Our Shop of the Week features Caroline Taylor of Patchwork Harmony. Although it’s a fairly new shop, it’s fast gaining popularity both in the internet and in the real world. Her shop has been featured in Enterprisenation, a website for home business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs; Period Living, a home interior design magazine; and The London Paper, a free paper handed out to busy commuters of London. Today, Caroline shares with us how she started her online store, her inspirations and some tips for everyone who would like to start a small biz.
What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?
When I was starting up my blog I had brainstormed a few ideas for a name, and I decided on Patchwork Harmony, as it is a representation of my philosophy on interior style. I see a home like a patchwork quilt, a collection of individual items that you truly love or that have special meaning, that gradually come together to make an eclectic, beautiful and harmonious home. This name then transferred easily to the shop.
How old is your shop?
I launched the shop in April 2009. So only 3 months!
What inspired you to start your own home business?
I’ve always wanted to have my own business but was never quite sure how to go about it, and once I started writing my blog the ideas kind of just evolved from there. I was inspired by all the lovely shops and boutiques out there, so much so that I decided that I could give it a try myself! Plus I love shopping, and running a shop means you get to buy everything you like, but still make money from it!
What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
I think the main challenge of running a shop online is making it visible to people. It is not the same as having a shop in the high street and having people wander in, you really have to put it in front of people so they will come and look and this is very challenging.
How did you get over it?
I just spend as much time as possible trying to promote the website, either through my blog, although I try not to drone on about it too much on there! Or I try contacting magazines and newspapers to get products featured, collaborate with other websites and basically just try to get the name out there.
Please Name: the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop . . .
Well I still have a full time job Monday to Friday as a picture editor… But apart from that I try to spend time with my boyfriend and see my friends… also as I said I love to shop! So am usually out at some of the markets around London. But I have to say my shop does take up the majority of my free time!
stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without . . .
my iphone, make up bag and a notebook.
your favorite shops . . .
Liberty, Cox and Cox, Sage inspired by Life, Cath Kidston, Neals Yard Remedies to name a few!
your top 3 favorite picks from your shop. . .
I have to say I do love everything in the shop, but if I have to pick three, I’d say the Kitchen candles, as they smell AMAZING, the wrapped soaps on the vintage plates, and the white and yellow crochet cushion.
What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?
Make sure it is something you are really passionate about so that you will keep getting inspired and won’t end up getting bored with it. Also, plan, plan, plan! I think it is essential to have everything covered before you launch your business, if you jump in without thinking you will come up against lots of problems but if you think of everything beforehand hopefully most things will go smoothly!
Any message to your customers and the people who support you?
Well obviously a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me, everyone who has made purchases from the shop and to all my blog readers whose comments and well wishes spur me on! And if anyone has any thoughts, ideas or comments about my shop please feel free to drop me an email, I’d LOVE to hear any feedback! firstname.lastname@example.org