Lau Morrachini is an eco-friendly woodworker and jewellery maker. She’s an upcycler, who makes her own, bespoke products.

Listen in to hear Lau share:

  • An introduction to Lau and her business (1:11)
  • How she got started with wood-working and metal turning (1:53)
  • Where she sources the reclaimed items to create her products (4:45)
  • How she designs her products (6:18)
  • How and where people find her products (8:45)
  • Whether it’s easier to sell bespoke jewellery in person or online (10:22)
  • How long it takes to make a product (11:30)
  • How she manages stock and what to make, when (12:38)
  • The biggest challenges she faces (13:57)
  • How Coronavirus has affected her business and the way she needs to market her products (16:30)
  • How the business works around her family (18:33)
  • What she enjoys about running her business (20:34)
  • Her top advice for other makers and product creators (24:03)
  • The importance of knowing who your customers are (25:30)
  • Why it doesn’t matter if not everyone likes your products (29:11)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

The Creative Upcycler  

Lau’s Etsy Shop

The Creative Upcycler on Instagram

The Creative Upcycler on Facebook

Lau Morrachini on Linkedin

LET’S CONNECT

Find me on Instagram

Work with me

Transcript
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Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast,

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practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell

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your own physical products. Here is your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, thank you so much for being here today. I'm

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really excited to introduce this week's guest to you because

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she actually makes her own products and run for the

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manufacturers for them, which is something we haven't spoke about

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on the podcast just yet. So Lau Morrachini is the

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founder of The Creative Upcycler she's an eco friendly woodworker

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and jewellery maker based in Brighton. She collects, we claimed

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in salvage work to make bespoke would enjoy a week

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and home homeware. So this is a really interesting conversation.

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You'll find out about how a lo got started creating

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her own products. And so the practical steps she goes

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through where she sells them. And I really hope you'll

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find this useful. So without further ado, I'll introduce you

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to Lei say hi, Lau thank you so much for

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being here today.

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Would you mind if we start by telling everyone about

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yourself and your business, please?

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Hi. Thank you. Thank you for having me happy to

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do the podcast. My name is Lau I'm a woodworker

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and maker. I'm based in Sussex in Brighton. And I

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worked for my workshop and the back of my house.

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I make a wouldn't do a REIT. And what an

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object may be from a reclaimed wood. Yes.

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So we meet weekly. So for reclaimed Where

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Yes. From our scripts. Yes.

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Oh, wow. And how did you get started dipping that

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Just so it's a woodworking has always been my, my

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passion since it was a little girl, like grew up

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in my dads workshop for learning who've done in metal

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and even mechanic's. And after that, that warranted as a

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teenager, I want you to become a cabinetmaker, but a

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at that time that let's say it was beginning of

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the eighties. It was a bit tricky. I lived in

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a rural area and it wasn't a bit challenging for

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me for a young guy to become a cab. He

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didn't make it at that time, so I didn't do

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it. And I went to university, I graduated and I

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moved to Mexico when I traveled to Mexico. And so

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I decided to stay there because I really loved it.

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So I worked for 10 years as a French lecturer

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in Mexico, a but at the same time that I

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sets up a, a, a collective, most of makers and

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artists and doing woodworking. And where are we making? And

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after 10 years decided to come back to Europe, a

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two to three years in London, where I worked as

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a French, a lecturer asking Scott age, and that's the

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three years I resigned not on the finished the ones

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you do to stop my passion and driving, to start

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living up, to make a living at the top of

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it. So we move to is born.

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And where have I met my friend, Mike cabinetmaker and

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I used to go every, every week, two is workshop

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making pieces of furniture. And I realize that he was

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throwing all the off-cuts really expensive. Then there are a

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lot of, of course, a to the, to the beach.

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So I said, look, if you can't solve all of

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this words, or I'd rather the world for my mission

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and obviously, and rubbed all the wood since then, and

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he calls me my PI, but the way the pieces

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of wood, I started to make a small objects. I

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bought late, and I started to make a kitchen where

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a lot of jewelry bit by bit, but I didn't

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have a role there for three years ago.

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We moved to Brighton and I'm very lucky to have

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now my own workshops at the back of the house.

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So I've got all my tools that you and I

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can work from. This is where I became a wood

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worker, let's say a full time. Yeah. So I think

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I have really managed to truck to transform my, my

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first of all, my passion into, into a business.

