As a seasoned artist with over 30 years of multimedia experience — Trompe L’oeil murals, mosaics, ceramics, acrylic painting, watercolour and textile sculptures to name a few — Alison Archbold decided that the next move for her business, Archbold Design, was to gain more exposure for her art while designing from the comfort of her home studio.
Now, Alison specialises in greeting cards, prints and her patented bottle cards, an idea she stumbled upon while doing photography for her Instagram account.
Accessibility and ethics are key for Alison, so every product is printed on forestry-approved paper stock and packaged locally in Australia.
Alison is a passionate animal advocate and features a range of original dog and cat rescue designs, among over 150 others, on her site. A portion of proceeds from these greeting cards is donated to the company’s current sponsored charity, 4Lyfe Rescue.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
“Jane Thompson, from Australian Women in Wine & Fabulous Ladies Wine Society. I came across Jane a few years ago when I ran a competition looking for a 10th lady to complete one of my ranges of cards: my “Women & Wine” range.
Another lady put Jane’s name forward, and after hearing all about her, & what she’s done for the Australian Wine Industry and for Women Winemakers, I have to say Jane is quite amazing.”
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
“I really love hearing that people appreciate my products and enjoy using them.”
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Do not try to please everyone. This has cost me a huge amount of money and probably years of my time. Listen to advice, but only take on board what feels right. Just go with your gut & stick to your plan.
- Be firm. Explain to everyone: this is my job, sorry I’m not able to sit on the phone and chat with you, or have you pop in for a visit, I’m working!
- If you really want something, do it. Procrastination will get you nowhere.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
“Think your idea through from start to finish.
Write it down and work from there.
- What do you want?
- How are you going to make it happen?
- Has it been done before?
- If so, why would your idea be successful?
Do you have funding to see it through?
How much will it cost to produce, and how much can it be sold for?
How long will it take you to start making money?
Do you have backup?
How often will you need to work?
How much will all your annual subscriptions cost?
Do you have time to do all your advertising and social media on top of everything else?”
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
“Facebook, Instagram, and joining a platform such as HerBusiness. I wish I had known about a resource like this earlier. “
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
“In the not too distant future, I hope to have my cards packed and shipped by a local subcontractor. I’m looking to have some of them sold via an Independent distributor for Bottle Shops and Wineries. I would also love to have a VA to help me out with some of the admin tasks. I would like to get to a point where I am mainly responsible for designing and painting new designs, dealing with the social media aspect, and overseeing all operations.”
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
“It is great being part of the Her Business Network and I am really looking forward to meeting some of the other incredible women here, gaining new knowledge, learning skills and forming new alliances. With so many talented minds and so much sharing of knowledge, I’m sure that we can all help each other to succeed. Having so many resources at hand is also incredibly empowering. I’m very much looking forward to having a browse through, and finding all the topics that I need help with.”