There are many routes to running your own business. Maybe you've been sitting on your dream for years, mulling it over - or maybe one day you walked past a local shop, discovered it was up for sale, and decided to look into running it yourself. The latter is the story behind Creative Crafts, a Scarborough based shop selling a variety of exciting goods. Creative Crafts are supported by our friends are Airedale Enterprise Services. Let's find out more!
Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
This unique little shop is much loved by its customers, old and new alike. We sell good quality incense, ethically sourced gifts, essential oils and many crystals. We have the largest range of body piercing jewellery in the area and have built a reputation of stocking only high-quality jewellery.
We are always open to a chat or discuss customers’ needs and concerns regarding spirituality and pagan practices. We help them choose the right tarot deck or crystal ball or a piece of silver jewellery to assist in their journey.
Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
Creative Crafts was an existing, well-established business when we acquired it. The location is in the centre of Scarborough, near a large car park and on a main bus route. It has a good regular customer turnaround and attracts new customers on a daily basis. The scent of incense burning travels into the town centre and draws people in to browse.
How did you come up with the idea?
Trevor worked for over 20 years in the print industry and took redundancy back in 2010. After a short time, he took a temporary job as a postman that lasted 5 years! He wasn’t happy in this job but it paid the bills and kept us afloat.
Debbie was extremely happy working for Yorkshire Ambulance Service but fate decided it wasn’t the right job for her and, after sustaining an injury, was forced to leave the service. She took a job back in Health & Adult services but it wasn’t the job she wanted to do for the rest of her working life.
It was pure luck, and maybe a nudge from fate, that when Debbie was walking past Creative Crafts with her son, Steven, she was told the business was for sale. As Debbie had a background in retail management and ran a successful business in the past, she decided to ask the owners for the last three years’ accounts. After much discussion, lots of working out the figures, and starting on the financial aspect of the business plan, we decided this was the lifestyle we wanted. Debbie had been a customer of this shop for over 20 years so knew and loved it well.
What stage was your business at when you applied for the start-up loan?
The business was fully established. Debbie had written the business plan and worked out the financial forecast with assistance from the current owners. She had also done a personal budget to ensure we could survive with limited drawings from the business in the first year. The plan was for Debbie to carry on working, with Trevor running the business initially. We appointed a local solicitor and accountant at an early stage and they assisted us as appropriate.
How have you used it to grow your business?
The start up loan was used to buy the shop as a going concern, purchase all of the existing stock and buy in new stock. We invested in new shop fittings, a new website and buying the existing domains. The new website is easy to use and navigate and has much of the main stock available to buy online.
Who is your business advisor and how did they help you?
Our advisor is Phil Harrison of Airedale Enterprise and he has been fantastic in helping us to improve our business plan, supported us at every stage of the application process, and guided us in the initial stages of self-employment.
Biggest achievement so far?
Consulting with regular customers as to what they wanted to see us stock. They have not been wrong yet. Many customers were afraid this little shop would close down or change dramatically. By giving first-class customer service and listening to people, we have increased turnover from our projected figures within the first month and can now invest in some new lines that fit in with the existing stock. We promote the shop on Facebook and the page likes have increased from 600 to nearly 1000 in two months.
What’s next for your business?
We have already established links with other local small businesses in the town and intent to carry on creating more links to different businesses - we believe small, local businesses can work together to support each other.
We’re about to stock new ranges of locally hand-made, vegan-friendly soaps and balms. We are looking into increasing the range of incense available and increasing the body jewellery lines.
We are now able to see which lines sell and which don’t, so we can change stock to increase turnover. The website has started to receive orders, and Trevor is working hard to add more lines to the site.
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