IN The SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: DIANA from PYGMY CLOUD GIVES THE LOW-DOWN ON RUNNING HER BRAND OF WEATHER-THEMED HOMEWARE AND GIFTS
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am Diana and I co run a little brand called Pygmy Cloud with my partner Dave. We are based in Walthamstow, north London and run Pygmy Cloud alongside our freelance careers - I work as a still life photographer, mainly photographing the products of indie designers & makers. Dave works as a freelance illustrator and goes under the moniker Hatch.
Describe your business
Pygmy Cloud is an online shop based in London. We ship our weather themed products all around the world and take part in the odd craft market to meet fellow independent designers and of course, our lovely customers!
What inspires you?
Pygmy Cloud is mainly inspired by the weather and we aim to put a happy spin on the clouds & rain of England. Using this theme as a starting point, we design playful gifts, stationery, homewares and toys. Our most popular item (and my favourite!) is the Cloud Coaster range, which comes in matte white acrylic or wood veneer.
Why did you decide to start a business?
I started Pygmy Cloud in 2011 as a hobby and I made felt cloud decorations to brighten up my rental flat. My friend and fellow crafter encouraged me to set up an Etsy shop (an online market place for handmade wares) and it spiralled from there. Dave joined a year later, bringing his illustrated characters to join the Pygmy Cloud world. He introduced us to Grumpy Bear, the Woodsman and other fun creatures!
Has the direction of your business changed over time?
What started as a casual hobby, has grown into a small business. We started selling on one online market place and now we sell on 4 marketplaces as well as our own website and in person at designer-maker markets. Social media has become a big part of our business and we love interacting with our followers and showing what we get up to behind the scenes - Instagram is my favourite as it's all about the visuals.
What challenges have you faced as a small business owner?
Finding good suppliers can be tough and prototyping is expensive. I love designing new products and being creative, but sourcing materials and unearthing reliable and skilled manufacturers can be a bit of a treasure hunt. I have managed to find a great bunch of suppliers to work with, who are really helpful which I'm pleased with.
What’s the most rewarding aspect to running your own business?
Seeing my ideas come to life is really exciting and getting feedback from customers is lovely. People often post pictures on social media such as Instagram and Facebook of their Pygmy Cloud products saying how pleased they are to receive their delivery - this makes me really happy!
What advice would you give to new businesses that are just starting out?
I would say, writing a casual business plan really helps add focus and work out what you are trying to achieve. I did this for the first time last year and feel my business grew a lot faster because of it. I set goals of how much I wanted to turn over, how many events to participate it, to host my first solo pop up shop, set goals of how much I wanted to interact with my customers on social media, research who my customer is, work on my brand image through photography and a new website - those kind of things. If you want to progress your business - do it, do it now!
What's next for your business?
I am working on developing a few new products, which are secret for the time being!
Learn more about Pygmy Cloud and connect with Diana via social media using these links:
Fancy winning some Pygmy Cloud goodies? Enter this giveaway to win a Pygmy Cloud stationery bundle in celebration of National Stationery Week! Competition ends May 5th 2016.