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That's amazing. So where do you, how does it work

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class or where do you get your wisdom metal from

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now? Because I know you only used me claimed items,

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is that right?

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So many for me from cabinet makers, wood merchants, now

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just working with some more of guts and a hardwood,

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but before you used to even collect in skip flight

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dipping, and now is just sometimes I get them for

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free, but something I have to buy them that is

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just off guts.

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Okay. So you are just looking for that, the scraps

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of, with a metal that other people aren't don't want

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the day it needs.

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Exactly. It is becoming tricky because that it makes us

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realize that some people are doing more, I'm making muddy

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with out of that. So they are sending them now.

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So it's a, it's a bit of a challenge or

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on the job because I was in need to do

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by the way, try not to bite off cuts, but

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it's becoming a bit tricky too, to keep my prices,

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you know?

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Yeah, of course. Cause I guess if you start having

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to pay for your materials, obviously your costs are going

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to have to go up to a hundred. I think

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that that's very interesting.

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Nothing is freed and we need to have a piece

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of wood.

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So where'd you, where'd you come up with the idea

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for your project. So I've had a look on your

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website, in your, and your products at all. So unique.

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So all things that you've designed yourself and now the

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things that, how are they sort of, how do you,

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yeah, I'll be, I'll be honest. I am not a

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creative in this way. So I'd love to know a

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bit about how do you come up with the design

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for a beautiful piece of jewelry, for example, right.

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Yeah. I used to make bigger things. I like the

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big jewelry books, shelves, a side horse, et cetera. And

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I started do makes I had some very small

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very nice, were like Walnut and all that. And I

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started to make rings and I had really good feedback

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from friends and family. And I said, well, let's say

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you should sell them. So why not sober? I decided

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to do a over a website, then Shop online. And

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then I started this just for the creative.

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Upcycler started a bit more than a year ago. I

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I'm really happy because I've had a lot of really

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good feedback online. And my sales are increasing and I'm

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working with my customers, always for reading, for example, some

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products or for everything has kitchen, where, or why do

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I call them wine where you know what stoppers is?

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What's both of the coasts, things like that. They are

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products online in store, but all the jewellery is a

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bespoke jewelry.

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So you, you, you see a ring and he said,

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Oh, I'm going to this ring. I really love it.

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Are they the right to me? High or low reload

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this ring. But could you change the inlay off? I

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don't know of a, to acquire is by a new

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label. Let's say the other thing or a different

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food or a different shape. And you can assign. So

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at the moment, I'm really happy because I've got a

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long list of all those four weddings things. Yeah. Wedding

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rings and engagement rings. Oh, that's not my thing. Or

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if it's summer or if it's the lockdown, if it's

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what people are getting married a lot at the moment.

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So yeah. Yeah. They couldn't believe that people who told

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that trust in, in, in me for the wedding rings

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and the other really good feedback, then you have got

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more orders now, you know,

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That's amazing. Where do you think people are finding out

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about you is at your website? Are you doing anything

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else to promote yourself?

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What else? I've got two shops online. I've got a

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private, I started with a private website and I've got

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another shop on Etsy, a that's online and face to

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face of a, a track to do, to make us

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fast. This was fast, the artists open houses. And I

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don't know if you've heard about the festival in Brighton.

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Yeah. Yeah. So it, it was council in may and

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fortunately, but it's the schedules for November and December that

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when I do face-to-face all the rest is all online.

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I don't have to Shop.

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I mean, if you think of Shop.

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Yeah. And do you think does a loss of Your

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where do people have said, do you think people tend

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to find you online or are they find you or,

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you know, when they met you in person or is

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it a mix of, of both?

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Do you find me online? I sell less rings during

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faster, because I've got a samples of I've got 10

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or 15 wrings to show them and I can do

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when we are face-to-face that can measure the fingers. We

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can discuss a design, but people then who are not

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to buy them well, when we are face-to-face I send

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more at home where, for example, the infest, all the

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reasons, the 99% of the rings, I sell them on

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online.

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Interesting. So as you say, you think it will be

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easier to sell a living in person because you can

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sit down and discuss. Yeah.

