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Today my guest on the podcast is Angela Chick. Angela is an illustrator and designer with a love for colour and kindness. She creates unique gifts and greeting cards for people who care about other people. 

I first heard about Angela in a post by Holly Tucker, where she was talking about the fact that Paperchase owes Angela £22,000. I didn’t even know that Paperchase had gone into administration. Angela is not alone, and there are a whole host of small businesses who are owed money by Paperchase. Angela has really bravely agreed to come on and share her story with us, and how small businesses can protect themselves going forwards.

Listen in to hear Angela share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:20)
  • How she started her business (02:04)
  • Transitioning from being an artist in residence to running her business full time (05:15)
  • Getting stocked by Not On The High Street (09:58)
  • Where she gets inspiration for her products (16:03)
  • Selling the right products at the right time during the pandemic (17:46)
  • Finding producers and suppliers for her products (20:33)
  • Wholesaling her products (22:50)
  • Licensing her products (23:18)
  • Why licensing is an attractive option (25:28)
  • Her first experience at a Trade Show, Top Drawer (29:26)
  • Her top tips and advice for Trade Shows (31:50)
  • Her experience with Paperchase (41:45)
  • Finding out Paperchase has gone into Administration and what that meant for her (46:31)
  • Connecting with other small businesses also owed money by Paperchase (50:33)
  • How it has changed how Angela works with other companies (56:56)
  • Why working with smaller companies can be better than working with the biggest retailers (57:04)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (01:01:14)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Angela Chick Website

Angela Chick Facebook

Angela Chick Instagram

Angela Chick LinkedIn

Angela Chick Twitter

Trade Shows:

Top Drawer

Progressive Greetings Live

Fellow Indies mentioned by Angela:

Jelly Armchair

Hole In My Pocket

Dandelion Stationery

Sarah Ray

LET’S CONNECT

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Find me on Instagram

Work with me

Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical

Vicki Weinberg:

advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Vicki Weinberg:

Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Today on the podcast I'm speaking to Angela Chick.

Vicki Weinberg:

Angela is an illustrator and designer with a love for color and kindness.

Vicki Weinberg:

She, she creates unique gifts and greeting cards for people

Vicki Weinberg:

who care about other people.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I first heard about Angela on a post by Holly Tucker, where she

Vicki Weinberg:

was talking about the fact that Paperchase, owed Angela 22,000 pounds.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I dunno about you, but I didn't know that Paperchase

Vicki Weinberg:

had gone into administration.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I can imagine what that meant to some of the small

Vicki Weinberg:

businesses that supplied them.

Vicki Weinberg:

And Angela has really bravely, I think, agreed to come on

Vicki Weinberg:

and share her story with us.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, we talk about other things as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but this is a big part of the conversation and, um, really interesting,

Vicki Weinberg:

really eye-opening and she also talks about things that small businesses can

Vicki Weinberg:

do to protect themselves going forward.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I really hope you enjoy this conversation with Angela.

Vicki Weinberg:

So hi Angela.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for being here.

Angela Chick:

Thank you for inviting me, Vicki.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, you are so welcome.

Vicki Weinberg:

Could you please start by giving introduction to yourself, your

Vicki Weinberg:

business and what you sell?

Angela Chick:

Absolutely.

Angela Chick:

So my name is Angela Chick.

Angela Chick:

I am an illustrator and designer and I run my own gift business, um, where I sell

Angela Chick:

products that I put my illustrations on.

Angela Chick:

Everything's nice and bright and colorful, um, for lots of gifts for friends.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And looking at your messages I've, um, your website, sorry.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think all the messages on your products are really positive as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's the sense that I get.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's like a really, yeah, upbeat, positive place.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Doing my best to help people spread kindness and show that

Angela Chick:

they're thinking of others.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really nice.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can we start by talking about how your business got started please?

Angela Chick:

Um, yes.

Angela Chick:

Well, it's, it's kind of hard to say where the exact starting point was, but,

Angela Chick:

um if anyone's ever read my bios that I share online they'll know that when I

Angela Chick:

was eight years old, I'd said I wanted to be a starving artist or an entrepreneur.

Angela Chick:

I probably said entrepreneurial or something because I didn't quite, I,

Angela Chick:

I mean, I also thought that starving artist was literally the job title,

Angela Chick:

uh, for artists because I, I didn't, I didn't get at that point that you

Angela Chick:

could make a living from doing art, although it is rare, I suppose.

Angela Chick:

And it definitely takes a lot of hard work.

Angela Chick:

Um, I was very creative all through school.

Angela Chick:

I spent a lot of time in the art room.

Angela Chick:

Then when I went on to university, I decided that I had to, I first I started,

Angela Chick:

um, sort of a fine art and graphic design, mixed degree, and it wasn't quite, for me.

Angela Chick:

I was a lot more crafty at the time.

Angela Chick:

And then I swapped over, started doing a textile and furniture design

Angela Chick:

degree, um, which I really loved.

Angela Chick:

I was making everything out of fabric anyway at the time.

Angela Chick:

Um, but I was always being told that I drew too much.

Angela Chick:

And I came to move over to the UK.

Angela Chick:

You can probably tell I'm not, um, well, I was born here, but not raised here.

Angela Chick:

Uh, so I left Canada moved over here and continued my textiles degree,

Angela Chick:

but was still told I drew too much.

Angela Chick:

And, um, then I started making products.

Angela Chick:

I think I started, first I was screen printing a lot

Angela Chick:

because of my textiles degree.

Vicki Weinberg:

Were you screen printing onto fabric?

Angela Chick:

Yeah, so I was screen printing, um, sort of t-shirts

Angela Chick:

and baby clothes and tote bags.

Angela Chick:

And I did the odd poster and stuff for bands at the time.

Angela Chick:

Um, then that was going quite well.

Angela Chick:

And I, at the time I was living in Brighton and my screen

Angela Chick:

printing studio was closing down.

Angela Chick:

So I thought, okay, how am I gonna get my designs onto things

Angela Chick:

without a screen printing studio?

Angela Chick:

You know, I lived in a tiny flat, there was no chance I was setting

Angela Chick:

up my own studio at the time.

Angela Chick:

Um, and then I started thinking about putting it on paper, and

Angela Chick:

I think I started with sort of a handful of greeting card designs.

Angela Chick:

So maybe five, six, and it kind of just went from there really.

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And was it so right at the start, when you were selling your tote bags

Vicki Weinberg:

and clothing and all the screen print items, so these are your illustrations

Vicki Weinberg:

screen printed onto products.

Vicki Weinberg:

So at that point, was it like how, what might you, how do you sort

Vicki Weinberg:

of set the set up as a business?

Vicki Weinberg:

And were you thinking, okay, this is my business, or where are

Vicki Weinberg:

you selling products, but while sort of pursuing other things?

Angela Chick:

Um, coming out of university, I went straight into

Angela Chick:

a job as an artist in residence, working with young children.

Angela Chick:

It was a pretty full on job.

Angela Chick:

Um, I, I was working full time on that, but then outside of that was when I was

Angela Chick:

having the time to make my products.

Angela Chick:

I think it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted, well, since I was

Angela Chick:

eight, apparently, um, that I wanted to be my own boss and I never really

Angela Chick:

questioned at the time that that's what would end up happening that one day

Angela Chick:

I would sell my products full time.

Angela Chick:nt, which was amazing, uh, in:Angela Chick:

where I had to put my notice in because it was getting to a point

Angela Chick:

where I couldn't, I couldn't keep up.

Angela Chick:

So I was sort of running myself, ragged, trying to work full time and then spending

Angela Chick:

evenings and weekends working on the stuff I wanted to sell for my own business.

