Meet Helle, founder and owner of Lucas Loves Cars, a toy shop for kids who love things with wheels.
Four years into her journey she’s hit top gear, and has plenty of suggestions to help you grow your business.
So, tell us about your day at Lucas Loves Cars.
I love that every day is different. Firstly I'm a Mum so I take Lucas to school and grab a coffee. When I get to our new warehouse my first job for the day is packing orders. I think of the orders going out as presents I'm sending to strangers, like an anonymous Santa. Then some days there is some back end, boring stuff to do or fun photos to take and every day I try to make sure I play with some toys.
It sounds busy! What are the highs and lows of running your business?
The best bit is that I get to take Lucas to school and most days I get to be creative. I play with toys for a living, when I'm having a bad day I end up on the floor playing with our products, which reminds me why I do this. The worst bit for me is the paperwork. From paying bills to tracking stock, it's not creative and I find it dull. It's the grey contrast to my colourful shelves!
What’s one goal you’re going to kick this year?
June is huge month for us as it's our birthday month. We are turning 4 and are planning on overdoing the sugar and running around in circles. We have just launched our Birthday Club and are so excited to be a part of a The Little Pop Up Shop in Brighton which has just opened. Keeping the wheels on (ha ha) during this time is going to keep us busy!
We’d love to hear more about how you tackle marketing/social media as a busy, small business?
I am no marketing guru so I try to read and learn from others. I seem to find my customers when I am being open and friendly, probably because my passion for my business comes out at the same time. Then I work hard to offer a great service. Also... don't be scared to make mistakes, what works for others doesn't always work for you and it's always changing. This approach also allows me the space to think creatively - the Birthday Club I mentioned earlier allows newsletter subscribers to add their child’s birthday so that they receive a $10 voucher in the month before their child's big day. It's a timely, helpful way to grow and reward our customers! Instagram is also a huge focus for us right now, it allows me a chance to show off the products and share them with our audience.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have had was actually to do a Brand Framework. From the start I had a strong idea of what I wanted from my logo and my brand. My brand framework is all of those ideas written down, it's like a guidebook to what I want the business to be. Years on I am still referring back to that first Brand Framework to ensure I am on track when I make decisions.
How can other small businesses improve their marketing efforts?
At the moment I'm busy telling everyone to get onto Instagram. It’s such a great way to display your wares when you’re a product based store. If you are going to be on Instagram then take a bit of time to create good photos!
If you could hop in a time-machine and start over, what would you change?
If I was starting my business today.....I would start networking earlier. I would get out there and meet people who are doing similar things to me. Coming from a corporate world many of my friends were corporate too. Now I have so many great business friends and groups that I can ask advice and learn from. I have had a lot of 'on the job' training!
And what wouldn’t you change right now?
After using Sendle for over a year I can't imagine not having it as part of my business day. My parcels never fit into satchels, so by using Sendle I get the chance to use my own packaging and I save money. Then on those grey days of paperwork I'm thankful for the weekly payment option.
Images courtesy of Helle, Lucas Loves Cars.