It’s biz day today on the blog.  Kicking off with my new column (#MyBizStory)  and then followed this afternoon by my biz column, today concentrating on how you can make your business have the hugest impact.  I would like at this point to say thank you to everyone who has taken the Online Retail Class, its been running for 5 weeks and we’ve had students all over the world sign up and this week is the last week. I have loved popping over to the forum, answering questions and finding out about everyone’s business plans, so thank you guys. All the material is up online for another 6 weeks and I will continue to pop back and forth to the forum.

I would like you to meet Myburgh Designs.

Stephen Myburgh’s company Myburgh Designs combines high end sculptural designs to create swings, copper railings balconies, wishing wells and so much more. I am especially drawn to the swings, which I am picturing hung outside in my garden under the fig tree. Though you can of course use them indoors as well, see slide show! We whizzed some questions over to Stephen who graciously took the time to tell us about his business, the hard parts, the good parts and it makes for fascinating reading.

What led you to start your own business?

I suppose my creativity needed an outlet, and this “outlet” grew to be such an important part of my life that I needed it to become a career and produce money. I don’t think I planned to get involved in business, but that is how these things grow. One minute you are making something nice the next you are paying tax and wages. It seems to be where most successful creative people find themselves after a while.

What has been most difficult?

Holding on to the integrity of my creativity in the face of all the tasks that can overwhelm you when running a small business.

How do you get your work seen by customers or retailers, is it through tradeshows, mail shots etc?

Traditionally I used shows of all kinds to get my work out there. I found this to be a really expensive way to be seen, and couldn’t help but feel I was putting all my eggs in one basket. These days I use product placement and collaborations with companies such as hotels,  restaurants, etc. Basically luxury environments with an ethos close to that of Myburgh Designs. In our case it is simple; get the right bum to sit in the swing and the piece will sell itself.

Any tips/advice to people starting out?

Don’t think about the money! Hold on to your creative integrity at all costs. Stay on the bus; if you start something and it works keep working that angle and don’t stop. It takes a long time for your work to be recognised as your own. Once people recognise your style or niche, that’s when the money side of things starts to grow by its self. Always remember that this lifestyle has an inherent value. You may not be earning £140k a year in the city but how much is your autonomy in your studio worth to you? The fact that my kids are able to visit me in my studio after school is worth at least 40k a year to me.

What has been most successful about the business?

I suppose that has to be the designs, without that there is no business.

Thank you Stephen! Wise words indeed and I wish your company ongoing success. If you fancy telling me about your business and want it featured across my social media channels email me at submissions@abigailahern.com

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