HI, My name is Samantha Arthurs. I started my business 3 years ago after the birth of my Daughter, it was an easy decision to leave my job and be a full time mum when I compared my earnings to the cost of childcare £££! But I still wanted to work, I wanted to contribute and most of all I wanted to use my skills and keep my brain ticking over which was how Amelia Daniels came about.
I love my business and I have given it everything, I've had days where I'm so tired from pulling all nighters designing a new product or updating the website that I've broken down and cried but I've had many more days where I have overcome a challenge or just feel immensely proud of everything I have created. I have sacrificed things that many others wouldn't have to get my business where it is and I can stand tall and say that when others laughed at the concept of my business I proved them wrong and I built a successful business out of something they said would never happen!
I started this business making 1 type of candle in 5 scent variants. 3 years later I have expanded my business hugely and I now offer 9 different products each in 28 scent variants with another 10 products now in skincare currently pending cosmetic registration. At the end of year 2 I had hit net profit from working really hard attending artisan markets and events to sell to our customers. At the beginning of 2020 I made the decision to move my business into a shop. I make everything at home and with such a large product expansions it's become very hard to make and store it all at home with now no additional room to continue to develop new products, so a shop made sense and also gave me a fixed point that come wind, rain or shine my customers could nip in for a chat whilst having a browse.
........Then Covid19 hit!!!! Everything I had built and everything I knew was smashed to pieces by coronavirus, no more artisan markets, no more events, no more customers coming to the house to get a little top up of products, even Christmas markets cancelled!
I am one of those businesses that has fallen through the gaps for any help from the government not a single penny. No self employed furlough because they don't want to use 19-20 tax year but instead want to use my start up year that of course was negative, it's a start up year! No grant, a third of my home is used solely for my business but this didn't count. No help at all has come from the government for my business. Coronavirus wasn't going to wipe away everything I had almost killed myself to build, I wasn't going to let it and even now while it is still impacted by Coronavirus with the markets and events that I attended still having no start up date (privately run without staffing capacity or the space to comply with social distancing rules) take my business. I managed to get a small bounce back loan so I continued to make, I invested in cosmetic registration for all 10 new skincare products due to launch and I worked hard to market my business to a new audience online. And with the additional help of our existing and very loyal customer base my business is still here.
So why am I crowd funding? Why do I need your help? Well the truth is I sell a product that people really need to smell, you can write the best product description in the world but realistically online shopping for the type of products I make is far easier for existing customers who already know what they like and not so much for new who end up guessing which to go for instead of being certain. Also a lot of our customers are slightly older and not so down with the kids on social media or online shopping. Currently I am losing on average £2-3k in sales every single month by being an online only business and online sales are costly. By the time you add in marketing costs. the card payment fees which are higher online, the postal packaging costs and any slight hit in postage from time to time, I'm breaking just over even. Being an online business is dramatically slowing the growth and employment opportunities my business has the potential to offer!
I am asking for your pledges to help me get back on track in opening my own shop, something that I had the money for before the dreaded C word. I can afford to pay the over heads of a shop each month but I cannot afford to set it up now. Without any guidance on when the markets will start or if they will even restart it's something that right now without your help I have no way of doing. Having a shop is more than just point of sale for me and my business, it's a dedicated space for my business, somewhere that I can make all of our products without struggling to store them, somewhere that I can be creative and develop something new, somewhere that my customers can come whenever they want to, and it's a way of protecting my own mental health by having my home as just my home and my business as my business.
In total I need between £25-£30k. It's a lot I know. I have £5,000 remaining out of my initial savings to open the shop so I am trying to raise an additional £25K to be able to open the doors.
Here's how the money will be used:
£10,000 for 6 months shop rent to give me a little breathing space when first opening the doors just in case there is a second wave of Coronavirus.
£1500 for signage
£3000 for retail display units
£10,000 for enough materials to make stock for the shop and to also launch a couple of new products to add a little more variety to customers, bringing them back in for top ups more often.
£1000 - Protective flooring
£1000 for a protective wall to be put up in between the make and retail area for health and safety
£500 till system
And the remainder of any money will be kept to one side for any additional costs or fees that I have not factored that may occur during set up. If nothing additional arises it will be kept to use towards opening a second shop as and when the time is right or be given to a community project is a second shop is not on the cards.
You may be reading this and wondering what benefit my business having a shop is to the community outside of benefiting me. You are right to ask that question! I will not be able to manage a shop long term on my own, I am a mum as well as a female entrepreneur. I will need to employ at least 1 person to help run the shop. I will not always be able to run to the front of the shop if I am making products because a customer has come in so I will need an extra pair of hands. I will also need to employ at least one other person when the markets and events restart whenever that may be. Moving into a shop isn't a way of me saying my business has now become too good for markets, no business in my opinion is too good for markets, it's the best way to promote your product especially in a tourist destination. Very honestly my business cannot grow and move forward any further than it is right now without a shop, it cannot recover from the impact of Covid19 without a shop and I cannot offer anything back to the community by offering any form of employment without growing my business and moving it out of my home. In addition to offering potential jobs it also helps the high street and tourism trade as empty shops are an ugly sight for any town. I have done my research and there is no other business locally that is currently offering the same in our district so this will be something new for both locals and people visiting.
Every single penny that you help me to raise really does mean the world to me.