I started my small business in my university room.
Running a small business at a young age can be a challenging but a rewarding experience. It
can be daunting, and some people may think you have less experience and resources
compared to older business owners, but I believe young small business owners may provide
new and uninfluenced approaches. The encouragement I have received from others has been
incredible. Age doesn’t necessarily have an impact on experience, I have learnt that true
experience is learning to be efficient and adaptive to change.
Running a small business at any age requires hard work, dedication, and the ability to adapt to
changes and challenges. I have learnt not to be discouraged by naysayers, but to trust in your
own abilities and keep pushing forward!
You are provided with opportunities to learn and grow. You learn that finances, marketing and
time management will cause headaches! But having the support of family and friends is
valuable when overcoming challenges and reaching your set goals. Balancing schoolwork and
running a business can sometimes be difficult, especially when university deadlines coincide,
but with careful planning, time management (and a very fine line!), I have managed this
successfully. I make closed terrariums.
A "Mini Earth" or a "closed terrarium" is a self-sustaining ecosystem that is contained within a
sealed (typically glass) environment. They are designed to simulate a natural environment,
featuring living plants and sometimes other living organisms such as insects. The goal is to
create a self-sufficient environment where the plants can live and thrive without human
intervention, similarly to our planet. Just like the earth, closed terrariums have plants, water, air,
and light, all of which are necessary for life to exist. In a closed terrarium, plants absorb carbon
dioxide and release oxygen, just as they do on the earth, and water helps to regulate the
temperature and humidity levels, which is also important for the survival of the plants and other
living elements within the terrarium. There are a lot of details with how closed terrariums work,
but through Mini Earths, people can learn and be introduced to the basic principles of ecology
and the relationships between different living elements. This can help to raise awareness about
the importance of preserving the delicate balance of our planet's ecosystems. The oldest closed
terrarium without being watered is currently over 60 years old.
Now I’m sure you can imagine how messy my university room got when I first started...
I started selling online, and I still do. But I also attend craft shows, and I have thoroughly
enjoyed the craft shows with Funyard Events. Funyard Events provide an opportunity to reach a
wider audience, interact with other small business owners and customers, and showcase your
products. Craft fairs have been a great way to promote my small business and gain visibility for
my terrariums. You build customer relationships, build brand awareness, and generate sales. It
also provides an opportunity to network with other small business owners, learn about their
experiences, and potentially collaborate with them in the future.
When participating with Funyard Events or any craft fair, I have learnt that it is important to have
a well-designed and appealing display to attract attention and make a positive impression on
customers - this is where my design degree comes in handy, I have thoroughly enjoyed
experimenting with my display the past couple of years; seeing what works and what doesn’t. I
also have an interest in helping others do the same in the future.
Here are just 5 useful tips that I have learnt in my time selling at craft shows:
1. Research the fair: make sure it's a good fit for your business and target market.
2. Really plan your display
3. Be prepared: Pack all the necessary supplies, such as business cards, packaging materials,
and a cash box, to ensure a smooth and professional experience.
4. Also be prepared to be unprepared! Who knows what obstacles you may face on the day.
5. Engage with customers: it’s much more impactful than you may think.
I thoroughly care for the people I interact with and I love meeting new faces. The best thing is
being surrounded by a community of small business owners who care for each other and each
other’s success, and the encouragement from the organisers at Funyard Events is unmatched. I
have learnt a lot about running a small business already, there are a lot of challenges. But,
every person that has helped me and supported my small business along the way, is the reason
why I am able to do what I love to do.
Through all of these experiences, I have been able to shape the ethos for Mini earths:
- To educate
- To be sustainable
- To design
- To stay human
If you are reading this and have a small business: stay positive, mix things up, be flexible, and
remember - age really is just a number!
Emma - Mini Earths
Photos credits - Funyard Events | Guildford Makers Market & Blog Photo for Mini Earths
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