An artisan, author, and teacher Lindsey Campbell prefers not to be called an entrepreneur; she sees what she does as more of a way to “make pretty things” and “help her family”. However, after building her successful, multi-dimensional online business, Hello Hydrangea, Lindsey’s not just an entrepreneur; business wonder-woman might just be more apt.
Lindsey created Hello Hydrangea in 2011 as an outlet for your her craft. It was a “way to keep my personal projects outside of school accountable. I enjoyed keeping (it) as a hobby” says Lindsey. “It was not very public and I definitely spent more on craft supplies than I made. When I started weaving and sharing tutorials, my blog began growing. I got to the point that I had too many orders to keep up with, a waiting list of people and companies wanting to collaborate with me. I felt that the only thing holding my work back from growing was a lack of time. During my maternity leave I felt comfortable making the decision to jump into Hello Hydrangea full-time instead of returning to my career. Each year since then it’s grown!”
Whilst Lindsey didn’t have a business plan in place when creating Hello Hydrangea, she did have lots of “opportunities opening and was ready to see where they led”. Those opportunities, coupled with “trial-and-error, and a lot of time googling and searching forums” helped her “figure out all of the business stuff”.
Starting a new business is not without it’s challenges and for Lindsey, the most challenging part “was learning all of the ins-and-outs of running a business. Making pretty things was the easy part”. From figuring out how to ship her creations, “my first few broke in the mail”; to how to open an Etsy shop and do taxes, the challenges came thick and fast. “SEO; getting a domain email; pricing; wholesaling – that stuff takes so much time to learn” says Lindsey, but the rewards soon out-weighed those challenges.
One thing that was clear when starting Hello Hydrangea was Lindsey’s desire to be true to her vision. “I started by focusing on creating inspirational pieces for people to enjoy in their homes. However, since I started making my video classes, my mission is all about helping people make the most of their limited creative time and enjoying creativity as mindfulness” says Lindsey.
“My classes and offerings are truly a reflection of what I would want as a weaver. I have ideas for classes and things like the Monthly Weaving Series because I want to learn more or challenge myself to a new project each month. Luckily my following is usually keen to come along and enjoy the products I create. It has definitely evolved over time as I’ve listened to my students and answered hundreds of personal emails and questions. Staying in tune with where the trend is moving and anticipating what they want next before they realise it. I answer each message, DM, comment and email personally and am always keeping a list of ideas from conversations I have with students as I’m answering their questions.”
Key to success
Building a business off the back of a personal blog is a dream scenario for many. Whilst it might seem that Lindsey did just that, there is no question that Hello Hydrangea was built in part, by her skilled background in marketing and advertising. Prior to starting her family, Lindsey was a marketing design director for a “super hip, high-end fashion boutique”. “It was a small team and I did all the creative concepts; shot the photos; designed the website; took care of the social media; planned the emails, events and mailers. It was very exciting, busy, all under my direction and I absolutely loved it” says Lindsey. “Being the sole creative/marketing director in a fast-paced environment really helped me keep up with Hello Hydrangea when I turned to it full time and it took off so quickly”.
Her advice to others contemplating a leap into small business – “I think you need to be consistent with your marketing and focus; have a unique product or mission; intuition to follow the right strategy for your personal business, and also timing. Good timing makes life so much easier, rather than trying to play catch-up or forcing an idea when you’re too late”.
What’s next …
There’s no question that Hello Hydrangea continues to evolve; a constant work in progress. However as a Mum, Lindsey is mindful of the most important creation in her life, her son, and how her business can fit into her life rather than consume it. “I had a plan for 2019 and beyond to expand Hello Hydrangea” says Lindsey. “I had all the details in place and was moving forward after weeks of work and months of planning – but I began feeling off because my work-life balance was skewed so far towards work. I’ve had to deeply evaluate exactly what I want Hello Hydrangea to be”. Lindsey now finds herself at a cross-roads. “In the past few months I’ve found myself saying ‘no’ a lot more often… to national company collaborations, taking on more employees, expanding my offerings… I guess my decisions lately have been my answer. I like what I have right now. That being said, I definitely have more classes planned and my second book is coming out this summer”. [At the time of writing, Welcome to Weaving 2 has now published].
And that is the most important take-away from my interview with Lindsey. Small business is about the need to constantly pivot and evaluate, but most importantly it’s about being true to your vision and purpose; and of course yourself.
Want to know more about Lindsey? Read “A minute with Lindsey Campbell” now.
Find Lindsey on Instagram @hellohydrangea