As part of our #IOwnMyOwn series meet Helen Esposito owner of Magpie Vintage Crockery Hire. Helen's going to give us insight into her business and tell us what it’s really like to own your own.
Hi Helen, please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your business?
Hi, I’m Helen and my business offers the hire of vintage china, accessories and props for weddings and parties. I also offer craft workshops in the winter with my Christmas Wreath Workshops running throughout December which are very popular. Most of my business comes from my website and my Facebook page and my customers range from individuals to hotels, florists and local businesses.
How did you get into this line of work, and how and when did you start your own business?
Magpie was born out of my love for all things vintage and antique. I have always loved antiques, visiting antiques shops and fairs and buying lots of furniture, accessories and treasures for my home. And then the idea of hiring out a collection for vintage styled events came to me.
I started my career in marketing and events so I am used to the pressures of event management, organising the perfect party and meeting tight deadlines. Owning Magpie means I can work with the antiques I’m passionate about in the field of work I enjoy and have experience in. I try to offer this experience along with the hire of my lovely collection and often get told by wedding clients that with me, they feel they have a free wedding planning service too!
I started Magpie six years ago and over the years I have run it alongside having a busy full time job, during maternity leave, after redundancy and now I run it whilst looking after my three young children.
What are the downsides to your trade?
The vintage crockery and accessories hire is seasonal, with most of my work coming from summer weddings. Although interestingly, I am receiving more and more bookings outside the summer period for baby showers, work leaving parties and local events which is great. Weddings can sometimes take up my time at the weekends with deliveries, collections and setting up the venues. I love meeting the staff at the venues and seeing everything come together’ so I don’t mind sacrificing a little time to do this.
hat three things couldn’t you live without in order to do your job and own your own?
1. My favourite antiques shops – when I need extra stock quickly for a big order or something specific! There are two antiques shops I know I can rely on to have a good selection of china available as obviously it’s not something you can just pick up from anywhere!
2. My mobile phone – I can do everything on it; calls, emails, reply to Facebook messages, update my website and Facebook page, email quotes, take pictures, search for stock, use the sat nav for deliveries, everything.
3. My van – a big order can be up to 12 boxes of carefully packed china and linens which definitely wouldn’t fit in my car!
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business what would it be?
Choose something you genuinely enjoy as that passion will come out in what you do. And don’t be scared to take the plunge and start something even if you are busy with another job or your family. The beauty of being your own boss and having mobile technology means you can do as much as you want, when you want and fit it in with your lifestyle, giving you a much better work/life balance. This is something I definitely craved when I had a full time job.
Check back in with us tomorrow to read about Mark Pearce and his business experiences with owning his own aerial fitting company. And remember, if you have any top tips for anyone wanting to start up their own business, please let us know by visiting our Facebook page and commenting on our post with #IOwnMyOwn.