If you hadn’t had the idea to go into your business, do you think you would still be a business woman?
Yes definitely, I’ve always wanted to run my own business. I tried out a few ideas but I knew that one day it would just click and then I would be able to push forward.
Did you ever see yourself in another career?
No – I’ve never even thought about it really. I’ve never thought about what it would be like to have a different job.
Did you begin your degree as a back-up plan?
I first thought I’m not going to university, I’ll just do my business. But my mum and dad quickly told me that I need to go to university because it’s really important – and I’m glad I did because it actually taught me skills which I can use, especially the design. To pay for a designer it would have been tens of thousands of pounds so yes, it’s really valuable. And, I think going to university gives you time to develop and mature.
You said it gave you design skills, do you do most of your own branding?
Yes, I do all of the branding and packaging design.
Did you have the initial idea for what your branding would look like or did that come over time?
It started with an idea of who the customer was and the branding reflected that. But as the business has grown, we have learnt more about our customer and so the branding and marketing has changed to reflect this.
Since you last chatted to North East Times, how has the last year looked for your business?
We’ve moved units, so we’re now in a unit three times the size with three times the amount of staff. We’ve had a lot of growth, and the stresses and strains that comes with that but also the fun and realisation of ‘wow, look how far we have come’.
So was that scary when you first started to expand?
Definitely, when we first walked into this unit I was like oh my gosh this is so big! And now I’m like, let’s get a move on signing for the next unit because this one is starting to burst at the seams. We’ve been getting more orders, more innovation and we’ve got Christmas coming up, that always boosts everything.
As for social media, does that play much of a part in your marketing?
Absolutely. Our online sales are mostly driven by social media. Our e-comms manager examines what does well and that’s how we keep up to date with our online marketing.
In your last interview, you highlighted how things haven’t always gone your way. Over the past year, would that still apply?
Yes, every day brings a new challenge. There hasn’t been anything major not going well though, just little things like the roof leaking, floor collapsing and you know, stuff like that! But these are things that can be overcome and we can move forward now knowing how to lay a floor…
Is there anything exciting that you are currently working on?
Yes. Lots! We are launching new Popaball products every month. Keep an eye on our social media to see what they are!
Looking through your website and your social media and online presence, one thing that particularly stood out for me is how your personality comes through and adds character to the brand. Would you say this has been something that’s contributed to the success of your business?
Possibly. I would say, well I hope, I’m quite a nice person and so I always put other people first. I care about people, I like to be thoughtful and make people smile and I think that can be seen in the products and the way that we handle customer service.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given in business?
It’s hard to pinpoint one. I do have a quote pinned on my bedroom wall by Winston Churchill that says ‘never ever ever quit’. Change of direction yes, but quit, no.
And what would be the best advice you would give to others starting out in business?
Be brave, be strong and be nice to people.
When you first started, did you find it daunting and did you ever think your business would be this big?
I wanted it to be this big and I want it to get bigger. If I just walked into this unit having no experience with the business then yes it would be daunting, but I know it inside out and have done this for 6 years so the growth is just part of it.
I would say the most daunting part of having a business this size, is the amount of people who work here. When I stop to think about how many people, families and especially people’s children depend on this income, well, that gives me an odd feeling in my stomach and that makes me want to work that extra bit harder.
Looking round the unit, the friendly atmosphere and staff dedication to the business is unmissable. Don’t forget to check out the latest Popaball products to pimp your drink right, or make the perfect gift!
Words: Chloe Taylor
Photography: Christopher Owens