Joanne Edwards: My tips for small business success
Each month we profile an inspiring small business on the Marketing Vision blog to share real-life experiences of running a business and tips for small business success.
This month we are delighted to catch up with London-based milliner Joanne Edwards. Running a creative business can be hugely challenging, but Joanne has several strands to hers which work together to form a strong business model.
From partnering with Vidal Sassoon and luxury fashion brand L.K.Bennett, to running workshops at Central St. Martins (CSM) and 1-2-1 millinery tuition – Joanne has some brilliant experience and valuable learnings to share.
Tell us a bit about your past year in business
It’s been a great year with lots of change! I moved into a new studio earlier this year so have been very busy organising and setting up the new space at Wimbledon Art Studios.
We’ve been creating the new Summer collection and showcasing the range again at L.K.Bennett events in South West London. Alongside the main collection is a select range of hats available to hire locally.
I’ve been sharing my millinery skills through continued 1-to-1 private tuition at my studio as well as teaching short courses at CSM last summer. This was a great success so I’m looking forward to teaching these courses again this coming August and September. And we also recently held a Floral Garland Making workshop during Kings Cross Canal Festival in June which was a really fun event and great to be a part of!
You recently partnered with Vidal Sassoon. What did you most enjoy about that experience?
I love working with Sassoon, I get to create something completely unique which is always incredibly challenging and exciting.
You’ve teamed up with L.K.Bennett a number of times to run in-store events. What are your top tips for a successful pop-up?
- Thinking ahead: Be organised – spread the word early about your event via your social media channels and through word-of-mouth to build excitement in advance. Ask whether the store can also advise their customers and display or hand out your business cards ahead of the event.
- On the day: Remember your customers are the most important people on the day! Speak to as many people as possible and spread the word about what you do! Your customers will help you understand your product, price points and the adjustments you may need to make.
- Location: Where you set up in store can make all the difference. Are you visible enough? Are people noticing you? Is it obvious why you are there? Makes things clear and straightforward for your customers and make it obvious who you are and what you do.
Millinery workshops and tuition are an integral part of your business. What are your plans for this year?
I will be teaching again at CSM this August/September. After last year’s great feedback, I’m really excited to be back again and tutoring a number of courses including:
- Accessories for Beginners
- Couture Handmade Floral Crowns and Headbands
- Summer Festival Crowns and Headbands
I will be setting up private workshops from our Wimbledon Studio later this year, so stay tuned on our website/blog for more information! And I also offer ongoing private 1-to-1 tuition where I teach students wishing to learn traditional couture millinery and handmade silk flower-making.
What’s been your greatest highlight this year?
I really enjoyed the Open Days at Wimbledon Art Studios during May. The Open Days are a chance for the public to see people like me and other small businesses (designers, jewellers and artists) at work. I met lots of local people which was incredible and also created hats for some of those who I met at the shows. I really hope to continue to grow our client base in South West London.
And your biggest challenge?
I find it’s always tricky to find a balance during busy periods as work can literally take over, but I’m slowly learning to take more breaks!
What’s next for Joanne Edwards Millinery?
Setting up workshops at Wimbledon Art Studios is a key focus for me this year as I really want to show other people how they can also enjoy the creativity and excitement that comes from creating your own handmade flowers/hats. Also, creating the Summer range and designing new shapes and colours for our lovely customers to wear!
Find out more about Joanne Edwards Millinery.