This week’s Ambassador Feature is with Erin Madeley, Perth Makers Market
2018 AusMumpreneur Handmade Business Excellence Award silver winner
Tell us the story behind why you love what you do and why you’re so passionate about sharing your message?
I started out on the other side of the fence with my business. I was a maker of things, which I sold both online through Etsy and as a stallholder at markets. As a stallholder I found it very frustrating when trying to apply to markets and with how many of them are run. It was difficult to get in to many markets as they have permanent stallholders, and therefore don’t take new businesses. Communication was poor and the high-quality markets in Perth, were way more expensive than someone starting out could afford. Not only that, but as someone making a purely handmade product it was next to impossible to compete with products that were either imported or manufactured overseas due to the difference in price point.
I’ve always been an organised person and thought that here was an opportunity to start something new in Perth and also be able to support the creative community, and my local community as well. There are so many talented and creative people within our community and if they don’t have the appropriate outlets and skills to sell their wares, they will find it difficult to turn their passions into a full-time job (which is the goal!).
Tell us a story about a challenging time you faced, how you overcame it and what lesson/lessons/wisdom this experience has taught you about life and business.
I’ve had a few challenges in running Perth Makers Market. One of the big ones that hugely affected me was when someone publicly defamed me on social media through a review. It would have been one thing if what they had said had been true, however it wasn’t and was really devastating particularly when I thought I had done everything right by this person. It was devastating as it was a personal attack against me in a public forum. It sent me into a spiral of anxiety and I didn’t know what to do. Luckily for me I have a great community around me of business women, family and friends that I could speak with about what I was going through. I was able to get my assistant to post a response, and rally those around me to leave genuine review which could counteract the negative effects of the false review on my page. After taking time away from work to look after myself and review the whole incident I know that I dealt with it in the best way I could at the time, and I have come out the other side with a thicker skin.
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give someone starting out in business?
1. Make sure you have a business plan. It is important to know what you want to get from your business and how you are going to achieve that. Without goals to reach towards and a direction to follow, you can end up making some decisions that aren’t necessarily in your long term best interests. Make sure to review your business plan on a regular basis and review your goals as they’ll definitely change as you run your business.
2. If you don’t have a background in finance and numbers, take a course to at least learn the basics. So many businesses fail when they start out and part of that is due to now having a grasp of their finances. Make sure that you learn the basics, and review regularly to stay on top of your cash flow.
3. Make sure that you’re passionate about what you do as there will be many tough times and bumps in the road as you’re starting on your business journey. Without passion and drive it is easy to lose site of your long term goals and become burnt out.
(Image credit: Alex Anderson, Jam on your Collar)
What is your proudest business achievement? Why does this mean so much to you?
Honestly, I couldn’t say what my proudest business achievement is. I count my blessings every day that I get to work on something that supports so many talented artisans within my community. I am proud that I am able to give back to my community through partnering with non-profit organisations and offering opportunities to non-profits to fundraise at no cost. I’m proud that I am able to be a role model for my kids that you can achieve your dreams if you work hard enough. I am proud that I can be a role model for young girls that you can follow your heart and be able to achieve highly in your field whilst dealing with mental health issues, and that a university degree isn’t necessarily for everyone, but that doesn’t need to hold you back either.
Finally, what do you believe is the secret to success?
For me, it is making sure that I have a good support system around me and making sure that I look after myself. A favourite saying that I have heard many times is “you can’t pour from an empty cup”; which basically means that if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t have anything to give to others, or your business. Even when you feel like you never have a never ending to-do list for your business, make sure that you take time every week to do something just for yourself. Make sure that you also have a good support system around you that you can turn to when you have questions that you need an alternate perspective on, or just someone to vent to. These can be people who are in your life already, or you may find them within an online community. The important thing that you have a community to turn to who can help with support, opinions and help to build you up, rather than tear you down.
About our AusMumpreneur Ambassador
Erin Madeley is the owner/operator of Perth Makers Market, which in the short time has been operated has become Perth’s largest and most popular locally handmade artisan market. Erin is a mother of two young boys her were aged 2 & 4 when she started her business. Erin has built a successful business with the support of her family, and whilst battling daily with her anxiety condition. Erin is an avid supporter of handmade and passionate in her business, which is why she is so dedicated to supporting the handmade community in Perth through not just the markets, but also through workshops aimed at educating the handmade community to empower them to grow their businesses.