Angela Chick:

And it was a bit of a make or break situation.

Angela Chick:

A big, uh, commission came in at the time, which I decided, you know, that

Angela Chick:

was, that was time because if I was trying to work full time and do this,

Angela Chick:

it was a big bespoke wedding collection, um, of loads of stationary and sort

Angela Chick:

of, um, baby onesies to be worn at weddings, like lots of really cute stuff.

Angela Chick:

Um, and it was massive.

Angela Chick:

It was a huge deal at the time.

Angela Chick:

And I thought, this is it.

Angela Chick:

I can actually, I can quit my job now and go into it.

Angela Chick:

So that was almost 10 years ago now.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so was that commission, so was that from a company who were asking you

Vicki Weinberg:

to do these designs on their behalf?

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that how that works?

Angela Chick:

Yeah, so it was, um, a, a sort of, quite a, a fancy wedding

Angela Chick:

boutique, um, that approached me and it was a, well, it was a baptism of fire

Angela Chick:

into the self-employment world or the freelance artist world because, uh, I

Angela Chick:

did all the work and they never paid me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, no.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

So it was, um, it was definitely a, a fiery first few months

Angela Chick:

of, uh, having quit my job.

Angela Chick:

And then this big commission fell through.

Angela Chick:

Um, yeah, sort of left me questioning for a bit what I had done.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm not surprised.

Vicki Weinberg:

And what happened?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, what was the outcome?

Vicki Weinberg:

Were you able to take them to small claims court or did you just dodge,

Vicki Weinberg:

pass it down off as its experience?

Vicki Weinberg:

What did you do at?

Angela Chick:

I kind of ended up having to put it down to experience at the time.

Angela Chick:

I had no idea, um, where I stood.

Angela Chick:

The person who ran the boutique just disappeared.

Angela Chick:

And, you know, I mean, I felt pretty bad for myself obviously, but I

Angela Chick:

felt really bad for the brides who had been left with no dresses,

Angela Chick:

like days before their weddings.

Angela Chick:

So, um, I wasn't the only one affected, sorry, I'm just getting

Angela Chick:

over a cold so I'm a bit croaky.

Vicki Weinberg:

Don't worry at all.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's awful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

And what.

Vicki Weinberg:

What a horrible experience for you to have, like literally in your first few

Vicki Weinberg:

months of running your business full time?

Angela Chick:

Mm-hmm it was a, it was a bit scary.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm not surprising.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so what happened from there?

Angela Chick:

Um, after that, I realized that I had to make some

Angela Chick:

better contracts first of all.

Angela Chick:

Um, I stopped taking on new clients without any payment up front.

Angela Chick:

Um, and I, I worked really, really hard to do whatever I could to just keep going,

Angela Chick:

because at that point, I think I was a bit, it was a mix of being really stubborn

Angela Chick:

and also, um, I guess, determined.

Angela Chick:

I think that I find stubbornness and determination to be quite similar for

Angela Chick:

myself a lot of the time, especially when it comes to my business.

Angela Chick:

Um, and it's, what's kept me going because.

Angela Chick:

I was too proud to say I failed at this.

Angela Chick:

I didn't want to have to go back to employment after being finally reaching

Angela Chick:

a point where I thought, oh my goodness, I can actually do my job full time.

Angela Chick:

Uh, so it was, um, it was a very tricky first few months, but I ended up making

Angela Chick:

it through with lots of hard work.

Vicki Weinberg:

And at that point, were you mostly taking commissions

Vicki Weinberg:

as opposed to selling products?

Angela Chick:

My product based business was getting off the ground.

Angela Chick:

I was working on a lot of commissions at the time, um, anywhere from

Angela Chick:

drawing cats and dogs for veterinary practices to band posters.

Angela Chick:

Um, and t-shirts, so it was, it was a bit of a mixed bag.

Angela Chick:

Uh, I started selling on Not On The High Street.

Angela Chick:

So that had started to take off.

Angela Chick:

It was nowhere near providing me with a salary at the time, but it

Angela Chick:

was growing and I could see that month on month, it was growing and I

Angela Chick:

kept having this, this sort of hope that it would continue in that way.

Angela Chick:

Luckily 10 years later, it still has continued in that way.

Angela Chick:

So it's now got to a point where it's, um, apart from some things going

Angela Chick:

on, it's been mostly smooth sailing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Good.

Vicki Weinberg:

And was Not On The High Street, the first place you sold your products, or

Vicki Weinberg:

what did your website pre-date that?

Angela Chick:

I had at one point I had an old big cartel website and I think

Angela Chick:

I had five products on it at the time.

Angela Chick:

I dunno what it's like now, but at the time you could

Angela Chick:

have five products for free.

Angela Chick:

Anything over that you had to pay for.

Angela Chick:

So I had like a couple of tote bags, um, and some baby clothes, uh, then I

Angela Chick:

think because of Not On The High Street, my products got into Vogue magazine.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Angela Chick:

Which was really exciting.

Angela Chick:

I was doing these cute little, it was inspired by my old job as an

Angela Chick:

artist in residence with the kids.

Angela Chick:

And I had done these little t-shirts that came with colored pens for fabric, and

Angela Chick:

the kids could color in their own t-shirts and, you know, then wash them and do

Angela Chick:

it again and wash them and do it again.

Angela Chick:

And so those, uh, those got picked up by Vogue and they were, they

Angela Chick:

were really popular for a while.

Angela Chick:

So that was definitely a big boost.

Angela Chick:

Um, but that was sort of a mix of Not On The High Street and my own website.

Angela Chick:

I was trying to run them, to say that my own website at the time was anywhere

Angela Chick:

close to my, Not On The High Street sales, definitely, not even close.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it must be expected though.

Vicki Weinberg:

Really.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I think most people who sell on another marketplace as well

Vicki Weinberg:

as their website, often they find that the marketplace sales was

Vicki Weinberg:

at least initially are more or simply because it's easier to find.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but actually getting onto Not On The High Street is really impressive as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know what it was.

Vicki Weinberg:

So how many years ago was it that you, was that 10 years ago

Vicki Weinberg:

when you started selling there?

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know what it was like then, but I know now certainly there

Vicki Weinberg:

is a bit of a process to go through.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, was it the same then?

Angela Chick:

There was definitely process to go through.

Angela Chick:

Um, I'm not quite sure what the process is now.

Angela Chick:

I know what the, the most recent I heard, they sort of

Angela Chick:

run almost like a pitch event.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

So, um, I didn't have to do that, luckily at the time.

Angela Chick:

Um, I did have to apply and go through, it was quite, quite a deep

Angela Chick:

process to, uh, become part of it.

Angela Chick:

And I'll never forget how proud I was when I found out that I had been accepted,

Angela Chick:

because it, it just blew my mind.

Angela Chick:

You know, I thought, oh my goodness, this is it.

Angela Chick:

This is it.

Angela Chick:

I've done it.

Angela Chick:

And uh, yeah, so I I'd say as much as I, um, was trying to sell on

Angela Chick:

my own website at the time, Not On The High Street at that point was,

Angela Chick:

was my main breadwinner I'd say.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think that does make sense though, because I mean, it

Vicki Weinberg:

still is now, but I, I think as well, thinking back 10 years, it was, it was a

Vicki Weinberg:

really popular place to shop wasn't it.

Angela Chick:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And the only reason I say 10 years goes, I think now a lot

Vicki Weinberg:

of people maybe think of Etsy as well was Not On The High Street, but this, I

Vicki Weinberg:

think this probably predates it probably.

