‘Five lessons for growing a successful brand’

December 9, 2013 9:42 am The UK Domain

The idea for Grannies, Inc. came when I combined my love for knitting with wanting to stand out when I was on the ski slopes. I began knitting my own hats, and then hats for friends and the idea hit me: a company specialising in bespoke knitwear, all made in the UK.

When I began searching for knitters I found most of them were from the older generation. I had always wanted the company to be an ethical brand, promoting British wool and UK manufacturing, so having a team of grannies handmaking our products was a perfect fit. Customers have the added benefit of knowing that their unique product will be lovingly handmade for them by an expert knitter and my grannies have the opportunity to earn some extra income from doing exactly what they love.

The first year of trading went by so quickly. For the first four months I worked all hours to fulfil the 1,400 hats I’d sold. Since then I’ve carefully expanded the range of products, launched knitwear collections, had my first book published and launched an initiative called ‘The Market Place’, allowing grannies to sell their own knitwear designs to customers who really care about the story behind the product.

Running my own business can only be described as a rollercoaster, complete with ups and downs, loop-the-loops, thrills and nauseating moments. Here are the five most important things I’ve learnt since starting Grannies, Inc.:

1. Define your company in all activity

I take great pride in being a British brand, so everything about my website, social media channels, press releases and marketing emails help demonstrate what makes Grannies, Inc. special. It really goes without saying that I chose a .co.uk website rather than a .com because it shows visitors that I’m British from the start and I think customers trust the site more because of it.

2. Being different can be very powerful

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s book ‘Purple Cow’, which is all about being remarkable in business. Hopefully many of the lessons from this book can be seen throughout my business. The grannies are my ‘purple cow’; they are what make Grannies, Inc. remarkable. They help us stand out from the crowd and they make people want to share the story behind their purchase.

3. Set achievable goals

Having a constant reminder of what I’m aiming for this day, week or month is a great motivator and helps me to keep focused on what is important. Make sure your goals are ambitious yet achievable: if they are too easy they won’t push you hard enough to accomplish even greater things.

4. Measure everything

Regular reporting has helped me reveal vital information that could have been missed. For example, I’m constantly monitoring what works on my website and what doesn’t. I get reports on which pages work the best, which are the least popular, which marketing emails work and which need tweaking. These reports are used to improve and move my business forward.

5. Experiment and be creative

There are no rules to running your own business, so I’ve tried not to follow any. Every entrepreneur, industry and business is different. Don’t copy your competitors, but watch how and why they do things, and see how you can do it even better.

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