This month I want to introduce you to Alex from StillAlex Co.
Alex is a budding entrepreneur who started her business last year with the help of her fiancé. She makes beautiful vintage inspired, eco friendly and re-usable stationary products. Not only that but she is currently pursuing her masters in economics and is looking to start work on a PhD soon. Talk about super woman!
Q: Alex, Have I missed anything?
A: We’re moving aware from stationery towards homeware in the new year!
Q: Why did you start your business? Was it something you’d always wanted to do?
A: It’s quite a new aspiration. I’d always hoped to sell my art work one day but hadn’t considered actually having a business before. My decision to start Still Alex was influenced by a few different things that happened this year: I moved in with my partner, I started upcycling furniture and I watched Escape to the Chateau! My partner always had an idea to have a small business one day so I got excited about the idea too. As art takes up too much time for me to do regularly between my busy university schedule I wanted to find another creative outlet that was a bit quicker and I could get a project done between my lectures. So, I started upcycling small pieces of furniture! Not long after I started watching Escape to the Chateau which has brought about my love of vintage and homeware, inspired designs in my stationery, upcycling and own home. I knew from all this that my aspiration for the business was to sell homeware but I decided to start out with stationery pieces I could make myself!
Q: I noticed that many of your products are re-usable or have second uses. Was that intentional?
A: Absolutely! Packaging on products is one of my biggest annoyances – when a toothbrush arrives in a box that would fit a bin it’s not necessary! Also, a lot of people don’t realise what’s recyclable and what isn’t and I think it’s down to the businesses to make it easily recyclable otherwise nobody will. That’s why I decided I wanted everything that can be recyclable or eco-friendly about our business to be. We’ve already managed to get our packaging completely recyclable – even the tape! As we move forward with our business we’re always keeping these aims in mind and ensuring we choose products for our customers that are sustainable with ZERO plastic!
Q: Sometimes running a small business can be exhausting, what do you do to keep yourself sane?
A: As we’re really new we haven’t had much juggling to do luckily! As we grow I know it’ll get harder but luckily my amazing partner keeps me sane…most of the time. If I find myself getting stressed out he usually calms me down and passes me a Pepsi max and chocolate – they’re essential to the process! I find a day or evening working on my laptop in bed can help a LOT! It really reduces the stimuli you’re exposed to so your brain can focus! Equally, a creative outlet helps! When your business is a creative outlet it can be difficult to know that you also need an outlet from that too. I make sure I take time for something I want to do each day either a bath, cooking with my partner, reading or watching a series.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting a business?
A: Plan, plan and plan more! Make plans for things you don’t think you need plans for! When I started I thought I’d be so on top of the social media posts I wouldn’t need to plan them at all! In reality I often don’t know what picture to post or what caption to put with it and it’s led to me being a bit infrequent at the start and not getting the right look in our posts. Planning posts out well in advance makes it a lot easier and now it runs smoothly! I also have spreadsheets upon spreadsheets for organising and tracking our stock, sales, packaging, orders, everything! It saves so much time and stops me feeling frazzled!
Q: It seems that you are spinning a hundred plates. How do you manage your time?
A: Planning! As someone who does suffer with OCD in both forms – the one that means I need check the post box every time I leave or re-enter the house and to type and undo the same letter over and over until it feels ‘right’ AND the type that means I need to be organised and have schedules to stop me feeling frazzled – lists, diaries and anything that organises have been a big part of my life for years! Spreadsheets, lists and diaries track and record everything in my life and business and it really helps me manage my time. I plan out time in each day to get university work done, do business things, and my personal time. It’s all detailed so I know what is needed. I know to some that seems scary but the thought of not having that there is scary to me – I’d be frazzled and confused beyond help!
Q: What do you have planned for 2021?
A: In 2021 we’re taking our business in the homeware direction! It’s where I always wanted our business to end up, but I didn’t think we could make it happen so quickly! We’re starting out with some smaller homeware pieces that will add something to any home and we’re hoping to grow it throughout the year!
Alex, with indie businesses, it’s lovely to get to know a little bit about you, behind the scenes. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies you’d like to share?
- I’m double jointed! I can bend my thumb down to my wrist, my elbows can bend inwards and I can bend the end tip of my finger on its own!
2. Coffee or tea?
Neither. Being northern I’m ashamed to say it but I really hate both of them! If I’m particularly tired I might be pushed into a Mocha but even that has to have 8 sugars in it! Hot chocolate is my favourite! Although it does still have to have 8 sugars in it – it’s never sweet enough!
3. Favourite way to relax?
Pyjamas, a good series or movie and some sushi! I also love a bath and a good book, but I’ve only recently discovered the joys of it because I used to be convinced someone lived under the bath!
4. What’s your favourite memory?
My favourite memory is my partner proposing to me! It was at the very start of lockdown, it was quiet, and we were both in pyjamas, he had a sling from a dislocated shoulder, and I was in the midst of health investigations. His sling meant he couldn’t get down on one knee properly so ended up falling onto two knees haha, but I loved it! It was at a time when we were both supporting each other in our health and many other ways and if we can get engaged during tough times like that then I’ve no doubt our marriage will last!
So lovely!! Thanks so much Alex for sharing a little about you and your business. If you’d like, you can visit Still Alex Co at https://www.stillalex.co.uk/
Tune in net month when I interview another small business!