Vicki Weinberg:

If not, it was, I don't remember Etsy being big 10 years ago, but I certainly

Vicki Weinberg:

remember if I wanted a gift I would be going to Not On The High Street because

Vicki Weinberg:

that was where you'd get all the unique things that, yeah, funnily enough

Vicki Weinberg:

you wouldn't get on the high street

Vicki Weinberg:

. Angela Chick: Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think, um, I think Etsy's been around quite a while over in the

Vicki Weinberg:

United States, but it took them a while to get as popular over here.

Vicki Weinberg:

Whereas now I think people would definitely think of Etsy when they think

Vicki Weinberg:

of, you know, finding unique gifts.

Vicki Weinberg:

They know that that's sort of the wealth as it is the handmade marketplace.

Vicki Weinberg:

So it's definitely a lot more popular over here now.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And does selling on Not On The High Street prevent you from

Vicki Weinberg:

selling on other marketplaces?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because like I, and again, I know that used to be the case, but I'm not sure now.

Angela Chick:

Um, it, it really depends, so I, I can sell on my

Angela Chick:

own website and I can sell on Etsy.

Angela Chick:

Um, obviously if I have products on both of those sites, they're gonna

Angela Chick:

be competing against each other.

Angela Chick:

Um, and you know, I couldn't have designs that I had on Not On The

Angela Chick:

High Street, in high street stores.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Um, now I don't know if that's changed.

Angela Chick:

Um, I have had things in high street stores, but not things that were available

Angela Chick:

for sale and Not In The High Street.

Angela Chick:

So I would try to honor that as best I could.

Angela Chick:

sometimes it happens where, um, a company that I supply will then sell

Angela Chick:

things to another company, or it might end up that they sort of find their way

Angela Chick:

onto the high street, but I do usually have some notice of that happening.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And we will talk a little bit more about wholesaling, um, a

Vicki Weinberg:

little bit later if that's okay.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, one thing I'd love to talk was products, talk about, let's

Vicki Weinberg:

talk about your products a bit, if that's okay, as well as the way you sell them.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, where do you get your inspiration?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because as I said before, your products, they're bright,

Vicki Weinberg:

they're colorful, they're happy.

Vicki Weinberg:

You've definitely got your own style.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I feel like after spending lots of time looking at your Instagram

Vicki Weinberg:

and your website I could probably pick something out as being yours.

Vicki Weinberg:

Now, I think , um, where, where do you get the inspiration for them?

Angela Chick:

Um, it all, it, most of it comes from my own experience.

Angela Chick:

Um, I've struggled with poor mental health over the years.

Angela Chick:

And when I've been at my lowest, there's been some things that people

Angela Chick:

have said to me that have really, you know, hit home, made a difference.

Angela Chick:

Um, there there's ways that especially, well, everyone found during the

Angela Chick:

pandemic, obviously they wanted to keep in touch with people who are far away.

Angela Chick:

You know, I think as we get older, our friendship group goes from

Angela Chick:

that, which is, you know, we're all in the same sort of place.

Angela Chick:

And then we get older and we spread out and I just wanted to create

Angela Chick:

things to help people tell other people how they were feeling or

Angela Chick:

that they were thinking about them.

Angela Chick:

Um, hopefully to help brighten up their days.

Angela Chick:

Or products that if someone is having issues with, um, how they've been feeling.

Angela Chick:

Low mood and anxiety and things, things that tools I've learned from therapy

Angela Chick:

that have helped me over the years.

Angela Chick:

And so I'm hoping they can help other people as well.

Angela Chick:

Thank you for that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and did you, did your products, did you see an

Vicki Weinberg:

increase in product sales during the pandemic when we were in lockdown?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I can see that your products would've just been perfect for that.

Angela Chick:

Absolutely.

Angela Chick:

Uh, I was really nervous as many small business owners uh, would've been when,

Angela Chick:

when we learned what was going on.

Angela Chick:

Um, but because there were so many people that were stuck at home and

Angela Chick:

couldn't go to the shops and wanted to reach out to those people that they

Angela Chick:

were missing or those people who were really struggling and feeling isolated.

Angela Chick:

Um, it was, it was my busiest year ever.

Angela Chick:

Um, which, which is great.

Angela Chick:

Obviously it's hard to follow that because it's, it's now a very

Angela Chick:

different world since things are open and inflation is what it is.

Angela Chick:

Um, but it was, it was an amazing year for me.

Angela Chick:

And the best part of it for me was, um, receiving messages from customers

Angela Chick:

who had bought something to give to a friend who were having a hard time.

Angela Chick:

And they were saying, this is exactly what they needed.

Angela Chick:

And thank you so much.

Angela Chick:

It's made a big difference.

Angela Chick:

And, you know, people couldn't necessarily find anything

Angela Chick:

like that that was out there.

Angela Chick:

So it made me feel really good that I was able to help them.

Angela Chick:

It feels like a big responsibility to be helping people stay in touch with people

Angela Chick:

they love and, um, make them feel good.

Angela Chick:

But, uh, I like to think that I'm helping a little bit with that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, you definitely are.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's really lovely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also, I guess, practically then were you in a situation where your

Vicki Weinberg:

suppliers were still in production?

Vicki Weinberg:

Were they, or did they have to shut down at all?

Angela Chick:

I was, I was lucky all my product.

Angela Chick:

All my suppliers stayed in production throughout.

Angela Chick:

There were extended lead times.

Angela Chick:

Um, as staff were spread out physically.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Um, but it, it managed, it ended up working out okay.

Angela Chick:

Because I think everyone was a lot more understanding that there were so many

Angela Chick:

things that were out of people's control.

Angela Chick:

So all, so there were a few times I had to extend lead times or put

Angela Chick:

something out of stock for a while.

Angela Chick:

Uh, but it ended up being okay for the most part.

Angela Chick:

I wasn't too affected.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's good.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think you're right there at that time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Like that was the case for.

Vicki Weinberg:

I wanna say 99% of businesses, but probably all where everyone was

Vicki Weinberg:

affected in some way, whether it's supply or logistics or whatever

Vicki Weinberg:

it was um, because everything was just so stretched, wasn't it?

Angela Chick:

Absolutely.

Angela Chick:

It was, uh, it was a wild time.

Vicki Weinberg:

It was.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I just out of curiosity.

Vicki Weinberg:

So when you, so you mentioned, first of all, you were using somewhere to

Vicki Weinberg:

screen print your products and then obviously you moved to stationery.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, how did you go about finding people to produce your products?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because also you have your pins as well, so it's not like they

Vicki Weinberg:

were being made in one place.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what was that process like?

Angela Chick:

It takes a lot of research, um, for small business

Angela Chick:

owners that make products.

Angela Chick:

I think there's, there's always going to be people that say, oh, well,

Angela Chick:

where, where do you get this made?

Angela Chick:

Where do you get that made?

Angela Chick:

And it's taken me like years and years of researching to find suppliers

Angela Chick:

that work for me that can do with my designs, what I need them to do.

Angela Chick:

And it, it's not gonna be the same for everyone.

Angela Chick:

It's also cost me quite a bit of money to do all that learning.

Angela Chick:

You know, when you have to place a minimum order of say 200, 500 products

Angela Chick:

with a new supplier without seeing a sample, it gets pretty scary.

Angela Chick:

Um, but yeah, just lots of trial and error.

Angela Chick:

And then once I found the ones that worked I've, I've stuck with them as best I can.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that all makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for that.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

It does take a while to find the right people to work with.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I guess it's not only, well, it is obviously it's a

Vicki Weinberg:

lot to do with the quantity of the products as a massive part.

Vicki Weinberg:

Then it's also the relationship as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

And can you work together?

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think that's something that people sometimes don't think about in the

Vicki Weinberg:

outset, but hopefully this is gonna be like a really long term relationship.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, absolutely.

