We welcome Melanie Perkins on board with us today. She is one of the successful entrepreneur and business owner who runs Caboodle Textiles which is based in the United Kingdom. Melanie has a great story to tell about how she started a business and what inspired her to create a business. Caboodle Textiles offer cut length fabrics to businesses, home crafters, sewists and WAHMs.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m the kind of person who never sits still for a moment. Which is handy since I’m a mum to a home educated 5-year-old and full-time partner in the family business which is shared with my husband. I am passionate that life is for a living, for being together and for making memories together.
What makes your organization different than your competitors?
I’m a mum who sells to mums and small businesses who are making for mums. I work mostly evenings which means I’m around to talk to my customers in the evenings when they too have tucked their little ones in bed and picked up their to-do list. My approachability matched with my speed of service is a combination I take pride in.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
I’m not greedy. I’m not out to take over the whole fabric market. I am focused on children’s fabrics and it is important to me to excel at that. In the next 3 years, I intend to grow my business as a supplier who is trusted and respected for fast, honest service.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. I refused to get involved in the hype when they were first popular, declaring them to be kids’ books. Then I found my dad reading The Order of the Phoenix and realized I should probably take a look. By the time The Half Blood Prince came out I was queuing at midnight for the first copies. They’ve been a part of my life ever since and now have the audiobooks on repeat every night before bed. They’re like meditation to me, great to wind down with as Stephen Fry’s voice has a fabulous tone which is soothing even in the action-filled chapters. I’m really excited about introducing the books to my son when he’s old enough. I love passing on things a joy for activities to my son and joy in reading is so important to pass on.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Best purchase, It has to be my overlocker. It’s such a game changer in the world of sewing. You can get by without one quite happily. But I think once you have one you can never go back. I love that when the fabric arrives I can make up example products really quickly – my son loves it too as he’s always getting new clothes.
Worst purchase; I bought a laptop from Argos (a high street catalogue store) last year. It was shockingly ineffective at what I needed it to do. I learned that when you need a specialist product then you need to buy from a supplier that knows their stuff. I replaced that computer with a rebuilt one from a local computer store who built it to my specifications. It’s much better because I could commutate my needs to them and they had the knowledge to give me a product that worked. I love shopping with small businesses for this reason
What takes up too much of your time?
Social Media. It is without a doubt the biggest player in the growth of my business and the biggest sucker or time. At least 10 times a day I stand there with my phone in my hand asking what I picked this up to do. It’s easy with social media, particularly Facebook to find yourself side tracked. I have been working with my business coach lately to break that cycle.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
- Don’t imagine its easy: It takes dedication, commitment, time and money.
- Get a support network in place: At first, you won’t be able to afford people, but people are essential to enable you to work on the stuff that only you can do. I don’t mean hiring full-time staff. Start with delegating the tasks that stress you out or you don’t have knowledge in. For me, that meant getting a bookkeeper and accountant. It also meant getting technical support. When you are a sole trader you are responsible for everything, but you can’t possibly know everything.
- Do you research: Before you pick a name, a logo, or a product launch, research who else is out there and what they are doing. You don’t want to build a brand only to find you get a letter from a pre-existing company telling you that you have breached their trademark or copyright etc. Even something simple like checking the website name you will need is available. It’s much easier to do this upfront instead of doing a costly rebrand.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My brand rep team constantly impress me their sewing and photography skills. Just this last week Nicola Wicks not only made a pair of festive pj’s in only 24hrs but also got me 20+ wonderful photos of the outfit laid out and shown in action on her adorable child complete with a festive set up ready for my festive blog. They all have particular strengths for choosing patterns or photographing fabrics or capturing a beautiful action shot. Together they make a winning combination.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
I’m most proud of the consistent and healthy growth of my business and the customer base I have established. 54% of my customers are repeating customers. That’s a huge return rate and shows that Caboodle Textiles customers are happy customers. I know that this business is built on my own drive and determination. I’m so excited for what the future will bring and our continued expansion.
How people should connect with you?
I can be reached in several ways. Privately by email or through my facebook group where I chat openly on the wall with customers helping them with enquires and where myself and other customers discuss the latest patterns, tips and fabric releases.
This Interview is exclusively conducted by “Haris Siddique”
Haris Siddique is an entrepreneur and investor based in Pakistan. He is a co-founder of Artimization (A global branding and marketing company) which already served more than 500 businesses around the world. Haris is one of a board member of Vizaca Media Company and currently serving as a Head of Global Marketing.
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