Turning a hobby or an interest into a business is the dream for many would-be entrepreneurs. And although there are those who never take action to turn that dream into reality, there are some who see an opportunity and seize it.
Johanna Hooper, founder of fashion retailer Little Miss Festival, is part of the latter group.
As the name of the company suggests, her inspiration came from attending music festivals, where others were impressed by her style.
“I love festivals and when I go I am always looking for something new and exciting to wear,” she said.
“I found plenty of sites in the US that sold this sort of clothing and found people were asking me where I got it from, so I found a great opportunity to actually start buying the stock in and selling it in the UK.”
So in March 2016, Johanna launched a new website selling festival clothing directly to UK customers.
“Having the website is of upmost importance, it’s the main target for my business, all the customers purchase through that method, not having a shop front the website is key,” she explained.
“The website is obviously used for purchasing items. Alongside that I have a blog online, updating my customers, the target audience, to festivals that are happening, festival fashion, styles, what’s going on.
“I also have a section that lets people see what tickets are available and they can link through and purchase those tickets from other sites.”
But Johanna knew that this alone wasn’t enough and that’s why she turned to 123 Reg to provide her site with SSL certification, to ensure her customers could feel safe when buying from the website.
“I use the 123 Reg SSL Certificate on my site for customers using and managing their account, and making any purchases online,” she said.
“Because 90% of my business is done online, the SSL Certificate is key for customers to feel that they’re safe, their data is safe when they are purchasing online. They’re transferring all that information over the web, it has to be secure.”
“If we didn’t have it installed on the website, I think we would get some sales but I think that because my audience is quite young, they are quite computer savvy. They want the security there.”
Rising to new challenges
Security isn’t the only problem Johanna has faced while getting her business off the ground, but she’s working hard to find solutions.
“The biggest challenge I have found is the risk, the financial risk. Every decision you make, you want to get it right. I also think getting work-life balance is very difficult when you are so passionate about a new business it’s very difficult to just put down tools and go back to non-working life. It’s getting the balance.”
But it’s not all hard work: “The best thing about running my own business is the flexibility. I can fit it around my home life. Obviously having a family, being able to go to the gym, being able to go to my son’s events and school, fitting that around the work life.”
So what advice does Johanna have for anyone looking to start their own business?
“Don’t rush, be patient. Learn from everything you do and if you do it wrong, step back, do it again, just do it a little bit differently.”