Angela Chick:

I think the more that you work with a supplier, the more they understand

Angela Chick:

your needs, um, the more that you understand how each of you works,

Angela Chick:

you know, it works both ways.

Angela Chick:

I think, um, I find it really helpful.

Angela Chick:

The, the longer I've worked with certain suppliers, you just know what to expect

Angela Chick:

and you know, you're not gonna be disappointed when the product arrives, you

Angela Chick:

know, you're most importantly, you know, your customer's not gonna be disappointed.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's also a huge thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and let's just change subjects for a while if that's okay.Angela,.

Vicki Weinberg:

Let's talk a little bit about wholesaling.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm really keen to speak to you about that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, can you share with us sort of how and why you got started

Vicki Weinberg:

wholesaling your products?

Angela Chick:

Absolutely.

Angela Chick:

So, um, when it got to a point and I was selling on Not On The High

Angela Chick:

Street, Etsy, my own website, as well as licensing to a few companies and.

Vicki Weinberg:

Can I just ask, sorry, Angela.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sorry to interupt you there, but what does licensing mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm sorry if I'm asking silly questions, but.

Angela Chick:

No, that's absolutely fine.

Angela Chick:

Um, I don't want to take for granted.

Angela Chick:

I kind of just take for granted that people know the language of the

Angela Chick:

industry, but not everybody does.

Angela Chick:

So, uh, with licensing, um, a company will come to me and they

Angela Chick:

will say, okay, we want this design, this design, this design.

Angela Chick:

We'll then, um, work to a contract that says they are allowed to use this design

Angela Chick:

in this way and this way and this way.

Angela Chick:

And that is it.

Angela Chick:

And this is the cost to use that design only in the way

Angela Chick:

specified for this length of time.

Angela Chick:

So they're not buying the copyright.

Angela Chick:

They're not allowed to say, um, uh, so a couple companies I work with are

Angela Chick:

Moon Pig and Thoughtful and Scribbler and I'll have different designs

Angela Chick:

with them because obviously they're all competing against each other.

Angela Chick:

But if I have designs on Moon Pig, that nobody can get anywhere else and I have

Angela Chick:

designs on Scribblers that nobody can get anywhere else and designs on Thoughtful,

Angela Chick:

um, that obviously works better for them.

Angela Chick:

And it works better for me.

Angela Chick:

So I will agree with them that they can use that card

Angela Chick:

design and sell it as a card.

Angela Chick:

So they can't then take that design and put it onto a t-shirt or put

Angela Chick:

it onto a mug or anything else.

Angela Chick:

They can only use it in the way specified.

Angela Chick:

And then I provide the artwork.

Angela Chick:

I, I sit back and then I, I get a paycheck every, well, it depends

Angela Chick:

on if it's quarterly or monthly, uh, for all the, all of the sales

Angela Chick:

through those licensed artworks.

Vicki Weinberg:

Right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

And thank you for explaining that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Becauuse I wasn't sure exactly what that meant.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

That sounds like a really smart way of doing things.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I guess, um, other than obviously coming up with the designs and making

Vicki Weinberg:

sure the legal things are in place, you can, after that, sit back because it's

Vicki Weinberg:

down to them to actually make the sales, print the cards and all of that side.

Angela Chick:

The thing I like best about, well, there's a, there's a lot

Angela Chick:

of things that are very attractive.

Angela Chick:

Um, when it comes to licensing, first of all, I don't have to hold the stock.

Angela Chick:

So, um, I have a packing room that's full of products for me to send to my

Angela Chick:

customers that order on my website or through Etsy or Not On The High Street.

Angela Chick:

Um, but I don't have to hold all the stock of those other designs.

Angela Chick:

It also means that I get to focus on doing the thing that I thought I would be doing

Angela Chick:

more of as someone running a creative business, which was, I actually get to

Angela Chick:

do the illustration and the design work.

Angela Chick:

Uh it's, it's pretty surprising how little of that I spend my time doing

Angela Chick:

as someone who calls themselves an illustrator, I don't just get around.

Angela Chick:

I, I don't just get to sit around and draw pictures all day.

Angela Chick:

Most of what I do is admin.

Angela Chick:

So when it comes to licensing for me, it's just, it's so nice to work in that way

Angela Chick:

because I get to do the fun bit and then hand over the rest of it to someone else.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes total sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I actually didn't think about that.

Vicki Weinberg:

The fact that, yes, I guess once you've done a new illustration, I guess this is

Vicki Weinberg:

after that's probably the fun bit, but probably presumably like the shortest

Vicki Weinberg:

amount of time, because then you've got to do all the things in terms of getting it

Vicki Weinberg:

put onto products and uploaded to websites and yeah into production and yeah, I'm

Vicki Weinberg:

guessing the illustration is probably a tiny part of what you do in reality.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

It's, it's pretty shocking how little of it I get to do.

Angela Chick:

I thought that, you know, I think when I first went into it, I sort of

Angela Chick:

romanticized the idea of like, oh, I'm just gonna get to sit at home in my

Angela Chick:

pyjamas, drawing all day and i, I know that loads of people can work that way.

Angela Chick:

I am not one of those people I have to get up.

Angela Chick:

I get up very early and I have to get dressed and get, get my head in the game.

Angela Chick:

Um, mostly because I'm looking at a lot of spreadsheets and emails

Angela Chick:

throughout a day instead of drawing.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, oh, well, thank you for explaining all of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

If, if you don't mind, let's get, because I re I did really interrupt you, but I'm

Vicki Weinberg:

glad I did because that's so interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so yeah, forgive the interruption.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so you were just talking about wholesaling.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you were saying that you started licensing your products first.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

So, um, I, I then I guess the sort of natural progression was how can I, how can

Angela Chick:

I get these in front of even more people?

Angela Chick:

Um, so I started contacting some independent boutique stores because

Angela Chick:

obviously if I'm spending as much time as I was packing up individual

Angela Chick:

orders to individual customers, If I could spend a similar amount

Angela Chick:

of time packing up bulk orders.

Angela Chick:

Now, obviously with wholesale, you make less money on it, but you're

Angela Chick:

selling a big chunk at one time.

Angela Chick:

So I wanted to get myself out there and I started, I, I started

Angela Chick:

with just a few, very, very small independent stores and it was great.

Angela Chick:

It was, it was so exciting.

Angela Chick:

You know, I, I worked through all the rules of wholesale that I

Angela Chick:

don't know how most people learn, but it's, it's something that they

Angela Chick:

just don't teach you obviously.

Angela Chick:

Um, and it's kind of different for different industries as well and different

Angela Chick:

products as to, you know, what kind of discount people will expect, what kind

Angela Chick:

of minimum order you should charge.

Angela Chick:

And it's a lot to get your head around.

Angela Chick:

So I thought that, um, I would sign up to do a trade show so I could get myself

Angela Chick:

in front of as many buyers as possible.

Angela Chick:

It was, um, I did Top Drawer.

Angela Chick:

I can't remember which year it was.

Angela Chick:

That was my first one.

Angela Chick:

I was an absolute mess.

Angela Chick:

It, it totally broke me.

Angela Chick:

Um, mentally and physically and financially.

Angela Chick:

I just didn't understand at the time quite what went into a trade show and,

Angela Chick:

you know, three, four days, however long the show is, standing on your

Angela Chick:

feet, putting your best face forward.

Angela Chick:

Um, talking to people all day, uh, it gets exhausting and I'm quite

Angela Chick:

introverted most of the time.

Angela Chick:

Well around people that I don't know, especially once you get to know me, it's

Angela Chick:

a different story, but, um, it was just so draining and I had sort of thought,

Angela Chick:

oh yeah, I'm gonna walk out of here.

