Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jemima Bliss, Founder of J Bliss Design, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a small business creating custom gifts and cards and offering design services. J Bliss Design is run by myself full time and my partner outside of his 9-5. We often take part in charitable events, including gifting products for raffles & fundraisers, as well as including a charitable donation as a part of our sales. Running the business has opened up so many doors and allowed us to meet many amazing faces.
Tell us about yourself
As with most newer small businesses, I started J Bliss Design due to a COVID-related job loss in mid-2020. However, things didn't fully kick off until that winter when we had a Christmas card design that went viral within the Vancouver ex-pat community, selling over 3.5k individual cards. After that Christmas, I was offered a job, and things with J Bliss Design went a little on the back foot for the next year. In March 2022, we were asked to take part in the Celtic fest downtown; this was a great kick to get things moving again. My partner (who works as a finishing carpenter) came on board with new ideas, expanding from just cards and prints to including wooden engraved items in our collection.
It was around this same time that a customer reached out to ask if I could do her wedding stationery. Things suddenly got very busy, and we loved it; I started to offer further personalized design services than just those advertised and got a healthy amount of interest. In May 2022, I made the decision to try to make J Bliss Design my full-time career, talking to my employer about migrating away from the job and becoming a freelancer.
My background is in design and marketing, including marketing and design for a wildlife park, store and event designer for Lush Cosmetics, and most recently, the design and marketing manager for a property developer.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In the sales of Christmas cards each year, we donate 10% of the profits to charities close to our hearts; in the first year, we were able to donate $1k to KBRT, an Irish company that offers amazing assistance to Irish families that suffer the loss of a loved one living overseas.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I am terrible at anything to do with financing and setting price points; I often find myself giving people discounts on products just for the pure fact that I feel guilty asking for money! Some customers have shown amazing generosity and paid me higher than the asking price stating, "I undercharge for my services and designs."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- GO FOR IT! No time like the present.
- Talk to friends for ideas; so many of our ideas have come from our friends and family; you'll be amazed how excited they get for you.
- You do not have to be all-in from the word go; it has taken us nearly two years to get to this point. Learning so much on the way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you for the opportunity to share a little about our small business. It's always great to connect with others around, we have had people reach out for advice who are looking to start their own business, and it's a fantastic way to bounce ideas and create collabs. If that sounds like you, get in touch! - Jemima & Mathew xo
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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