Stacey Dennis, Director of Love Layla Designs
Designing and printing rude and cheeky greetings cards for any occasion!
My business, which today has an annual turnover of about £1.5m, was built on £30 and a whole lot of googling!
In January 2015, we’d just had a tough Christmas financially. I was working part time as a freelance graphic designer but only turning over a couple of hundred a week, and my husband Jay – a self-employed renderer – was unable to work at all because he had seriously injured his back; he was in so much pain he could barely get off the sofa.
Seeing Jay in that state – and having our 12-month-old daughter Layla to think about – I wondered how I could improve our circumstances. With the 30 quid, which is pretty much all we had, I put all my effort into designing some greetings cards for Valentine’s Day, which was soon approaching. Some cheeky cards I’d previously done for an LGBTQ charity had been really popular, so I thought: ‘Why not try to experiment with some other ideas and see what happens?’
I created 11 different designs for Valentine’s Day and Jay – still recovering – started looking into how we could advertise my work on Facebook, as well as creating a wider social media presence; he’s always been a great problem-solver.
We opened sellers’ shops on eBay and Esty and sales were solid; then, I launched a new collection to tie in with Mother’s Day the following month… we sold thousands of cards!
We’d been winging it until this point, but we knew this was becoming a serious business. Jay, who’d had time to fully recover from tendon damage, came on board full time and we googled how to build a website – using tutorials on YouTube for inspiration; within a week, we had one set up.
Father’s Day came next and we sold tens of thousands of cards – setting into motion a journey where I went from working in the spare room at home to eventually acquiring a 4,000sqft office/warehouse and employing three members of staff.
Last year, I won multiple awards – including an ‘Outstanding Entrepreneur’ Commendation from Northern Power Women – and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved in just over four years.
Never give up, because one good idea can change everything!