That’s mine is a manufacturer of functional and stylish personalised embroidered gifts for babies, children and children with special needs. The company was founded by husband and wife team, Elaine and Paul Cribb – SME caught up with Elaine to hear their story…
• What have been your biggest challenges? How did you overcome them?
Like any new, up and coming business there are two things that present the biggest challenge. One is the obvious cash flow situation, where a lot of investment has to take place before an order has even been taken.
Secondly, and the most difficult challenge, is getting yourself known in the market place and trying to reach as many potential customers as possible. We believe our branding is excellent, our products are unique, our attention to detail and quality cannot be faulted, our personal customer service and our website are all of the highest standard.
However if nobody discovers our wonderful website, is given one of our quality products or receives our excellent customer service, it doesn’t matter how confident and positive we feel about the company, the fact of the matter is, we won’t sell anything.
So the biggest challenge going forward is creating the ‘buzz’ about That’s mine and establishing the company as a talked about and ‘go to’ brand, when it comes to personalised embroidered gifts.
• What have been your greatest successes?
From day one, we have always had a vision of how we wanted the company to look and feel. We have defined ourselves and the image of That’s mine and the company definitely has a clear identity. You could say it has its own ‘personality’ and we are happy with the branding and image that we have built so far.
Along with the help of a website company and friends (a photographer and a freelance designer) we have set the company up on our own. Every aspect of the business is controlled by us. Some things we are knowledgeable and skilled in and other areas we have to research and literally learn as we go along. We feel proud that we have developed as business people through our own previous employment and experiences and by continuing to gain knowledge of new and diverse areas as we encounter them.
From a standing start we have developed a solid company base, have built good relations with many suppliers and have provided a lot of customers (both big and small) with unique, high quality products. Our reputation is very positive and we receive many compliments and reviews from our customers. Word of mouth is such a great thing in business and we do get a lot of repeat business from our loyal customers.
Our top tips for SMEs would be:
- Believe in what you do, have confidence and be positive
- Never dismiss an opportunity, you never know where a contact or a conversation may lead
- Always remember where you have come from and what you have already achieved
- Never be too proud to ask a question or take advice from others
- Remember it’s a business and get your sums right at the beginning…..you have to make money!
- Never be afraid to embrace new technology and to learn new skills