Louisa Faulkner, founder of On Cloud Nine Stationery, (www.oncloudnine.org.uk) recently found herself on stage in a hotel in Mayfair, London, accepting a national Guides for Brides customer service award in front of hundreds of people.
Louisa, having worked in many different roles, from prison officer in an immigration centre to working on the delicatessen counter in a high-end supermarket, never dreamed that her business would achieve such success.
Here’s how On Cloud Nine Stationery has accomplished so much, from the very beginning to where they are today.
In the beginning
Louisa set up On Cloud Nine Stationery from her home in Oxfordshire in 2012 following the birth of her second child. Although Louisa had worked in a number of different roles – some creative and others less so – she had always had an artistic flair and an eye for detail.
Having been married for a number of years and attended lots of weddings as a guest, Louisa spotted a gap in the market for beautiful and bespoke handmade wedding stationery, including invitations, ‘save the date’ cards, table planners and place cards.
She set up one of the rooms in her house as a workshop, bought in boxes of supplies and began to market herself through word of mouth and her basic website that featured just a few pages and a gallery.
Juggling success with family
Business soon started to pick up. Louisa began to promote her designs through Facebook, by attending wedding fairs and by networking with other wedding-related businesses in the area. Soon Louisa was so busy she was working day and night to meet wedding deadlines, keep brides happy, and juggle work with home life and her two children.
Then, in 2016, Louisa decided to revamp her website but wanted to do it herself. “Fashions and styles change and my website needed an update,” she says. “I knew I could do this myself and in doing so save thousands of pounds. It took me one whole week working all hours but it was worth it and I am really pleased with the result.”
50% busier year on year
Although many people get married all year round, spring and summer weddings remain the most popular so Louisa wanted to launch her website in time for January when many brides – with Christmas behind them – start to look around for ideas.
“The images now do the talking on my website and since I have updated it I am 50% busier than I was last year”
“Customers from all over the world tell us they love our website and we think it is far more informative and visual than competing sites.” Louisa believes her website also saves her time – she no longer has to explain fonts and paper folds on the telephone or face-to-face as it’s all there for her customers to see online.
Louisa’s advice for other mumpreneurs is to work hard and be dedicated, don’t worry about any knockbacks, learn from your mistakes and most importantly to be confident in what you do.
She summaries: “I gained creative skills through an office job working with Photoshop. I also learned discipline from my role as a prison officer, customer service from my delicatessen days, and all about finances through working in a bank. Although my career path hasn’t been an obvious one, it has got me to where I am today – a successful, respected and award-winning business owner.”