founded and run by Issy Kerr
Intro by Trudy Allsopp
This is a great story about backing yourself and how to move forward from a business idea or inspiration into an actual business. About how to seek help and succeed when navigating the small business journey on your own.
Q: What is it that you do/make/create??
A: I’m Issy and I am the creative director at Seriously Milestones – basically I come up with ideas for fun Milestone and Greeting cards – ones that I hope people love giving.
Q: OK I get what a greeting card is, but what’s a Milestone Card?
A: It’s just a card that celebrates different moments in people’s lives – in our case, ‘real’ parenting moments. They are generally used as photo props or captions to help you remember certain milestones. Once you’ve taken a photo you can then pop it up on social media using #seriouslymilestones or keep it in your photo album – if you actually own one. The milestone packs come in a pack of 20 cards. There are now 4 different sets of cards – Preggo pack Milestone Cards, Fur babies, Toddler Edit, plus the original Baby Milestone Cards.
Q: How long have you been doing what you’re doing?
A: I’ve been at it for just over 18 months, although it feels like it’s been a lot longer (in a good way!).
Q: How did you start your current venture – what was the seed/story/inspiration for Seriously Milestones.
A: When my youngest was getting closer to turning 1, I knew that my initial 12 months of Maternity Leave was almost up, and if I really wanted to stay at home, I’d need something to keep my mind going.
I had always planned to stay home after our second, but I also know that I like to be busy and that I would have felt pressured (from myself) to go back to work, if I didn’t have a side project.
I have no idea where the concept for Seriously came from initially, but the more I thought about it, the more I really liked the idea and thought that there was a definite gap in the market for it.
I’d talked to a few friends about the idea, but these conversations didn’t really spark much. When I still couldn’t get the idea out of my head, I sat down with Emma (Clohesy, from Happy Hands Happy Heart) to give the idea one last push before I put it to bed. She loved it and told me that I definitely had to do something with it. She suggested a graphic designer to help (Morgimac, who I still use now) and has been a HUGE support over the past 2 years.
Q: Is your business your full-time occupation or is it part-time, if so what else are you juggling? How many hours to you think you dedicate to your business?
A: It is supposed to be part-time, as my 2 little ones are still at home (although one is going to school very soon), but I really love how much it allows me to learn and connect with other people, so I work on it way more than I should.
I’d say I easily spend 20 hours on it a week, but potentially more. I’d hate to think how much time I spend on social media alone…
Q: Any pointers for someone starting out?
A: Find yourself a mentor, or even better, a team!
Small business can be pretty isolating, and if you don’t have someone to bounce ideas off, you’ll probably end up wasting a lot of time going around in circles.
Find people who lift you up and believe in you and your business, but also people who will give you some constructive feedback when it’s needed.
Other than that, have fun!
Q: How do you go about selling your product – markets/website/personal contact with client/exhibitions/special events. What works best for you?
A: I sell through my website, markets and wholesalers.
Initially most of the sales came through the website, but the wholesale side of the business continues to grow and has become a major focus.
To be totally honest, markets don’t go that well for the business in terms of sales, but I love them!!! I love that I get to spend a whole day (or weekend) talking to customers face to face, watching people read the cards and of course seeing other new businesses and eating yummy market food!
Q: How important is social media in your business? What social media do you favour. How many hours a week do you put aside for social media for your business?
A: Social Media has been amazing for my business, I honestly don’t believe it could have grown as quickly as it did without it.
It has not only allowed stockists to find my cards, but has also allowed me to connect with my customers and watch them enjoy the product – which is by far the best part.
Instagram is my favourite, although I also love Pinterest. For Facebook, I love that people are able to comment with images, which again helps in connecting with customers.
I put aside a couple of hours a week to auto-schedule all of my content, but then I’m on it most of the day. Some days I wish I wasn’t so into it, but most of the time I find that it’s a great place for ideas and inspiration.
Issy’s products can be purchased on her website. Get all Issy’s details at her Bendigo Made Listing Seriously Milestones