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Right. So the ring and the light, and if you

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go to the size, because obviously I can't make a,

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because one of my unique setting was everything. Every wring

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is unique and the spot, so I can't make it

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the same region in 10 or 15 different sizes. Yes.

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That was a way that I then Denzel of rings

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and not sending them. So if you pick the ring,

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you design it. So we decided to get near the

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edge, unless you've got, you know, exactly the design that

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you like to buy and I'll make it right.

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Oh, fantastic. So you just, do you get people ordering

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rings though and fairs and things like that yet So

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made when I said buying, so obviously not all during

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that time.

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Yeah. Yeah. The rings out, sitting better online it's yeah.

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It's funny. Yeah.

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And what to say, so it sounds like you've got

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like a mic set of products that you make for

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people. And then your, obviously your home, where products that

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you make and they are always available. So how do

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you, I'm just thinking, how do you manage knowing how

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many to make of each items is actually something, if

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you don't mind me asking is how long does it

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take you to make something? Like, if we say a

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bottle of a stopper, for example, how long would that

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take you

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Both on the stop lights, like an hour and hour

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and a half, depending on the wood, because some people

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wants to do different foods and sometimes just a simple

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design, a lot of waiting times in a woodworking for

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the drying times and punishing and Sunding and taking a

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walk and cuttings, or is not so long. Some summary

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things that take me to make them more of a

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four or five days was drying times in some ways,

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takes me two to three hours or the raise a

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eight to 10 hours.

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Oh, wow. Yes. So how has it use sort of

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balance is knowing how many of your products or is

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it depends on the wood. You can get hold of,

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how does that work?

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I've got them in stock, everything I've got in stock,

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it's all online on the Shop of the rings there

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that, that they had made yet.

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Yep. So for your home Wednesday, how do you sort

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of know how many to make, or do you not

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know? Do you just gauge it by a number of

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orders or you have one of everything

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If you wanted it, I send it to immediately, if

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you want then and say, okay, but ah, give me

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five days, but like just, I'm just able to make

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a six or this type, because I just have this

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amount of a, of, of this type of food at

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the moment. So it's a harmonizing in the top of

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the discussion with the customer's. That's an interesting,

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That's interesting. So you say you sold one of one

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design, then you would then make that one again. So

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you have it ready to sell it to the next

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customer, if you can. Yeah, because I did want to

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how that worked. So I've looked at your website, obviously

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you have quite a range of home products. I did

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one to how you kept on top of them, because

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obviously you are making everything yourself. So that's the one

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that's got to take up so much of your time.

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And so yes, I make it a, everything for me

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to then go to the post office and send to

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the, the parcel.

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Yeah. So there's quite a lot of time in both.

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And that's probably a good point to talk about. So

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we met, you mentioned earlier about how it is getting

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a bit harder to find the scrap word and the

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scrap metal. So are there any other challenges that you've

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encountered sort of since starting up your business?

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Yes. So the big challenge of selling online is when

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you don't have any physio, if you're going to have

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a physical shop, do you have to work a lot

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on your marketing and social marketing and your SEO on

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the line? And I'm not doing enough work on it

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at the moment. It's because of child care for all

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the reasons. But I think with a business like mine,

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I should be quite a quarter of my time in

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my workshop, three quarter of my time on, in front

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of the computer, working on my SQL content or my

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site content or my social marketing needs, et cetera, or

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taking a nice pictures or promoting them and researching for

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the goods a bit of the best hashtags, etc, etc.

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And I don't like doing that. I was working, but

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I don't, I have a physical Shop account to, for

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this, or you have to do it in any way

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and that's a, a path. So those in working from

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home, it's good to be your own boat, most of,

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but no hoorah, but you have to be super disciplined.

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You have to improve the routine because otherwise it was

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just all of a lie, you know, and do that

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tomorrow. And if it doesn't talk like that, so it's

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a bit tricky and I've got to children. So am

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I, my father works a full time, so I am

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in charge of the child care.

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So normally I've got what I call it a full

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or part time from nine to six for my business,

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all the rest of the time. And then with the

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kids a bit now, because of the lockdown, there is

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no school homeschooling in the morning every morning. And, and

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I try to, to get some free hours in the

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afternoon or, or in the evening for four My for

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my workshop, best buy ever. We've got a trumpet in

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a tight accident up on it is outside of my

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workshop and the keys to a hoppy on the trumpet.

