It’s been four years since Jin Designs Homeware and Gifts was launched. Amazing how quickly it has gone. And what a journey it’s been. Here’s a few words from Graphic Designer and Founder Jinny who gives her thoughts on the journey so far. “Wow. Four years. I’m very grateful to have made it this far. It’s not been easy but anyone who has tried setting up and running a business will know that. Before I launched I was told that it takes 3 years to get a business off the ground. After Year Three had past I realised I should have listened to the people that say it takes 5 years to get a business off the ground! As a graphic and web designer, I really did think that all I needed to accompany my new range of homeware and gifts was an online store. With this in place, visitors would come and buy and I could concentrate on designing. How wrong I was! I often say to people, having a website is like having a shop down a back alley. No one knows you’re there. You really have to promote and invest a lot of time into marketing and building a brand. There have been times when I've felt like I’ve been standing outside my virtual shop, shouting and waving my hands wildly to attract customers. Can this strategy work? Sometimes. But there's a lot more you have to do to get people to notice. These last four years have been about finding ways to grow. To try to get exposure for the products. To build trust in the brand. Here are some of the ways it's started to happen.
Trade and Wholesale
Jin Designs has a number of stockists
now across the UK and beyond. Trade sales have been growing steadily year by year and it’s now a big percentage of overall sales. By attending trade shows, making countless phone calls and sending hundreds of emails every year, a number of independent shops, stores and garden centres now sell a range of Jin Designs products. There's been a lot of rejection along the way but you just have to keep believing and keep promoting.
The products are available on a number of online marketplaces. Being accepted as a Partner on Not on the High Street
last August massively helped exposure and sales. The Jin Designs Etsy Store
continues to grow and is very useful in reaching international customers from the US and Canada. And in going forward, just last week an exciting partnership was announced with Houzz, the global home improvement and interior design site, where you can now purchase Jin Designs products.
New Designs and Products
The introduction of new designs and products has really helped the business to grow and widened the appeal of the products. Last year saw the introduction of two new cat designs - Standing Cat
and Crouching Cat
. And the arrival of Penguin
. And last month the new Woodland Collection
was launched. The designs of Fox, Hedgehog, Badger and Rabbit have been popular new arrivals and are the fastest selling range of designs since records began!
Fairs and Events
Jin Designs continues to appear at local and national fairs and events. These are great opportunities to reach a wider audience and connect with customers. I've learnt a lot from exhibiting at shows and gained valuable feedback on my designs and products. Just to have the chance to talk to customers and gain an understanding of what they like and what they are looking for is really important. It's also been nice to get out and away from the computer and connect with people. I get to see a lot of cat photos and hear some great stories!
This has been crucial to building the Jin Designs brand and getting exposure for the products. Facebook
are big platforms for this. Posting regularly helps to connect with more people and gives them an insight into the products and what goes on in the studio and life around the business. It's also a chance to engage with people and see what they enjoy in their lives.
Clean and Simple Designs
There have been some popular designs over the last four years, but there are two that are much loved not just in the UK but across the world. Sitting Cat and Sleeping Cat are the original designs, created 4 years ago but doodled and dreamt of for years. Just two simple cat designs. Sitting Cat and Sleeping Cat will only ever feature once in the corner of whatever product they sit or sleep on. No patterns, no filled space. Just clean and simple. To remind people of a cat they love. Or a cat they have loved and lost. So as we enter another year, there’s lots to look forward to. There's lots to do and not much time to rest! I'm very excited about Jin Designs, even more than when I first started this journey. Yes there have been times when I've wanted to quit. But I keep going. Helped along by friends, family, loved ones and of course, all those customers I've been lucky enough to have over the last four years. For all the encouragement and feedback given. For all the emails written. For all the cat photos shared! For all the products purchased. For all those who have helped me get to this point and helped me to keep believing. Thank you."