Friday’s now are business days. In the afternoon’s I’ll post my usual biz column in the morning’s there is this new column entitled #MyBizStory featuring you guys. Anyone starting out, or having an existing business or thinking about launching one if you fancy sharing challenges, hurdles and successes you have faced then do email in to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story. These posts are long meaty ones, intentionally so. I don’t know about you guys but sometimes making a coffee, taking time to read about other people’s lives and how they have started out inspires me to push mine further and follow that dream. In a nutshell the aim of this new column.
Today I would like to introduce you to June Olsen, a Norwegian, currently living in the UK. Ever since June was a child she dreamt of working in interior design. As life would have it she ended up taking a different route: working in the British film industry making props and special effects for more than a decade!
Then she quit work to be a mummy and realised this was her chance to get back to her true passion: So when her little girl started school, she set up a blog NOSTALGIECAT to document the makeover of her Victorian cottage…On very little money and mainly DIY focused.
Little did she know when she first started the blog, that this was the ticket into the world of Interior design! A year and a half later her blog was nominated for Best DIY blog in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. June also found a side niche for herself selling hand casted concrete home accessories in a local art gallery and more recently in the fabulously eclectic online home ware shop An Artful Life
I sat down with June and asked her a few questions about her new career path, interesting reading for anyone thinking of changing careers!
Why did you decide to change your career path in the first place?
I was all set for a career in interior design when I left school in Norway: I did 3 years of art and design studies, but when the time came to get my further education in interior design, the Norwegian government changed the rules, and I could no longer get in to the course I wanted…I guess I kinda just gave up, got a job in a shoe shop and partied for a while!! (I was young and foolish!!) Then I fell in love with a Scottish bloke I’d met on holiday in London, and decided that I wanted to move to the UK (like I said : young and foolish!!) I got into the London College of Fashion, where I studied make up and special effects, and from there went on to work in the British film industry!
After having my baby girl, we bought our house, that was in desperate need of updating, and I needed a “kick up the backside” to do all those things that I’d had swimming around in my head for so long….so I just figured I’d document the work I put into it through the blog….and I reveled in getting a chance to finally do some “interior design”!
At first it was just the blog….project after project…only small ones to start with, but I loved it so much, you could probably say I got carried away….and now My house is nearly done!!
What is a typical day like?
I work hard: fitting everything in whilst my daughter was at school, then tidying up before picking her up….that’s pretty much my every day life!! All the blogging stuff and social media is secondary to my projects, and I fit this in where and when I can: 5 o’clock starts in the morning, whilst my daughter is in the bath…waiting for paint to dry…etc
I never stop!! But I love it, so I don’t mind!! And I think this shines through in the blog, and little by little my following has grown!!
What went into launching your business
My concrete home accessories was a product of one of my projects on the blog, and the transition from being just a project to becoming a accessories range was almost accidental: I just happened to be in the local art shop one day, and gathered up the courage to ask if they’d be interested in selling some for me, which they were….then through sharing the images of my concrete bowls on social media (especially Instagram) I had more interest for them!
Do you actively market or advertise your products and blog to get more followers?
I use social media a lot: Pinterest for inspiration…I love Facebook for support from my “real” friends, Instagram for inspiration and connecting with like minded people …and I’ve only recently got the hang of twitter, now I love it for connecting with other bloggers!
What skills and lessons have you learnt along the way?
I am constantly learning new skills: Like the technical side of blogging, which was a total unknown to me when I first started out, how to best utilize social media: The importance of communicating and connecting with other bloggers, artists, designers and last but not least, my followers!! I terms of my projects, I have never been afraid to tackle something new…I guess I can thank my experience from working in the film industry for that: And I use the internet a lot to find out about new materials, techniques and processes.
Any major obstacles or hurdles faced?
My main obstacle has always been lack of money…there are so many things I would’ve loved to do, but lack of funding has stopped me…on the flip side that has made me get creative with my compromises, and probably also made my projects and tutorials more accessible to people…and helped me carve out my niche: Stylish homemade, creative interiors for less!
Any advice you would give to others thinking of setting out?
If I was to give advice to anyone thinking of starting a blog or a creative business, I would say: Just do it!! Make a start, that’s the hardest part…If you’re truly passionate about what you do, people will notice and it will shine through!
Sometimes I dream up a project at night, the next day I start doing it….and it ALWAYS comes together!! Where there’s a will there’s a way!
It is still early days, and I am not making much money yet, but I can definitely see that all my hard work is starting to pay off, and have high hopes that this is the beginning of the career I’ve always wanted, in interior design!
Thanks so much June for taking the time to tell our about your business, I wish you every success.
Hope you guys like the new column, back later with the biz one x