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So I've got a nine of them and I'll make

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my, my rings.

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That is excellent tip. So yeah, I think you are

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right. And I think it was coming to me. I

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must be, you know, it does bring its challenges. I

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mean, I guess another, you were talking about a challenge

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sort of marketing and promoting your business. And I guess

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another way, and please tell me if I'm wrong, but

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I assume that lockdown has also affected your business in

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a way that, because you can't go out and physically

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two stalls and the band's and meet people, I'm, you

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know, there needs to be more, you know, online marketing

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is even more important than it ever has been, I

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guess.

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Yes. Yeah, it does. And I was so disappointed when,

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when they canceled the hottest of an office is because

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I was invited in February for the first time, there

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was some ones. So my products on them, you know,

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Christmas back, and then it brought to me and asked

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if I could be really, really like what you do.

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So do you want to be part of the house

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with us? And two is that with the collective? And

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he was really, really honored. Obviously I reorganized everything and

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the last two minutes it was canceled. I'm looking forward

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to, for the next ones in a Northern box and

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building my stock now being my beats.

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Yeah. It is such a shame. And we have what

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you're saying as well about some of the, on the,

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on my marketing. I think that's, I think that's part

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of being a business owner. Isn't it, there's always so

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much you have to do because you are doing it

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all when it's just sort of, you have your business

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and I guess an extra challenge for you is that

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you are also making your product. So I have my

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products business, but I don't actually make the products. And

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even so I spent, I spent no where near as

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much time as I do on marketing. And I'll be

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honest because there's always, it feels like there's always something

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else to do it wasn't there. So I can't imagine

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how I would manage that actually physically creating the products

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as well.

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So I think that's it, that's it? Yeah. That is

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a real

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In September and two of my, my full-time part-time, but

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the report nine to six and manage to do some

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more work and much more.

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It is easier for me. Yeah. When you've got child-free

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time, it's always the joke or otherwise. So while we

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are on the subject of that, so, so I guess

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in normal time, so let's say we are not in

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lockdown. How does running at this point Product spaces work

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with your family or does it work around your family

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life?

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I don't know. I've got longer on a waiting time.

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Is it making the time or you can make, depending

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on the, the period in the year during holidays or

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increase my time to be two to three weeks while

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writing this book or green or install, if I can

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send it to immediately, obviously. So that's not a problem,

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but in when that's called, I can make rings, but,

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and then one to two weeks, or if I've got

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to get enough time in is not enough time, I

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need to make them. So yeah, it is good because

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I've got steel, I've got it from nine to six.

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So let's say five hours, which is, it's a big

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need to make the, most of it has to be

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doing the workshops. And I'm really looking to up my

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workshop, but the back of the, the, the garden. So

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when I'm done there coming to the computer and I

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do my own social marketing and on the sun, et

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cetera.

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Yeah. That must be a really nice actually to separate

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your work from your home. So I have a, a

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separate space.

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Yes. Yeah. And it used to work in my kitchen.

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So when I used to live in Isabelle and then

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I have been very happy, I'm going to be a

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workshop with all my tools is now, and I'm struggling

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a bit with a storage now. There's a lot of

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all the, of course I've got, I don't know. I

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don't know what to put things like that anyway. Yeah.

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Is your house full of pieces of wood?

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Not even, no, not anymore, no. In the shed and

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in the garbage.

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So obviously this sounds like a business that sort of

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was created out of love or a passion for what

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you do. So, so aside from a source of enjoying

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the making process, what else do you enjoy about this

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sort of a bit about your business?

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I enjoyed the, the relationship I've got, who is my

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clients online, or even if it's not a face to

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face. So is that I will prefer a face-to-face, but

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I'm a manager I'm always answering. You may not even

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directly or are you sure are sending pictures, designing more

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offerings online too. He's got a design together. And a,

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that's a very exciting process. Sometimes more than making the,

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the Turing is designing a, I've got a clue I've

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got to customer or at the moment in use in

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society. And you send to me a message that you

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really love your rings.

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And so I would like my ring's my wedding ring.

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I would like you to make my wedding ring, but

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I'm a, I'm a boy or from the South downs

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bought in bread. And I like to make a ring

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out of Ashland and Flinstone. And I was like, Oh,

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great idea. I, whenever I need to have it worse,

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but it's not very hard. And so if we are

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designing, we are making yes. He asked me for advice

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or I'm giving him and then do you have options?

