#SelfStarterStories: From being an Admin Assistant to creating an eCommerce store
This week's #selfstarterstory features Carly Thompsett, Founder of Anaphase Store.
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Carly to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: Admin Assistant for Phs's customer retentions team in Caerphilly
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: I'm in charge of my own success and I want to go up in the world.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: To stop being so naive! I thought all my ideas were amazing and I found that out in my first year of business that NO-ONE bought anything, then I realized that I do need to listen to people and what they want rather then what I want.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I did 100% of everything myself until just recently. I have found a supplier for other clothing so my brand can stay in style and relevance. I still design my t-shirt slogans myself, make the candles/ bath bombs etc.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: I don't use any programmes to use social media, I love being online anyway and getting new ideas or sharing my own. I post and run my own social media platforms. The only thing I do struggle with is my blog; as I'm dyslexic I struggle with words and how/what to put down
How do you market your business?: I use social media. I promise myself on all platforms I have listed above. I did an evening course at university to gain knowledge and experience in digital marketing for business and learned a lot. So now I put all I learned into action, -that's promoting and posting on my pages, adding tags/categories to pictures and posts, SEO etc
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I launched in July 2015, and as I mentioned before I didn't have any sales in the 1st year. Once I had done some market research, I learned what people would buy, what attracts them to business or websites, what colours people like, what sizes etc, so the 2nd year of my business I introduced Homeware (Homemade candles, room spray, cushions) and slowly grew into cosmetics, accessories - and my research paid off because that's when customers started looking at my website and buying...
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: When I post on social media, I will always post a link to the product to drive traffic to my website. It works more with products, but I have also started posting links where the company has received press or PR so people view it on the website and make comments on social media - which then shows on their friends' feeds and more people see my posts
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: The Prince's Trust! I wouldn't be where I am now or have have achieved half of what I have, without them. They believed in me from the start and still continue to support me through my journey
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Do it! Don't live a 'what if' life. As a young ambassador for the Prince's Trust I tell my story to people who struggled with being dyslexic or didn't get the right grades from school. I explain that I was once like that and when I lost my grandad I realised I wanted to do something with my life and not just do a 'normal' job to get by, so the key message for you here is to do what you can, regardless of circumstance, and break through and show your true colours.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: I would say, Richard Branson, because even though we have a completely different business, we both have a business that is already out there and have to prove why we are the best.
Like before virgin trains, there were already trains - but he had to stand out and make people choose him, the same as internet, TV, phones.... but he made it work. I sell t-shirts, which you can go to any shop and get. Candles too! There's Yankee candles everywhere, but I am willing to be like Richard and prove why you should shop with me.
To stay up to date with Carly's entrepreneurial journey, please find her on Facebook below:
Carly Thompsett 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.