I absolutely love meeting other small business owners who are friendly, supportive and incredibly passionate about the products and services they’re putting out into the world. In today’s Creative Corner I’m chatting with one such business owner who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting through social media. Her Insta feed is always so welcoming and fun and she’s an absolute delight to speak with.
Everyone, meet Shaz…
Shaz, thanks so much for chatting with me! I’ve been a fan of your store for a little while now and I’m super interested to learn about you and how Oh, What Fun! got started. Would you mind providing a little background info about yourself? What are your interests? Favourite hobbies? Life in general?
Haha! Oh my gosh, where to begin? I’m a very young-at-heart, love to laugh, lovin’ life kind of person! I have worked in music retail for over 15 years, just finishing up being a manager at JB HiFi earlier this year to start a small biz. I guess that leads to interests – I love music. Listening to it, learning about artists, going to concerts…I love all kinds, from country to hair metal, but my all-time fave is punk.
As far as hobbies go, I like to spend time in the garden – it’s so good for my mental health. It gets me out of my own head and I love caring for other growing living things I can be proud of. I also like to read and bake just for fun (1 out of 5 times my baking doesn’t end well!!)
My family at the minute is myself, Mr Oh, What Fun!, and our two fluffy Silkie chickens, Mavis and Dolly. So lucky and proud to live in the best city in the world, Melbourne baby! (I equally love Sydney though, as I lived there once for 3 and a half years).
Firstly, I love that you sound so passionate about literally everything you spoke about in the answer above. Seriously, you’re a breath of fresh air! I can relate to a lot of the things you enjoy doing (and your extensive retail career), and I’m sure my readers can too. Now, tell us a little about your business. What is it that you do? How long has it been running and what did you find most challenging about starting a small business?
My little biz is all about FUN. Hence the name. It’s a destination for wearable fun (that is, earrings!), joyful gifts, and rad styling items for events. We just had our 2 month birthday yesterday!!
The setup process was a LOT more in-depth than I ever imagined. I really wanted to make sure I laid the right foundations, so I spent a lot of time taking on webinars in small biz and tax stuff, how to set up my bank accounts, writing a customer profile, branding, all that stuff. I had no idea that was all a part of it, and I still have so much to do and learn. I think the most challenging thing for me, is that you are really a one-woman show performing ALL the things! (at least while I’m still a start-up and not rolling in wads of money!) I’m a social media manager, a bookkeeper, a photographer, a website builder….all things I never ever thought about doing.
I still find photography the hardest, as I really have no idea, but aren’t we lucky we have google and YouTube tutorials to help! Setting up the website was probably the biggest thing I’ve done since planning my wedding!!
Ugh, the feels. I’ve recently started really trying to get on top of my finances and my marketing and bbbbooooyyyy it takes some time and effort (and money tbh) to really get it right. So, you mentioned a lengthy career in music retail. Do you have a background or experience in any other industries? What was it that made you decide to move into running your own small biz?
I’ve worked in retail pretty much my whole life since I was 17 years old – that is such a long time! I’m so lucky that working at JB Hi-Fi didn’t really feel too much like “work” for a lot of those years. It’s pretty fun as far as retail goes. But I’ve always wanted to have my own business – I just didn’t quite know what to do. Then, when I planned our wedding in 2019 it really became clear to my family, friends and myself that I was actually pretty good at that kind of thing! I had to become a DIY queen overnight, constantly coming up with super fun and cool ideas for our big day. It was seriously the best, most fun day ever. So, I thought I would love to sell products that would help others plan a fun event, give a joyful gift, or treat themselves!
Hell yeah. I cannot stress enough how much I love talking to people who found something they enjoy and turned it into a way to make a living. In the Oh, What Fun! store, how do you sell your products? What would you say is the most challenging aspect of selling your products the way you do and how do you overcome the challenges?
I sell my products on my own e-commerce site. The challenge I guess, is to get people to know who the heck I am! Instagram has been wonderful for driving traffic to my store, but I would love to pop up easily on Google when people search for me. I’m still learning a lot, so I’m sure eventually I’ll work out how to master it!
