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Dinki Friends... Meet Abi AKA Boss Lady of Red Hand Gang!

dinki human blog friends journal women in business abi from red hand gang

I love chatting to fellow small-biz owners about what gets them going and what grinds their gears about being your own boss. I have created a series of Q&As with some of my fave small brand owners in the hope we can share some behind the scenes insight into our lives as women in business. 

Abi and I met via Instagram, I came across her beautiful wooden hangers and fell in love with her fab feed! I featured her in a Dinki Human Gift Guide and I love that our products are UK made.

Who are ya?

Hi! My name is Abi and I run Red Hand Gang from my workshop in Oxford. I live here with my two girls and my boyfriend (of 20 years - is it still a 'boyfriend' after 20 years?!) 

How and when did you come up with the idea for Red Hand Gang?

About 11 years ago funding for the organisation I was working for ran out and I was made redundant from my job while I was pregnant with my first daughter. 
I had my second daughter a few years after that and with no job to go back to, and coupled with the fact that I wanted to work for myself and be creative; Red Hand Gang was born!
It started with slightly random note books and cushions - anything  I could design and make and sell basically - and then the clothes hangers came about and that now is my core of my little business.

What 3 things do you enjoy most in your job as Red Hand Gang Boss Lady?

Oh good question - the flexibility, the autonomy and the creativity.  Your business - your rules! 

What 3 things do you enjoy least? 

No holiday pay, Monday mornings on my own trying to get my arse in gear are quite painful! But I think the hardest area for me is the balance between home and work and the parenting guilt, basically trying not to feel guilty about working when my kids are around -  I may not be out of the house (my workshop is at the back of my house) and in an office somewhere else but this is my job and I need to give it the same  time and energy as I would any job for it to be successful and make sure it continues to make money. My kids are 8 and 10 so that helps but still it can be stressful making sure everyone and Red Hand Gang get their rightful amounts of attention

Any advice for anyone starting out in the world of small biz ownership?

Oohh! Honestly I am going to try and keep this short but I could go on and on  - It has been a very steep learning curve for me over the last 6 years and will continue to be ! So I am going to tell you what I wish I had know at the beginning of my small biz journey!
There are a few things I would suggest,  the first being  - follow your own path - don't get swallowed up by trends, don't compare your small biz journey to others, its pointless and doesn't get you anywhere - Keep focused on your ideas that you believe in and remember you journey is what makes you you.
Secondly - you can listen to small business podcasts about areas you need  support with - finance - motivation - selling etc. Connect with other small biz women - so good to talk stuff over and get advice and help if you need - its very hard doing it in isolation. 
And third -  essentially you want to sell your lovely products  - understanding the nitty gritty of selling and your customer's thought process is fascinating - in order to get your audience to buy from your your lovely small biz and essentially poach them from Amazon they need to trust you - people buy from Amazon because they know their purchase is going to arrive and they trust Amazon to do that - as a new small business you need to build people's trust in order for them to give you their hard earned money. Put yourself in your customers shoes - how often do you buy stuff from an unknown company with very little info about them on their website or social media? It makes you stop and think - who are they? Are they for real? It makes you question if you are safe to purchase the item or not. 
In order to gain your customers trust this does require quite a lot of work on your side - customers need to know you, your story, your brand, your point, why you make your stuff, how you make your stuff, where you make your stuff, what you workroom looks like, what your cat looks like, what you do every morning!  Work that stuff out and then shout it from the roof tops! This can be done on posts on Instagram, Facebook, a newsletter, a blog. Start with behind the scenes pictures, talking to camera on Instagram stories and saved to highlights. This maybe terrifying but the more you do it the easier it becomes. People are inherently nosy (in a nice way!) and will watch even the most mundane things on Stories to get to know you/ trust you - then they will have the confidence and the love for your brand to just hit that 'purchase' button.  That was a very long winded way of saying get yourself out there! Your products are you and your brand and your story - show the world how fabulous you are !

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Red Hand Gang? Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?

I am hoping to slowly move towards more illustrated goods and designs. I am working hard on that at the moment!

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Sweet coffee and a load of toast, butter and marmite - I sometimes try and be good and go for porridge and fruit but no,  always go back to the marmite!

Where can we find you?

Mainly in my workshop or with my kids,  sometimes in front of Netflix and occasionally at the oven.
Or here and Instagram @myredhandgang

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