Welcome to our first article for ‘All About the Brand’! Every month we are looking to feature what’s great about start-ups and SME businesses to give you inspiration, ideas and an understanding of the challenges smaller brands face when starting and building their business.
Every business starts somewhere…it may be recognising a gap in the market for a product or service that is missing or it could be a hobby that you’re really passionate about and have decided to turn into a thriving business. This is exactly the case for our feature business in our first issue of ‘All About the Brand’!
Caroline Hampton of Zade Mosaics started her now thriving business in September 2013. ‘I had always wanted a mosaic house number in slate, but couldn't find one here in the UK, only the US had something similar but it was with stained glass. My Husband said I could probably just do it myself, and so Zade mosaics was born.’
Caroline was born in New Zealand, but moved back to England with her parents when she was 18 months old, living by the south coast for most of her life. Having started her career as an Executive Assistant where she worked for 25 years, she still enjoyed taking on small interior design and creative projects including making home accessories.
As much as Caroline had always enjoyed art and becoming qualified in interior design, she had never really used her creative ambition to its fullest. Caroline moved into design because she was looking for an outlet for her artistic talents that she could turn into a business.
Fulfilling that passion, she now, her time now is spent creating mosaics for her clients and maintaining family life with her husband and two young Sons who are 3 and 5 years old.
Although Zade Mosaics doesn’t currently employ anyone and Caroline is undertaking all her orders herself, she feels that this is all part of the joy of turning your passion into a business and providing that personal touch to every order – because she loves what she does!
Over the last three years, she has managed to build up a good client base that allows her to create a regular income alongside managing her family commitments. Being in the arts and crafts industry can be competitive but having such a niche totally hand-made bespoke product means she doesn’t have many competitors. But mosaics on slate is certainly becoming more popular.
Alongside making the house numbers which kick-started her business, the Zade Mosaics range includes placemats, coasters, tea light holders and Christmas decorations. All of which can be themed to whatever occasion and colour you can think of – business logo, initials, hearts, flowers and even insects like a dragonfly! No two items are the same. Why? Because the mosaic tiles are all hand cut and hand made into your chosen design. A truly bespoke product.
Caroline services a range clients, young, old and corporate, stating ‘I'm quite surprised by the amount of younger clients I have who are interested in the products, especially the placemats and coasters.’
She has purposely kept her brand simple and doesn’t feel that there any particular areas that need broadening at the moment and we agree. Taking away the hand-made designs is what makes this product special and could make them less attractive to people who are looking for something that no-one else has.
However, as word spreads about these great products, we foresee opportunities arising that Caroline may seriously need to consider expanding into. For now, keeping it simple and manageable, is the way forward.
So, what does the future hold? ‘International would be nice’ Caroline quoted, ‘but not too big that it takes over and becomes a production line rather than enjoyable. I’m focusing my marketing on leaflet drops (when I get time!) and I have found Facebook a really good source of promotion on various crafting pages.
‘I have looked at diversifying in to clay plant pots and kitchen home ware, but again I think that's going to be on hold for a while until I have a bit more time on my hands.’
Caroline feels that her business has developed faster than she thought, but she likes being busy. The most challenging thing right now is managing a growing business alongside finding the time with her two boys, but it's becoming easier.
On the flipside, the best thing about having her own business is the fact that she loves being her own boss! ‘I still get excited when someone loves what I have produced for them, or I get contacted by someone with an exciting challenge to create something new and unique’ she commented.
All in all Zade Mosaics is a great small business which has found its own corner of the market in which to develop a fantastic brand. As with many businesses of this size, there are always going to be challenges ahead. However, this story shows just that if you have a passion and love for what you do and you can use it to earn a living – you should definitely go for it!
See more of this great brand at ETSY.COM/SHOP/ZADEMOSAICS