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And it's all in the process of designing with, with

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the customer is, is, is it's nice. It's not really

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enjoy it. And, and a good feedback at the end.

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So it's like a seven better.

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Yeah. Well, it sounds like you prefer a fantastic service

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and that was the nice thing. It isn't it about

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being in a small, one of the nice things about

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being your own business is that you can provide that

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service. There is nobody between you and the customer

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When, when, when someone said, Oh, well, thank you so

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much for my wedding ring. Wow. And he just sends

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in SME features and it's, it's really a one more

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thing. Really, really nice, you know,

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That's lovely. That's a lovely thing to be able to

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create for somebody and the engagement. Yeah.

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I mean, it was people think that I started them

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on a beat and I tell the wedding rings because

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obviously it's not a gold or silver, but a, when

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some people prefer to have a unique, wouldn't ring, always

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a bit of a Gemma store in LA, or if

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you have silver or a different design, you know,

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That's a really nice and how about engagement being, so

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do you get people coming for engagement rings, and then

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you get to find out how it all went after.

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Yeah. The problem, you know what I want to send

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me the day? She said, yes. He said, yes, send

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me the, the answer, an engagement, ring it to be

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tricky because normally I don't know the size. So I've

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got a lot of people stealing for the, of stealing

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for a day. You know, another ring running through the

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workshop, people who are living locally, obviously running through my

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workshop. I measure quickly the ring. And again, the ring

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back in, in the drawer or in the jury box.

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And sometimes we are just going to guess, but yeah,

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they can get from a tree that tree at the

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end, we all will get us a size.

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Right.

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Got it. Good. Okay. So lay. What would it be?

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Your number one piece of advice for anyone else wanting

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to start a product business, particularly I guess someone who

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wanted to make the products themselves

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Do it. That's the first piece of advice. Trust yourself,

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show your work to other people, whatever you making friends,

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family show your work, try to do have a support

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network. Sometimes are taught to a friend or a partner

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or a memo of family. Tell them you goals, set

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some goals, tell them what you are going to do.

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Do we show them the product or accept the bad

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feedbacks? because then you are growing and doing better.

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A, someone like a, an accountability partner. Anyone, if you

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look next months and green to me, I don't know

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are going to make a decision. I'm going to learn

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out to solve the silver rings up to do it.

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If you don't have the money to pay for a

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workshop goes online, you got plenty or free courses. Jewelry-making

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all of the products learn to practice, fail, start again,

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failed again, and stopped. And fate do it. You, you

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put it out. I've been in India. I hate to

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show it to people for, for feedback.

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It was something very important to us as well, knowing

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who your customers are. And Listen listened to your customers,

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basically, 'cause you making stuff to send it to them.

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You don't, you don't make stuff to please you in

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your work and give them in a drawer. So yeah.

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Communicate a lot with your customers as much as you

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can. What is it is, but going out and investigate

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that don't worry. If you see all these a product

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in mind, but also it's already exists. It doesn't matter.

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Do it, try to do it better. Try to transform

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me to try to, to add something more, to eat

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different color, different materials, anywhere, depending on your product.

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What is set for example, the I never pay

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for a week in class. If you might find them

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for Christmas bottom year or two days, not for another

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one's course. It's this expo Dani. That will be there

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when I go there to learn more and more techniques.

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But I've learned a lot of things with people online,

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practicing, failing, doing it again, et cetera. Or I have

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a go at it and it will be better every

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day. So several. Yeah.

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Yes. Thank you. I agree. Actually, I've recently left when

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I say this is the last couple of years and

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it has a crochet and I did it all from

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YouTube. Just videos of people's hands, just coughing. I mean,

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I'm, I'm not doing anything to sell. I'm just doing

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it for fun. But yeah, I think I'm pretty, I'm

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pretty good. Now I'm actually, and as you say, it's

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just doing it. Although I suppose, I guess it's been

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a bit easier for me because I'm not doing it

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for sale. I'm doing it for fun. There's a bit

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less pressure maybe, but maybe that was another advice for

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people is if you enjoy it, I guess the creative

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part, it should be fun to get the actual Creating

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should be fun.

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She shouldn't be a chore because you're selling it at

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the end.

