This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Collab Planning Co., a business that sells gorgeous planners (The ‘Perfect Day’ Planner or The ‘Minute Minder’ Desk Pad). They have a really strong brand identity which is noticeable throughout their beautiful Instagram feed and on their website. In this interview, they tell us how they got started and share some amazing tips for anyone thinking about starting their own business.
Firstly, please can you tell us a little bit about your brand and what inspired you to start your own business?
We sell planners and organizational stationery based on the idea of helping a busy modern girl organize her work and personal life. We are a fairly new business but have lots of exciting ideas for product ranges and launches. We love the idea of our customer being a motivated, stylish, conscious woman – we know these women are out there because we interact with them daily! I had this idea because I’ve always been passionate about planning and list-making and wanted to create a diary system that really has it all – as well as looks good and comes from a brand that women can identify with.
What were the challenges that you faced when setting up a business and how did you overcome them?
I’m a very impatient person, when I have an idea I want it to come into fruition as soon as possible! This is good when it comes to motivating myself but means I get frustrated easily. It’s good to learn that an amazing brand isn’t built overnight and just because you can’t solve something right away or don’t make sales instantly it doesn’t mean you should just give up. You will face lots of challenges building your business but be resilient, overcome them and when you make a mistake, just say oops and move on. Also I would absolutely recommend reaching out to business communities (Facebook, Reddit, drop an Instagram DM to another business owner) when you need to troubleshoot an issue, there will likely always be someone with an answer.
What has been your biggest success so far and where would you like to see your brand in five years time?
Our biggest success so far was when we sold our product to someone who wasn’t a friend or family member – it was an amazing feeling that an actual real-life stranger has parted with their hard-earned cash because they believe in your brand and think your product looks good. In 5 years time I’d love to be running this business full time – balancing work alongside it has been hard and I can’t help but think of the possibilities if I had extra time to give to it. I also would like to outsource my fulfilment – to me, this scale-up means you have more time to focus on the business side of things as opposed to logistics and operations. Alongside that, I hope I will have nurtured a large community of powerful, organized women.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Whatever it is you want to do – just start. 2 months ago I couldn’t even fathom the idea that I would have designed, sourced, made and sold planners – yet here I am! Things seem impossible when you just sit and think about them, but when you start doing it you’ll realize what you can achieve even in a small amount of time. Also, make sure it’s something you love – if you’re just in it for the money it won’t work, it needs to feel like a hobby.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I did a lot of research when I was preparing for my launch and one of the best things I was told was ‘start before you’re ready.’ If you don’t look back at your first product in 5 years and think ‘er what was I doing?’ then you started too late. Which links to the above point – if you have an idea and want to run with it, just get going. Also get on top of your finances and accounts from day 1, seriously you will thank yourself later!