Whilst the pandemic has presented challenges to many, for budding entrepreneur Laurel Mae it also provided the opportunity to take her passion for creativity in a new direction. Seizing the day, she set up her own business, LaurelMaeArt, selling cute and cozy stationery designs.
The 25-year old from Derbyshire has always loved getting creative. “I began pursuing art when I was on my gap year and I started selling my creations on loads of different products,” Laurel explains.
This continued when she started her career in retail, and she began freelancing and taking commissions for bespoke custom portraits and illustrations.
Setting up the side hustle
When the pandemic hit, Laurel was placed on furlough from her job. “It was tough but I wanted to make the best of lockdown,” Laurel told us. “I wanted something to take my mind off things and I’d always toyed with the idea of opening a shop on Etsy. Being on furlough seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a chance and go for it.”
Expanding her business with Cricut
Her first products on her Etsy store consisted of custom prints that she designed, but Laurel was keen to branch out. “Ever since I opened my Etsy shop last year I wanted to scale up. I’d heard about Cricut from other people and it was on my wishlist for ages,” she explains. “I managed to save enough money to get the Cricut Explore. Once it arrived I couldn’t believe how many different designs and products I could make using just one machine! It was really exciting, and it definitely got me thinking about all the new things that I could create and sell.”
As well as continuing to offer prints, Laurel started branching out and making stickers for her Etsy shop. That was when things really started to take off. “Print designs are quite a niche audience,” Laurel adds. “So when I started creating and selling my stickers, I noticed that I was able to reach a whole new audience with my designs and I saw a huge increase in sales.”
The success of her online shop has seen Laurel branch out into a variety of different products including notepads, bookmarks and pins. “I wanted to be able to scale up the business, but I’m completely shocked by how quickly it has grown. Without Cricut I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make new items. I’m really proud of how successful this first year has been, and I’m so excited to see where the business goes next!”
Laurel Mae’s top tips to growing your own business:
For those looking to start their own side hustle, Laurel has a couple of tips. “It’s very easy to look at what other people are doing, but don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Success takes time, and it is important to remember that you’re just starting out. Stick to what you’re doing and don’t worry about other people!”
Laurel also says it’s important to have targets. “Set yourself clear goals and build your way up from there. When I created a shop on Etsy, I set myself achievable milestones; I said that I’d sell a certain amount of products before I’d buy myself a Cricut. Once I reached that target and Cricut arrived in my life, I’ve been able to create even more, and reach more and more people.”
For more articles on Cricut for business, visit the Make to Sell pages of the blog.