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Yeah. This is what I miss. When I used to

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work as an extra, you know, I miss manual work

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or creating with my hands and I feel much, much

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better making, doing woodworking and this and lecturing people.

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If there's something relaxing, isn't there about doing something like

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that. Yeah.

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That's a perfect job for me. For mindfulness. Yeah. You

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said a lot of salting of the rings. You know,

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its not supposed to sell then you just because I

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wanted you to metal work when you imagine. So I

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started making wooden ring's for me and I said, Whoa,

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I really like them. And I'm going to make another

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one and another one. And when I had five or

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six, I went and I show two friends and family

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and it's like, wow, what a beautiful, even like my

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friend that got me, they make us. And he was

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really, really much for finished and got fictions, look, you

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should sell them because they are re deputy for them.

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So I did, I did it. And I started at

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the website than the shop online on Etsy et cetera.

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I'd been by me and I am selling some of

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it. It's perfect.

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It is. It is great. You sort of decided to

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just put them out there and think fantastic. You went

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and shows people because I think that something that people

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can sometimes be a little bit hesitant to do because

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its quite vulnerable. Isn't it? Especially when you've made it

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yourself to show you to someone and say, what do

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you think? Because if they say, Oh no, I don't

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like that. We'll take your feelings. So it's a really

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brave

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Say that someone else that you laughed different, different opinion.

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Do you know if my lane is quite minimalist, I

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find it elegant and minimalist. So from Ringwood and Rainmaker,

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it does make a, that might make a lot of

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different metals, different wards, even margarines and rings. I find

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it not to bad, but it's for me to be

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too much. Yeah. If a customer says I would like

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three different wooden to two gemstones and a bit a

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monetary inside, could you do that? Of course I'll do

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it for the customer because if they want, but I

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prefer any money.

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Yeah. And as you say, whatever you do, whenever you

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create it's, this is never going to be for everyone

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because everyone has different tastes and yeah. So

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I'd prefer the plastic means. Sorry. Yeah. The plastic rings

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or diamonds is a good the morning.

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So I think it's great. As you say, just to

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just put your ideas out there, just to show people,

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get some feedback and it sounds like you found that

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all really useful. Yeah.

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Yes. Definitely. Because the first time you buy something you

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like you did with a project, it was like, Oh

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its not bad, but you, you will never imagine that

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you can sell them.

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Yeah. No I think that's a good and I think

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the first thing that I guess yeah, it is to

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just say to people I've made this, what do you

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think? I guess that's the first step in having something

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that you are able to sell. Okay. We'll thank you

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so much for everything that you've shared and I'm going

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to be pushing the link to your website in the

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show notes and everyone can go Ava and have a

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look at what you create. And is there any last

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thoughts you wanted to share before we end?

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No, just have to encourage people to do to start

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a business. Don't worry. It's a big a baby to

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just, just do it. Just go with that and do

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it. It's easy. You know, nine with all the, even

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for you, you can do some sales stuff free on,

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on, on Etsy for a listing. It's like a thing

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there are paid 20 P for listing policing. So do

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it, try, try out some products play a bit far.

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So my advice to see if you've got some feedback

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or we'll returns or all it does, you never know,

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you never know, just go do it. Wait or I

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need this in this first at the beginning.

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I always an excuse. But after that I realized I

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don't need the tool. You can do it differently to

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do it, launch your business. And I did it and

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I'm really happy that I did it at that time.

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Well thank you so much for your time and feel

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encouragement as well. I think that it's yeah, it's really

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a nice to have all these Your encouraging words and

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I'm absolutely with you that yes. I don't think you

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ever regret what you do. You regret what you don't

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do.

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Exactly. Exactly the worst.

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Yes. That was fantastic. Yeah. And thank you. But yeah,

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it is scary, but also lots of fun. I think

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it's fair to say. Okay. Well thank you so much

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for your time later.

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Thank you for me.

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I really hope you found that conversation with like useful

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and interesting do, please go to have a look at

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her website, take a look at her products and you'll

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probably like myself be amazed if she makes these by

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hand as always. I'd love to know what you think

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of the episodes. So you can always send me an

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email Vicki@tinychipmunk.com. If you're listening on Apple podcast, you can

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also rate AMA view of the podcast, which I would

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really appreciate it. Thank you so much and see you