Name: Charlie Hughes
Brand Name: Sophia’s Choice
Background: Charlie is so typical of many of the indie entrepreneurs I work with. She is a fierce mother who manages to raise her family and run a biz at the same time. To all you mumpreneurs reading this you’re determination, focus and motivation inspires me every single day. You totally rock and all deserve a place in my fierce founder’s gallery!
In October 2012 Charlie launched Sophia’s Choice, a Green Family Lifestyle Blog, in which she began to share the natural and organic choices she had been making for her eldest daughter, Sophia, since she was a baby. Through hard work and great content the blog evolved quickly and November 2013 saw the launch of an online shop.
In Charlie’s own words
“The online shop gave me the opportunity to return to work and still be a full time Mum to my youngest daughter. I was able to stock many of the natural and organic brands we as a family had used and others that I had been introduced to and written about on my blog.”
In 2016 when both daughters were in full time school Charlie scaled again and combined her blog and online shop with her first love as a therapist and opened a physical store and treatment room in her home town of Beaminster
“it is my hope that as a family business, we continue to grow and serve the community with information, support, treatments and products, so that our customers can continue to make healthier choices for both themselves and their families.”
Charlie is one of my Rockstars and so I have had the privilege of being part of her business and seeing her focus and determination up close for the last 8 months. Running a biz and running a family are 2 full time jobs many of my Rockstars are juggling. There are personal and business challenges that have to be dealt with daily and Charlie has sure had her fair share of those this year. She wins a place as one of my fierce founders because when faced with the challenge to take her business to the next level, she showed all the guts, determination, creativity and ingenuity you need to thrive as an indie business owner.
Challenge: Like most small businesses Charlie’s cash flow comes in peaks and troughs throughout the year. In the 5 years since launch all investment has been from personal savings and all profits have been poured straight back into the business and as a result there has been good, steady growth.
The time felt right to scale again earlier this year. Customers were asking her to expand her product range to include wholefoods in addition to the skincare, bodycare, nutritional supplements and superfoods she had been supplying them with for last 5 years.
The challenge was how to fund the expansion. Charlie researched many options and decided to crowd fund and it’s for this reason she has made it into my fierce founder’s line up. There is always a way to move forward. There is always a solution to the challenges you face. There is never a reason to give up or abandon your goals and dreams. Be brave, be ingenious and think around the problem. Find a solution that works for you!
Strategy: Charlie used Crowdfunder to raise £1500
She chose the Crowdfunder platform as it allows you to provide rewards for those people who pledge; A great way to both incentivise and say thank you to your supporters.
Crowdfunder also has a ‘keep what you raise‘ option which means even if you don’t hit your target you still get to keep all money pledged.
Results: After 4 weeks of campaigning Charlie raised the full amount and introduced a range of wholefoods that her customers absolutely love!
Here’s what Charlie has got to say if you are thinking about crowd funding:
“Overall, I’d say that Crowdfunding is well worth looking at if you are a small business looking for an injection of funds to help expand your business or perhaps you are just starting out and need funds for a specific aspect of your business. Being specific is key so people know what they are investing in.
When you launch a Crowdfunder, getting interest quickly is important. I sent a message out to friends and family in the hope that they would help propel it forward initially, however it was actually customers and those who believed in what I was trying to achieve who tended to be the ones who made pledges. Investments came from the most unlikely of places and some from people who wouldn’t actually benefit from the expansion; however they wanted to invest in “me”. I felt very touched and humbled by those pledges.
Promoting your Crowdfunder is key to its success. I used social media and sending out newsletters to generate interest. There’s a fine line between active promotion and annoying people, so it was hard at times to know how much to promote things. You are able to post updates on your Crowdfunder page, which I would recommend you do. Those who have pledged will receive those updates and new people who are visiting your page, can also see where you are with your initiative.
You also need to factor in the fees which will be payable at the end of your Crowdfunder which are 8%.”
It was a lot of hard work. You need to put time aside to really push it forward or it will lay dormant and momentum will wane.
The excitement is when you receive the money and you can start investing that money into your business to bring your customers what they have been asking for. I have loved fulfilling the pledge rewards. It feels good to say a huge “thank you” to those who believed in what I wanted to achieve and made it all happen.”
- Choose a funding platform that suits your potential pledgers and you
- Allocate plenty of time to promote and drive the funding
- Plan a promotional strategy that is interesting, animated and captures the imagination of your audience
- Don’t forget to keep your pledgers updated on progress and show them the final results
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