Angela Chick:

And I'm gonna have these big contracts with these big stores, you know?

Angela Chick:

And I can remember how it would feel on the floor of the trade show when

Angela Chick:

like the big stores would walk past.

Angela Chick:

You'd be like, oh my God, that's the buyer from, you know, Paperchase, John

Angela Chick:

Lewis, any of the big ones that you'd see, you'd just get, it would be so exciting.

Angela Chick:

And you could sort of see everyone with their pick me face on.

Angela Chick:

And, and, um, I, I walked out of that first show.

Angela Chick:

I think, I think I got one order for like a couple hundred pounds for a

Angela Chick:

show that cost me like a few grand.

Angela Chick:

So it's like, oh, well, there we go..

Angela Chick:

That wasn't quite what I expected, but, uh, it, it got me,

Angela Chick:

firstmI learned a lot from it.

Angela Chick:

First of all, um, nothing quite like standing at a trade show, talking

Angela Chick:

to a potential customer and then telling you that your prices don't

Angela Chick:

actually work for the industry.

Angela Chick:

It's like, oh, okay.

Angela Chick:

That would've been good to know before I signed up to a trade show,.

Vicki Weinberg:

I was going to ask actually, what were some

Vicki Weinberg:

of the things that you learned?

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm, because I'm assuming you've done trade shows since, and I guess

Vicki Weinberg:

for everyone listening, who's perhaps thinking of doing trade shows.

Vicki Weinberg:

Now that they're happening again this year, um, what kind of

Vicki Weinberg:

things did you learn and what things people need to think about?

Angela Chick:

Um, I'd say most importantly is to make sure you

Angela Chick:

choose a show that is definitely going to have your target audience.

Angela Chick:

I didn't have a great time.

Angela Chick:

There's there's been shows they've been really hit or miss.

Angela Chick:

I've done some really incredible shows.

Angela Chick:

Uh, I've done some absolutely terrible ones where, you know, you see you look

Angela Chick:

up and down the aisles of the show and there's just no one, there's no buyers

Angela Chick:

walking around yet on the social media shows are posting 'oh, it's a really busy

Angela Chick:

day here' and in insert trade show here, and you're looking around thinking, am

Angela Chick:

I somewhere, am I in the wrong place?

Angela Chick:

But, um, it's, it's a great opportunity to go and meet other people in your industry.

Angela Chick:

You know, for me, I work from home on my own five days a week.

Angela Chick:

I don't have any, I don't have any colleagues to talk to at the water

Angela Chick:

cooler or while the kettle boils and, um, it can get kind of lonely.

Angela Chick:

So being in a position where all of a sudden, all of these names that

Angela Chick:

you recognize from maybe Instagram or wherever you may TikTok these days.

Angela Chick:

I guess, um, all of a sudden you get to meet these people and put faces to names

Angela Chick:

and, and it's, it's really quite nice.

Angela Chick:

Um, you get to learn that, although, you know, we're all in competition,

Angela Chick:

everybody's pretty friendly.

Angela Chick:

And, uh, you know, we had great times.

Angela Chick:

We go out for meals after the shows and talk about how it had been

Angela Chick:

and, and everyone would catch up.

Angela Chick:

So you kind of get a nice social element as well.

Angela Chick:

Um, I also, I think I would, I would, I tried to do things as

Angela Chick:

cheaply as I possibly could.

Angela Chick:

Every time I did a show and I think I'd stick with that, do it as cheap as

Angela Chick:

possible, but make sure it looks good.

Angela Chick:

Because cheap can look really, really bad and it can fail quite miserably.

Angela Chick:

Um, but yeah.

Angela Chick:

Also take breaks and drink lots of water.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh.

Vicki Weinberg:

Or really good advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

So in terms of how it works, do you get like a booth or something that

Vicki Weinberg:

you need to fill or does it vary?

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Most of them you book a space sort of by square meterage.

Angela Chick:

So, um, you know, larger companies will have larger booths obviously.

Angela Chick:

Um, but you can have, so at Progressive Greetings Live, which is the greetings

Angela Chick:

card industry specific show, um, I think you could have as small as

Angela Chick:

a two by one meter booth and some trade shows have um, sections for

Angela Chick:

companies who are just starting out.

Angela Chick:

So you'll sort of be in a middle area, uh, with a small sort of plinth almost.

Angela Chick:

Um, and those are quite good for if you are just getting started and

Angela Chick:

you want to, you want to dip your toe in without costing a fortune.

Angela Chick:

I think a lot of people, if it's your first show and you're new to the

Angela Chick:

industry, definitely, definitely go for the new area, the newbie area,

Angela Chick:

because lots of buyers will go straight there because they want to see what's

Angela Chick:

new and what's coming up, you know?

Angela Chick:

So it's a great place to be if you want to get seen by as many people as possible.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also guess that if you're starting out and you know, your portfolio is maybe

Vicki Weinberg:

still fairly small, it makes sense to have a smaller space as well because what you

Vicki Weinberg:

don't want is to have a bigger area and um, it to look quite sparse, because that

Vicki Weinberg:

probably doesn't give a great impression.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, definitely.

Angela Chick:

I think as well, I've also gone the other way and I've probably overfilled,

Angela Chick:

you know, at times when I should have booked maybe like a four by one space,

Angela Chick:

I went for a two by one or a three by one and I have hundreds of card

Angela Chick:

designs and um, I think, yeah, I've probably gone the other way as well.

Angela Chick:

So you want to find that nice balance where people can get a good

Angela Chick:

idea of what you're showcasing, but also not be overwhelmed.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you mentioned earlier that you obviously need to be on top of your

Vicki Weinberg:

figures and things as well before turning.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, it's, uh, I cannot stress how embarrassing

Angela Chick:

it is to be asked about figures that you had tried to remember.

Angela Chick:

I guess it's a bit like when they go on Dragons' Den and they

Angela Chick:

just don't know their numbers.

Angela Chick:

Um, you, you know, you might get flustered, but I ended up

Angela Chick:

having just like cheat sheets.

Angela Chick:

I mean, now it's different.

Angela Chick:

I, I know my product line.

Angela Chick:

I've, but you know, going into a show where I had, I can't remember how

Angela Chick:

many new products I was launching and I, I just couldn't, I'm not much

Angela Chick:

of a numbers person and I, I just couldn't get the numbers in my head.

Angela Chick:

So I was, I was really flustered, really struggling, stumbling over my

Angela Chick:

words, just feeling really overwhelmed as this buyer, just looking at me

Angela Chick:

like uh, you should surely know this.

Angela Chick:

I'm just thinking, oh no, but there's like 20 new things that I just don't know yet.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I take it.

Vicki Weinberg:

It doesn't matter if you have it written down, surely they don't expect you to

Vicki Weinberg:

know everything off the top of your head.

Angela Chick:

No, no.

Angela Chick:

And when I had help on a stand, I had it written down for them anyway, and

Angela Chick:

it's, it's, it's pretty understandable.

Angela Chick:

You know, you can just hand them a price list as well, which is

Angela Chick:

obviously the easiest way to do it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's, that's re that's a really good tip actualy.

Vicki Weinberg:

So you can have some price lists printed up ready.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

A lot of buyers will ask for catalogues and price lists.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's good to know.

Vicki Weinberg:

So after that first experience at Top Drawer, what happened then?

Angela Chick:

Well, um, I tried desperately to follow up some of

Angela Chick:

the contacts I had made at the show.

Angela Chick:

Um, I then realized that maybe that wasn't the show for me at the time.

Angela Chick:

I think it would be different if I went back now for many, many reasons.

