This is a solo episode, featuring host Vicki Weinberg, giving an update on her own businesses, and sharing some big changes that she is making in 2022.
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With a New Year I thought it was a perfect time to update you on some things that are going on with me and one of my businesses, Tiny Chipmunk, which sells bamboo baby products.
With the growth of this podcast, and my consultancy business, and external elements like 2 lockdowns and Brexit, I have been making adjustments in life, which is leading to some big changes for me. Listen in to find out how I got to where I am, and why I have decided to close Tiny Chipmunk.
Listen in to hear me share:
- An introduction to my businesses (00:55)
- Why I decided to close Tiny Chipmunk (01:41)
- The amazing impact Tiny Chipmunk has had on my life (07:17)
- Why I love the consultancy part of my business (07:57)
- What the future may hold (10:36)
Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg. Hi, how are you, um, first of all, welcome back. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year period and that if you took some time off, you got a chance to relax, um, and that you didn't miss the episode that didn't come out last week too much. And thank you for coming back today. So I don't record that many, solo episodes recently, and this is two in a row, which is probably a bit of a record. Um, I don't know whether you want to hear more from just me actually, if you do, let me know. It's firstname.lastname@example.org, genuinely interested. If you'd like to hear more from just me. Um, as well as of course, all the guests that I like to feature. The reason for another solo episode is I just wanted to update you on some things that are going on with me and my businesses. So many of you will know that I have a products business. I sell bamboo baby products alongside my consultancy. That was actually the business that kickstarted all of this. Um, for those of you who've heard my story before I won't go into it in great detail, but basically when I set up my. baby, my business selling baby products, I set up a blog alongside it, sort of document what I was doing. And then on the back of that, I got lots of people asking for help and advice. And eventually that became this business. So I don't know if this will be a surprise to anyone or not. Um, but I'm going to let you know that I'm actually in the process of closing my baby products business, and I wanted to, first of all, tell you that was happening. And then also explain why. So, going back quite a way now to early 2020. So it was actually March, 2020. Um, I launched this podcast and I have to say this podcast is one of my favorite, favorite things to do. I've always loved listening to podcasts. I say always, you know, since I got into podcasts, I'm not sure if I was an early or late adopter of them, but since I discovered podcasts, I love podcasts. I love listening to podcasts. Um, and. Really felt that creating a podcast was something I could do. I was really inspired. I think I've shared this before, um, to create a podcast that focused on interviewing small business owners and those at the beginning of their journeys who are still right in it, or, you know, recently through those early stages and knew what that was like and had some really great advice for others. Um, and also speaking of experts who work predominately with small businesses, because I felt there were lots of podcasts out there speaking to people who had huge businesses. Um, but I think for them that early stages were quite a long, you know, they were quite way out and I wasn't sure if their business, if their information, while it is relevant, I feel like there's nothing more relevant really than hearing from people who were going through the same thing as you or a similar thing to you at a similar time, or they're not that much further ahead. So anyway, I launched podcast. I love the podcast, but the podcast does take time because I have to plan out episodes, um, record episodes. Um, find guests, prepare for interviews, have the interviews, edit the episodes. And this has shown us. There's a whole lot of admin that goes on. I have to say now I do have help with some of all of that. So thank you to Jenny who helps me get these episodes out, but it still does take a lot of my time and I love it. Um, and at the same time, As launching the podcast. This was March, 2020 in the UK. We went into a lockdown and went into homeschooling. Um, more and more people started shopping online, Tiny Chipmunks that's my baby brand had the best sales ever mainly helped by Amazon because back in 2020, when we were in the UK lockdown Amazon actually restricted sellers from sending products into their warehouses. And there were only certain categories that you could send in. And baby products was one of them. And I guess with, you know, the fact that high street shops were shut, um, more people as Isay shopped online and Tiny Chipmunk did really, really well for me. And I think I've mentioned this in a previous episode while I was busy homeschooling and trying to keep this business afloat and trying to get a podcast episode out every week, it was really reassuring that I was just making sales. However, on the other side of that, as more businesses sort of went online and this business, my consultancy got a lot busier because I was helping a lot more people get onto platforms like Amazon. And I really, really struggled to keep on top of it all. Um, I think I did a fairly good job, but it wasn't easy. And a lot of things did just slip away, you know, plans. I had projects, ideas just didn't happen. So I had some new products. I was hoping to launch in 2020. That didn't happen. Um, I was in the process of finding a new supplier in Turkey, which was for lots of reasons. I had a fantastic supplier in China, but I didn't particularly want to manufacture in China long term. Um, and obviously with everything going on with COVID, there were lots of production delays. Shipping costs were going up. Then there was Brexit and that all just got put to one side and then my contact on Turkey went on maternity leave and it just got left at that. And that's my fault for not being more proactive. We got to the end of 2020, which I think for all of us in various ways was tricky. And I got to the end of the year and I thought actually I've neglected Tiny Chipmunk my baby business for most of the year. Um, and it was probably down to potluck and partly the years of work that I was in already, that my products were still selling well, I'm actually still selling now, um, I feel really fortunate for that because I had honestly neglected that business at the beginning of the year, just before the pandemic. And by complete coincidence, I'd sort of changed my shipping model. So a lot of my products went into a warehouse and they were sending orders out for me from the various marketplaces that I wasselling on. And I'm really thankful that I did that before everything happened. That meant all of a sudden in a really good place to just keep fulfilling orders. Um, but I hadn't been ordering new stock. I hadn't been developing new products and yeah, I really feel that I neglected it if I'm honest. Um, and I was feeling really, really burnt out and I knew that something had to give. Um, I'd been through the thing, the same thing a few years before this, actually, when I decided to shut down my yoga business to focus on Tiny Chipmunk and this consultancy, which was really early. So some of you might know that I used to teach yoga to