I also find product photography suuuuuper challenging. If it’s a nice day I’m like, “It’s a good day to try and get photos…quick before the sun disappears!!” One day I’d love to be able to afford a professional, but for now, it seems to be ok taking care of it myself.
I feel pretty lucky to run a business that doesn’t really require product photography. It sounds like it takes up A LOT of time. Now, one thing I’ve found is that you have such a wonderful, friendly social media presence. Do you find that the amount of effort and time you put into being so active on social media and interacting with your followers and other accounts has made a big impact on your follower count and/or your sales?
Oh, I really appreciate the kind words about my socials. I do really love engaging with other accounts – I’ve been super lucky to connect with some really awesome individuals (yourself being one of them!) To be honest, I don’t know if it’s had much of an impact on sales…yet. I think it’s still a bit early to tell – but it’s certainly getting me on the right track.
It has been helpful in gaining genuine followers and businesses that are really interested in me. I’m being really careful to grow organically, as I’ve realised that your follower count doesn’t necessarily equal success! (I will explain a bit later…)
Which part of the creative process of your business do you enjoy most? Why?
Oooooo! This is easy. My most favourite thing is creating earrings and other fun things that bring joy. I really like putting all the rainbow shredded paper into our gift boxes!! Such a buzz.
I learned a phrase from one of my “creative inspirations” Rachel Burke (@imakestagram) “CRAFT PUNK”! It just totally describes what I love to do – make stuff for like-minded cool, cute and quirky people. It can be hard to work myself up to it sometimes, and quite often I’m worried or forlorn thinking it’s all going pear-shaped – until that magic moment when it all comes together and you just light up.
You sound like me! Stressing out about a project before doing it and while it’s in progress, then once it’s done you wonder what you were so worried about! Story of my life 😂
Ok, now we’re at the final question: Let’s share some advice. What were 3 things you wish you’d known about running a small business before going into it?
The three things I wish I’d known before I started this biz:
- Social Media is a huge hairy beast, like a big black hole and it will try and take over! I was told I would need to go on there, but my GOSH! As a natural introvert it has been a really big adjustment and a challenge to put myself out there every day. But at the same time, I do really enjoy it, because it’s creative and I get to meet cool people! BUT – You need to set boundaries. Or you will lose your sanity! I have resolved within myself that’s it’s ok if I can’t make a funny reel, and I don’t need to be posting 3 times a day and be always trying to appease the algorithm. I just have to be authentic, and bring value to others, and be consistent!
- People WILL unfollow you. I seriously did not know this was a thing! And it really made me sad initially. But I’ve realised now that I can be grateful for all the unfollows – because we obviously weren’t a good fit. I’m all about community and engagement – so that’s my goal. I don’t really want to celebrate my 100, 200, 500, 1000 landmarks (but massive joy for those who do!). It’s just that I would rather celebrate the conversations, the rad mates I’ve made, the insta love (likes, shares, saves). Something really cool Kat Williams (@rocknrollbride) said to me (over insta engagement!) that all you need is 1000 genuine fans (not followers!)
- You just have to keep going. Keep ticking off all your tasks, and the outcome will take care of itself. I naturally always want to check the tangible “results”. My likes, my website visits, how many purchases I’ve had….but I found it just made me so stressed out – always thinking about the outcome. A really wise friend with her own biz experience told me – just focus on the tasks, tick them off every day, and everything else will naturally follow on it’s own.
Yes. I love this! I feel like if I’d known those tips about social media before starting up, I’d have been able to avoid a hell of a lot of stress and anxiety. Thank you so much for sharing!
If you’re picking up what Shaz is putting down, you can visit her store and keep up to date with Oh, What Fun! updates via the links below. I would recommend checking out her stash of quirky earrings if you’re anything like me and can’t go past a novelty pair!
☕ Coffee is good. Sponsor Shaz’s next cup here: www.ko-fi.com/iscribecreative
If you have any questions at all for Shaz that weren’t answered in this article, pop them in the comments and I’ll follow up with her for you 😊
Creative Corner will be back at the beginning of next month so follow the blog to stay in the loop!