Angela Chick:

Um, but I, then I then discovered PG live, uh, and it was, it was smaller.

Angela Chick:

It was, it seemed much more friendly.

Angela Chick:

Like you, you spoke to the people who organized it, you saw them

Angela Chick:

around while you were setting up.

Angela Chick:

It was a much different atmosphere, plus like they had, you know, all the

Angela Chick:

buyers loved it because they provided lunch and there was a party on the first

Angela Chick:

night where they gave you free drinks.

Angela Chick:

And, um, it just seemed a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Angela Chick:

Um, so I did, I did a few years worth of that and, uh, and I was

Angela Chick:

growing my wholesale customers more and more each time.

Angela Chick:

And then you'd also have people who had seen you at the show who maybe

Angela Chick:

weren't ready to buy then, but then they come to you sort of, you know,

Angela Chick:

six months later and say, oh, I don't, I don't know if you remember,

Angela Chick:

I saw you at PG Live back in June.

Angela Chick:

And, um, it, it got to a point where it was becoming quite a good

Angela Chick:

chunk of my business, which I had, I had decided I wanted to do that.

Angela Chick:

I wanted to focus on growing wholesale and, um, licensing because of the

Angela Chick:

fact that it would allow me to have basically more income for less work.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I guess more time to be creative as well

Vicki Weinberg:

and do what you actually enjoy.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, absolutely.

Angela Chick:

The less time I was spending stuffing envelopes.

Angela Chick:

And I mean, at the time I had my, I used to do all my card folding my

Angela Chick:

cards used to come to me flat and then I'd have to fold them and pack them.

Angela Chick:

And then that got too much for me.

Angela Chick:

And I realized, well, I'm, I'm not adding any value to this.

Angela Chick:

This is busy work, fine.

Angela Chick:

You can put on Netflix and watch something while you're doing it.

Angela Chick:

But, um, it was taking me away from the things I really wanted to be doing.

Angela Chick:

And I think that as I grow, I want to do less of those things and

Angela Chick:

more of the things that I know I enjoy and that I do add value to.

Angela Chick:

I want to be spending my time designing and coming up with new products, not,

Angela Chick:

not necessarily doing all of the product prep and the, the more boring stuff.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And presumably you can get your cards come to you folded, for example,

Vicki Weinberg:

that's something your printer can do.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

I, um, I swapped suppliers.

Angela Chick:

Uh, once I started doing trade shows, I changed suppliers to a more

Angela Chick:

professional grading card supplier.

Angela Chick:

I mean, the printer I was using in the early days, they were great, but I was

Angela Chick:

using them because they were a local printer to me and they could do greeting

Angela Chick:

cards, but it wasn't like, that was what they, that wasn't their focus.

Angela Chick:

So it wasn't necessarily their strong point.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I understand.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

So while we're talking about wholesaling, do you mind talking a bit

Vicki Weinberg:

about the experience you've had with Paperchase and you can share as little

Vicki Weinberg:

or as much as you want about this.

Vicki Weinberg:

I just think it'd be good to, um, get well for many reasons, as people will say, just

Vicki Weinberg:

to get the story out there, first of all.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, absolutely.

Angela Chick:

So, um, I, I know I mentioned when I talked about trade shows that

Angela Chick:

when the big buyers would come by, there would almost just be like

Angela Chick:

a hush over everyone at the show.

Angela Chick:

You know, we'd go from like talking and telling each other jokes to, oh,

Angela Chick:

here come the here, come the big guys.

Angela Chick:

We need to really behave and smile nicely.

Angela Chick:

And, um, and the greeting card association actually did some pitching

Angela Chick:

events as well, where you could, it was like a speed dating with buyers

Angela Chick:

kind of situation where, you know, you, you paid, you went to this event

Angela Chick:

that you could speak to other buyers.

Angela Chick:

Um, I think you got, yeah, you got the chance to speak to

Angela Chick:

three and they would choose you.

Angela Chick:

So you'd sort of sit there.

Angela Chick:

It was like a mini trade show.

Angela Chick:

You'd sit there with your cards out.

Angela Chick:

And each time, you know, you, you go into these, you sort of set your goals.

Angela Chick:

So you've got, you know, your, A, B and C goals.

Angela Chick:

And it was always like, get, get Paperchase, get Paperchase, like

Angela Chick:

obviously that's, that's the greeting card store in the UK, you know,

Angela Chick:

you wanna, you wanna be in there.

Angela Chick:

Um, I was, I was supplying another big company at the time.

Angela Chick:

Scribbler, and I thought, okay, they've been great to work with.

Angela Chick:

I really wanna work with Paperchase as well, and nothing ever came of any

Angela Chick:

of the shows or the pitching events.

Angela Chick:But then in early:Angela Chick:

they loved my products and they really wanted to get me into their stores.

Angela Chick:

Now this was pre lock down and.

Angela Chick:you know, it was very early:Angela Chick:

So, um, we started working together.

Angela Chick:

They said they wanted to do a focus on my thinking of you cards.

Angela Chick:

So they chose a selection of my designs that were nice and bright and colorful

Angela Chick:

and all about friendship and keeping in touch and making people feel good,

Angela Chick:

spreading joy as their tagline says.

Angela Chick:Um, so throughout:Angela Chick:

oh my goodness, this is it.

Angela Chick:

I'm now in Paperchase.

Angela Chick:

This is like my dreams, since I was in university, you know, when I'd go shopping

Angela Chick:

in Paperchase and look at all of this cool stationery and be like, oh wow.

Angela Chick:

Maybe one day.

Angela Chick:

But I was, I was in there and I was doing really well.

Angela Chick:

They were placing loads of orders with me.

Angela Chick:

Um, and the first few invoices they paid now, obviously with what was going on in

Angela Chick:

2020 loads of stores were having to close and, um, struggling with that quite a bit.

Angela Chick:

Paperchase had quite a good online platform.

Angela Chick:

Um, so, you know, they were still able to sell, but towards the end of

Angela Chick:

2020, they stopped paying my invoices.

Angela Chick:

And I chased these up.

Angela Chick:

Now the first time that some of them weren't paid, I, I chased

Angela Chick:

them up and I chased them up.

Angela Chick:

Didn't hear anything.

Angela Chick:

Chased up the buyer I was working with.

Angela Chick:

Uh, they went on to chase the accountant and then magically, I was paid.

Angela Chick:

The next ones I chased up.

Angela Chick:

It didn't go so well.

Angela Chick:

Um, at this point I was owed 22,000 and a few hundred.

Angela Chick:

So quite a bit of money, big chunk of money.

Angela Chick:

Um, and no matter how much I chased or however many payment

Angela Chick:

reminders I sent, they just weren't, they weren't acknowledging me.

Angela Chick:

They weren't, they weren't giving me anything back.

Angela Chick:

It was like I had being ghosted by the entire accounting

Angela Chick:

department and buying team.

Angela Chick:So, um, December,:Angela Chick:

sort of recover from that crazy year.

Angela Chick:

And my first day back in the office.

Angela Chick:

And I, I read a news article that Paperchase are going into administration.

Angela Chick:

Um, I didn't really know what that meant for me at the time.

Angela Chick:

So I started researching and I soon realized what kind of an issue

Angela Chick:

that was going to be for me, but I hadn't completely lost hope.

Angela Chick:

So I, uh, I had a call scheduled with, um, a couple people from Paperchase, and I was

Angela Chick:

offered of the more than 22,000 pounds, I was offered, I was, I was owed, sorry.

Angela Chick:

I was offered, um, 15%, which was conditional on me going

Angela Chick:

forward, working with them.

Angela Chick:

So basically if I would agree to put myself at risk of the

Angela Chick:

same thing happening over again.