babies and children, and I was still running that business alongside my other two businesses. I can't remember how long it was at least a year. It was quite a long time. Anyway. And in the end I decided to walk away from that because I just couldn't sustain, or I wasn't even teaching the classes that I had teachers that were teaching for me. And I was just sort of managing the business, but it was just one thing, too many. Um, and so I went into 2021, I'm thinking, okay, I've really, haven't done much of this business and didn't feel great about. And then another lockdown in January, 2021 was the final straw. And that was when I made the decision that actually I can't do it all and something has to stop. Um, and it wasn't going to be the consultancy and it wasn't gonna be this podcast. I decided that I was going to close Tiny Chipmunk. Um, it was a really hard decision. The business is really personal to me. Um, I do feel like it's kind of the beginning of everything. Um, business-wise for me, because if I hadn't had that business, I wouldn't have the put this podcast. I wouldn't. The consultant. So I have, now I wouldn't have the experience I have on platforms like Amazon and the business is actually even named after my daughter. Um, because we used to call her a tiny chipmunk when she was little cause she was teeny with these big cheeks. Um, but I decided that actually what I really want to do is focus more on my clients and the people I can help as I still have limited time and I get so much more out of helping others that I do from selling my own products. If I'm really honest, if you, when I first launched my own range of products, I used to get really excited. Every time someone brought one or I'd see someone using one in the street and I still have that to an extent, but now I get more excited when someone I work with sells loads of their products, or they get a really good review or I see someone using their products, I'm genuinely, genuinely thrilled for them and I'm getting so much out of that. And I just, yeah, I, I genuinely love and enjoy what I do. Um, I don't know whether it's, because I've discovered a bit of a gift. I mean, I'm hope I'm good at what I do. I think maybe it's also partly because I feel like I'm part of lots of little teams, because lots of the businesses that I work with, even though they're bringing me on as an advisor, I get to know them and I get to know a team and I have lots of contact with people and I have lots of zoom calls and I just feel like I quite like the collaboration. Um, I don't feel quite as isolated as I did if I'm honest. Um, and I guess the main thing is I don't have room for two businesses. I don't think not if I also want to be there for my children who were still young and were actually a big motivator in the first place, a big part of, without almost all. The reason that I started Tiny Chipmunk was because I wanted to be able to work flexibly around my children. And yeah, I do still work flexibly around my children, but I did find, um, last year, particularly that I was working more. You know, more than I wanted to. And I just felt like really, really stretched. So throughout 2021, I was gradually quietly shutting things down. So closing down some of my sales channels, selling off some stock. And where I am right now is I still have some stock left and it is selling down quickly. I haven't brought in any new stock. So I decided when I made that decision at the end of 2020, or beginning of 2021, I decided, okay, I'm not going to order any more stock. I'm just going to sell down what I have. So I'm still doing that's very, very little left. Um, and I'm also in the process of finding some causes that I can donate stuff to. So if you, if you're listening and you know, of any great causes that could make use of baby items, do let me know, because I'm genuinely thinking I don't need to sell all my excess stock. I'm so happy if there's, um, a charity or a cause that could make use of it. I'm really, really happy to donate it because for me, I almost feel like I need at some point. I sort of draw the line and I move forward because as I say, the main reason I'm doing this is because I feel really stretched. Um, so yeah, the reason I'm telling you all of this is because a few reasons, one is I appreciate it might be odd for me to encourage you to sell your own products when I'm no longer doing it myself and I always wants to be upfront on always wants to be honest. I mean, probably I could have just shut everything down and not said anything. Nobody would notice, but that's not really my style. I would always rather be honest and open with you. Um, and just to be clear, I still do think a products business is a great business and I'm actually not ruling it out for myself forever. Um, I have actually have other products, ideas that I'd quite like to explore. And it's actually really exciting because when I had a baby products, brands, all of my product ideas and all of the, everything I was thinking of doing was kind of. Niche. Um, and some of the ideas that I had just, well, you know, outside of that, and I was thinking oh I can't do that because that's like another business, but I'm actually quite excited that I could potentially in the short to medium term launch some new products. Um, and they're gonna be completely different and not under the same brand. And I think that's quite exciting when I say short to medium term, who knows when I have the time to do that, but I have some ideas and definitely not ruling it out. And it's quite exciting, um, to be able to do that. Um, and I guess the bottom line is I just know that right now, I can't support my existing clients produce this weekly podcast, take care of my family and run all of the businesses is too much and something has to give. And that is what's given. So that is really all I have to share today. I just wanted to give you a bit of an update. Because it, I say, I just want to be honest about everything. I'm really happy to answer any questions you have about any of this. So you can just get in touch. It's email@example.com. I'll put that in the show notes where you can get in touch with me on Instagram or Facebook. Normal service will resume next week. I know it's been a few weeks since we've had the normal schedule, so we have some more amazing interviews and product business owners and experts, and I'd really love to know. Do you like the solo episodes? Um, maybe not this one in particular or the last one, because I appreciate, I haven't been sharing much that might be useful for you, but. Should I do more solo episodes. And if say, what would you like me to talk about? So email me the email address again, is firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, that'll be in the show notes and let me know. I'm really happy to, we've been, you know, we've been reason to do an episode on any topic as long as it's going to be useful for you. So yeah. That said, um, thank you so much for listening and really hope to see you here next week. Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode. If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps other people to find this podcast. Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and do tell your friends about it too. If you think that they also might enjoy it, can find me at vickiweinberg.com. There you'll find links to all of my social channels. You'll find lots more information. All of the past podcast episodes and lots of free resources too. So again, that's vickiweinberg.com. Take care, have a good week and see you next time.