't know I had! I feel very lucky to have found something I'm completely passionate about now.

What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: Finances and lack of cash flow were always a constant reminder that I wasn't going to get a pay packet at the end of each month like I had done working for a company in previous years. I was very fortunate to have friends and family who had experience in running businesses and was able to constantly tap them for advice - I'm not sure what I would have done without them!

What was your last job?: I was an Office Manager for a Finance firm in the City of London

What did you learn from your worst boss?: To understand that we are only human, whether you're a CEO or working on a shop floor, we all have bad days, but if those bad days outweigh the good, then you're probably in the wrong job!

When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: 2012 was the year that I decided to change my career and try something new for myself.

The Treasure Trove Website -  January 2017

The Treasure Trove Website -  January 2017

Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: Yes, I do everything myself, with occasional help from my husband on more complex repairs to furniture.

What is your productivity secret?: Focus Focus Focus! Try to stick to realistic time management activities ... not always possible, but it's good to have a goal!

How did you get your first traffic to your website?: I started an ad campaign on Google Adwords and set up my social media sites, posting any new stock and news to try and drive traffic to the website. I also worked with our website designer to ensure we had keywords and documents embedded in the site. I also sent out a newsletter to my existing contacts to promote the website.

The Treasure Trove - Vintage Home Wares
The treasure trove vintage shabby chic furniture restoration

When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: As an online business, we promoted the website through our marketing channels (see below) and tried to gain as much customer feedback as possible from our first sales.

How do you market your business?: GoogleAdwords, Social Media, Customer Newsletter, Etsy, Ebay and Vinterior.

What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Just do it! I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier since realising my dream. It’s an incredible journey of personal learning and self-development which doesn’t seem to stop, and although it’s not all plain sailing, the rewards far outweigh any bad days. Even if things don’t work out, I always think it’s better to give something a go and have that experience … you never know, it could lead to another avenue you wouldn’t have thought of previously!

If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Holly Tucker & Sophie Cornish - founders of notonthehighstreet.com

To follow Emma's journey, you can do so via her social media channels and website linked below.

Emma Weeks has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.

Voting for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 will take place in November 2017 so make sure you get your entry submitted to qualify.