Angela Chick:

I couldn't afford that.

Angela Chick:

I was already really struggling because I had had to pay my suppliers ages ago.

Angela Chick:

You know, they had, um, very generous payment terms.

Angela Chick:

So I was already sort of two months out of pocket from the orders they had placed.

Angela Chick:

When their invoices would come due, the invoices which they weren't paying.

Angela Chick:

So I decided I couldn't, I absolutely could not go forward

Angela Chick:

and work with them again.

Angela Chick:

Um, I, I just couldn't trust that this wouldn't happen again.

Angela Chick:

And they told me that the 15% they were offering me, which was conditional on

Angela Chick:

me, giving them more credit, um, extended payment terms, uh, was a goodwill gesture,

Angela Chick:

which that felt like a slap in the face.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Um, I, I thought goodwill, do you, do you know what goodwill means?

Angela Chick:

Like I'm a small business that you owe 22,000 pounds to.

Angela Chick:

Um, and, uh, so we started the administration process.

Angela Chick:

And so what that meant is, um, basically they got bought by another

Angela Chick:company at the end of January:Angela Chick:

Uh, but they were still able to continue trading throughout this,

Angela Chick:

under the name of Paperchase.

Angela Chick:

So on paper, their business name changed.

Angela Chick:

So legally their debts go down with the old company and the new company

Angela Chick:

doesn't owe those small businesses, any money, which is it's shocking.

Angela Chick:

Because there, there is no law to support small businesses in this situation.

Angela Chick:And I knew that throughout:Angela Chick:

online, products they had not paid for.

Angela Chick:

Um um, they were still selling them in store because I would have friends message

Angela Chick:

me pictures and be like, oh look, I found you in Paperchase, which it was really

Angela Chick:

hard because you know, thank you obviously for supporting me and buying my cards.

Angela Chick:

But uh, in future, do you think you could probably do it from somewhere?

Angela Chick:

That's going give me some.

Angela Chick:

So I, I did a social media post about it, and I didn't mention

Angela Chick:

how much money I was owed.

Angela Chick:

I just mentioned that they owed me money and I was really struggling.

Angela Chick:

And, um, loads of people didn't even know that they had gone into

Angela Chick:

administration because they can, you know, nothing changed to their customers.

Angela Chick:

Um, so fast forward a year, and we still haven't seen any of that money.

Angela Chick:

Um, where, where would are called unsecured creditors?

Angela Chick:

I say we, because it's myself and quite a few other small businesses.

Angela Chick:

So there's, um, Jelly Armchair, Hole In My Pocket, um,

Angela Chick:

Dandelion Stationery, Sarah Ray.

Angela Chick:

There's absolutely loads of us.

Angela Chick:

And I decided that, I didn't know.

Angela Chick:

Well, I knew that other small businesses would've been owed money.

Angela Chick:

I didn't know how much, um, when, when I decided to post about it, they started

Angela Chick:

coming forward and my post went as viral as any post has gone for me on Instagram.

Angela Chick:

And suddenly I had all of these people reaching out saying that

Angela Chick:

they were owed money as well.

Angela Chick:

And I thought, oh my goodness, this is, this is absolutely horrible.

Angela Chick:

This is between just a handful being owed that many people, that, that

Angela Chick:

much money from that few people.

Angela Chick:

And that's not even all of us.

Angela Chick:

Um, we've been really lucky since, well, I say really lucky.

Angela Chick:

It's not really the kind of reason you want to be, um, getting press

Angela Chick:

because you're owed so much money.

Angela Chick:

But, um, the story was picked up by Forbes magazine, The Guardian,

Angela Chick:

The Observer, we did a, um, radio show with BBC radio Scotland.

Angela Chick:

And so it's getting a lot of press.

Angela Chick:

There's a lot of people talking about boycotting Paperchase.

Angela Chick:

Um, and I mean, I know that we probably won't see that money.

Angela Chick:

People suggested to us to go get our stock back.

Angela Chick:

Well, we can't, this was back.

Angela Chick:en't sent them anything since:Angela Chick:

Like they don't have any of my stock.

Angela Chick:

They've sold it.

Angela Chick:

They've got the money that they made from my stock.

Angela Chick:

Um, but you know, as unsecured creditors, we sit at the very bottom of, uh, of a

Angela Chick:

big pile of people who are all owed money.

Angela Chick:

And we might see 2%, but who knows when, because it keeps getting

Angela Chick:

delayed and the administration process takes such a long time.

Angela Chick:

But now, um, It looks like they're the new buyers are selling the company.

Angela Chick:

So it's been doing that well that they're able to sell it on again, but

Angela Chick:

I'm hoping that by sharing the story, I can help other small businesses who

Angela Chick:

might get into that same situation to sort of know what the risks are.

Angela Chick:

I just didn't really, I didn't really know.

Angela Chick:

I didn't see it coming.

Angela Chick:

Some of the other suppliers saw it coming because they had had, um,

Angela Chick:

they had had emails from them saying that they had to pause payments.

Angela Chick:

Um, you know, they sort of knew that something was going wrong basically,

Angela Chick:

but unfortunately we're just all out of pocket and might not get to see any of it.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's horrible.

Vicki Weinberg:

And thank you for sharing that.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm so sorry.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's happened to you and to everyone else involved.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's just shocking that and have, um, out of interest because I mean,

Vicki Weinberg:

I know you mentioned there's been a lot of publicity, um, that I think I

Vicki Weinberg:

actually became aware of you, Angela, because I saw your post on this and

Vicki Weinberg:

all the businesses had commented on it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And then I saw the Holly Tucker did a post as well, referencing it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so it's obviously had lots of publicity, have Paperchase remained

Vicki Weinberg:

quiet throughout the whole thing?

Vicki Weinberg:

Have they commented or done anything at all?

Angela Chick:

Uh, every, every article that has been written,

Angela Chick:

they've all tried to get them to comment and they've declined.

Angela Chick:

Um, and.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

You see so many on their Instagram, they'll post up, they'll do

Angela Chick:

some sort of cheerful post about spreading kindness or whatever.

Angela Chick:

And you just see so many people commenting.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

Pay your suppliers, pay your suppliers.

Angela Chick:

Why don't you pay your suppliers?

Angela Chick:

Why don't you spread some kindness to the suppliers you owe so much money.

Angela Chick:

Um, and it just, it gets completely ignored.

Angela Chick:

You know, you can see them replying to, I know that the, I know whoever's in charge

Angela Chick:

of their social media is not the CEO.

Angela Chick:

So, you know, I'm not holding them responsible here, but, um,

Angela Chick:

yeah, they just don't seem to be able to get any sort of comment.

Angela Chick:

So yeah.

Angela Chick:

Clearly their strategy is let's ignore it and hope it goes away.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, absolutely.

Angela Chick:

They'll quiet down.

Angela Chick:

They'll quiet down.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, well I'm so sorry again, that this has happened to you

Vicki Weinberg:

and I really hope it does get resolved.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, yeah, I don't know if it will, but I hope it does.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's just, yeah, it's awful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Just seeing small businesses getting treated like this.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean anyone or any size business getting treated badly, but

Vicki Weinberg:

particularly small businesses.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and particularly when they're still trading and presumably have enough

Vicki Weinberg:

money to pay everyone 10 times over.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I don't know that I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm making a big assumption there, but, um, I

Vicki Weinberg:

would say it probably wouldn't be an issue to just clear all your debts with it, but.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, I mean, that's what I would think.

Angela Chick:

I think that if a company is successful enough to be opening new stores and

Angela Chick:

refurbishing loads of stores, um, yeah, they're probably, I mean, the

Angela Chick:

thing is it's pocket change to them.

Angela Chick:

Um, they, they wouldn't notice it.

Angela Chick:

And I guess in a way that's maybe why they don't see why it's such a big deal.

Angela Chick:

I don't know, but it just doesn't sit right with me that, um, going into

Angela Chick:

administration seems to be a bit of a, it can just hit a reset button

Angela Chick:

and I know that companies have used it in that sort of way in the past.

Angela Chick:

And this seems to be what's happening as they just say, well, you know, we're

Angela Chick:

done, we don't want to pay these debts.

Angela Chick:

So we'll just, uh, oh no, go into administration.

Angela Chick:

And then, oh, magically, we're fine.

Angela Chick:

And look at this, look at this new company, that's the same company.

Angela Chick:

It's just, it's really dodgy.

Vicki Weinberg:

It is.

Vicki Weinberg:

And has it changed how you approach working with other companies now at all?

Angela Chick:

Yeah, I think I'm a lot more apprehensive.

Angela Chick:

Um, I mean, if you look deep enough into the terms and conditions of working with

Angela Chick:

a lot of larger companies, it's really hard for a small business to do and to

Angela Chick:

make money, which sounds ridiculous.

Angela Chick:

But, um, because they, they drive you down on price so much, and sometimes

Angela Chick:

they want to do sale or return.

Angela Chick:

So you may end up sending them thousands of cards that if they don't

Angela Chick:

sell, they send them back to you.

Angela Chick:

Well, what are you going to do?

Angela Chick:

I mean, obviously you'll sell them as well, but it's

Angela Chick:

going to take a lot of time.

Angela Chick:

You've got to store them somewhere.

Angela Chick:

It's um, it's, it's just, I think it's made me a bit more cynical, less

Angela Chick:

starstruck, more cynical, I think.

Angela Chick:

And it just seems crazy to me that the terms and everything working, you

Angela Chick:

know, for a large company are worse.

Angela Chick:

And for a small boutique shop, let's say who presumably have maybe

Angela Chick:

not more overheads, but you know, they're also a small business.

Angela Chick:

Um, yeah, it's, it's like to be really strange that small businesses can be so

Angela Chick:

much more generous with their terms and the margins you know, everything, um, when

Angela Chick:

they're also a small business, whereas the large businesses, you kind of think

Angela Chick:

they could afford to do that, offer them.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Maybe that's why they're massive companies.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

I mean, I think I've, I've never had any issues with my

Angela Chick:

small business customers paying.

Angela Chick:

I think, because they're just, they're closer to it.

Angela Chick:

They, they may be a one or two person show as well.

Angela Chick:

And, and they understand, you know, I've through sharing my story about this.

Angela Chick:

I've heard stories of sh um, small stores that have closed down and the owners of

Angela Chick:

those stores have paid personally out of their pocket to make sure that all

Angela Chick:

their suppliers are paid and it might be taking longer, but, you know, month by

Angela Chick:

month, they're working on those debts.

Angela Chick:

So that those small businesses that supplied them, aren't out of pocket.

Angela Chick:

And you just see the, you see the difference so much more it's I don't wanna

Angela Chick:

say it's more human, but in a way, I think when it's one person working with one

Angela Chick:

other person, you know, there's a stronger relationship, there's more accountability.

Angela Chick:

And I think there's just a lot more kindness and warmth.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I know what you mean when you say that more human, because when

Vicki Weinberg:

you were talking, I was thinking, I think the difference probably is that you're

Vicki Weinberg:

dealing with a person, not a company.

Vicki Weinberg:

So even if that person is, has a business is a, is their

Vicki Weinberg:

business, they're still a person.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I think that's, I think with larger companies, I guess even if

Vicki Weinberg:

you have a relationship with a buyer or somebody in that company, they're

Vicki Weinberg:

part of like a much bigger thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so maybe there's maybe that's the difference.

Angela Chick:

Yeah.

Angela Chick:

I think you can definitely tell from my experience anyway, you can

Angela Chick:

definitely tell, I mean, this, the bigger businesses that I really like

Angela Chick:

working with, I like working with them because they have hung onto that.

Angela Chick:

Um, you still feel as though you have a relationship with someone and

Angela Chick:

you know who your point of contact is with something, if something

Angela Chick:

goes wrong, but yeah, in, in other experiences it's been very different.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I guess relationships are just the key

Vicki Weinberg:

to all of this, aren't they?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, definitely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so much for sharing that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I know it must be really hard to talk about.

Vicki Weinberg:

And again, so sorry, this happened to so many people.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I wasn't goning to say let's end on a higher note.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know if it will be or not, but let's see if I was going

Vicki Weinberg:

to ask you, if you could please share your number one piece of

Vicki Weinberg:

advice for other product creators.

Angela Chick:

I think that my, my advice I would give to other

Angela Chick:

product creators is to be selfish.

Angela Chick:

Um, um, all of my products that have been my best sellers have been things

Angela Chick:

that I've really wanted to make.

Angela Chick:

So, you know, there's trend guides that come out.

Angela Chick:

All the time.

Angela Chick:

And if you want, you can follow what's in those.

Angela Chick:

You can, you can do whatever works for you, but for me, anytime I've

Angela Chick:

had something that I've gone 'Ooh, I don't know, is it going to work?

Angela Chick:

I really, really, really want to make it'.

Angela Chick:

I think, I think that makes it a more authentic product.

Angela Chick:

Um, the more personal my products are to me, the better sellers they've been, the

Angela Chick:

more people they've been able to help.

Angela Chick:

So I think, um, be as authentic as possible and be selfish and make what

Angela Chick:

you want to make, because if you're 100% behind it and you're really

Angela Chick:

passionate about it, then I think other people are going to catch onto that.

Angela Chick:

And they're gonna be able to tell that it comes from a place

Angela Chick:

of authenticity and passion.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also guess that if you're making a product that you really like other

Vicki Weinberg:

people, like you will really like it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Whereas I suppose if you're trying to do something to appeal to the mass

Vicki Weinberg:

market, let's say not that there's anything wrong with that, but what

Vicki Weinberg:

do they say if you're talking to everyone you're not talking to anyone?

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that the same?

Vicki Weinberg:

I may, yeah, I'm good at getting quotes wrong, but I think that's the saying, but

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it makes sense, makes sense that the people who resonate with you and your

Vicki Weinberg:

products really like, I really, um, when I looked in your website, I mentioned,

Vicki Weinberg:

I spent ages looking at them because I'm also a runner and you have like your

Vicki Weinberg:

little running pins and cards and stuff.

Vicki Weinberg:

So it all really resonated with me because that's what I like too.

Vicki Weinberg:

So.

Angela Chick:

Yeah, I think, um, and, and again, that's a very selfish product.

Angela Chick:

I, I wanted to do that because I, I run a lot.

Angela Chick:

Uh, it's a big passion of mine and um, I don't really like doing events much,

Angela Chick:

so I thought, well, what would about the people who want to run and want some,

Angela Chick:

something to mark their achievement, but maybe not a medal from an event.

Angela Chick:

So that was, uh, that was what inspired those.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I think that's a great idea because

Vicki Weinberg:

yeah, I'm exactly the same.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Really resonated.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so, so much again for everything that

Vicki Weinberg:

you've shared with us today.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah, just thank you.

Angela Chick:

Thank you so much for having me.

Angela Chick:

It's been great and hopefully I haven't, uh, I haven't rambled too much.

Vicki Weinberg:

No, you haven't.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's been brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode, do

Vicki Weinberg:

remember that you can get the full back catalogues and lots of free resources

Vicki Weinberg:

on my website, vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it

Vicki Weinberg:

and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful.