Today, we have a very special guest. She is 14 years old but she has been the owner of a thriving business since she was only 10.
We welcome Zoe from New Zealand, whose products are very popular not just in New Zealand, but as far away as in the United Kingdom.
I was so excited to get the opportunity to interview Zoe and discover her ‘secrets’ to:
-setting up a successful business
-turning her love of art into a lucrative enterprise.
Her story is an inspiration to all of us. She has great advice for budding entrepreneurs of all ages who are thinking of taking the same path. Her advice belies her young age and reflects her maturity and business acumen.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Zoe Elmey and I am 14 years old. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. All my life I have been very into art and craft.
Mum says that when I was at preschool I would spend all day painting, drawing and making things for her when all the other kids where out playing in the sand pit.
I am now in my second year of high school (year 10).
What is your business? Where do you sell your products?
Mum and I started my business, ‘Lots Of Love Art’, when I was 10 years old.
We first started with greeting cards with my drawings on them. I developed my own style and I am a self-taught artist.
My cards first were printed in black and white. We started with 4 designs at first (Which are still sold). The cards were : Tree of life, Sunflower, Butterfly and cupcake.
Later we started selling bookmarks, magnets and blocks.
Every year I introduce a few more cards to the ‘Lots of Love Art Card Range’ (Which all now have pops of color). There are 26 cards so far, including Christmas cards.
My most popular card ‘Green Stone Kiwi’ is popular in many tourist shops around NZ.
We have sold over 5,000 cards now! My cards are sold in 20 shops all over NZ.
In late November last year I started my new range! ‘The Lots of Love Art Baby Range’.
This range consists of – Bibs, Teething rings and Burp cloths (So far). I have sold over 300 baby products now.
I have many other products that are in the making.
I sell the range in 5 shops around Christchurch. I would like to be stocking more shops, but I only have so much time being at school.
(This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small compensation if you purchase through these links. You do not pay extra. Please read my disclosure policy.Thanks for your support. Part of the proceeds has been donated to the South Island Wildlife Hospital. )
Have you always wanted to explore the creative spark in yourself? And make money at the same time? Click on the picture below to find out what you need to get started.
How did you get started in this business and how long has it been since you started?
When I was 9, mum showed some of her friends my drawings.
They said that they were really good, so mum decided they would make good greeting cards. We started printing them and got them in shops when I was 10. That is how it all started.
I have had my business for 4 years now.
As a high school student, you must be very busy.
How much time do you spend on your business and how do you juggle both school and managing your business?
To be honest, it can be a struggle.
When I get home from school I am often sewing or packaging cards and then I also have to do homework too. I often wish I had more time for my business.
I have so many ideas of new products, which I will one day get around to making, when I have time.
I love what I do and I can’t wait till I have finished school so that all my time can be spent on my business.
What I am doing now is my dream job and I am so lucky that I have started now. I feel set up for life now, so when I finish school I can go straight into what I am doing now, but on a bigger scale.
What hobbies do you have?
My business is my hobby!
I really enjoy drawing, sewing and creating things, so I am super lucky that my job incorporates my hobbies.
Recently I have had a lot of fun with watercolour painting. I have lots of ideas about new products using watercolour.
I love the fact that I can try something new with art and craft and then if I really enjoy it then I can share it with others.
What have you enjoyed most about your business? What has been the main highlight in your business?
I have created some really great relationships with shops. I am so lucky that shops I stock are so supportive.
I love seeing people who have bought products and seeing them enjoying them. Most of all, I enjoy making my products.
What lessons have you learnt from growing your business?
I have found that I will create an idea of a new product and get so absorbed in it and not think about – Is this product cost effective? Is it too time consuming? Will people really like it and want to buy it?
I have learnt that sometimes I need to slow down and think about these questions and plan out what I am doing. I will, when I am making a new product, make a plan.
I will draw out the idea of what it will look like and how it will be presented – i.e Packaging.
I will write what things I will need to make this product and how much those costs will be.
Then I will figure out how much time it will take to make it – You need to be making money, otherwise it is wasted time and effort.
I have found I have become better at this over time. I have also found slowing down and doing lots of research helps a lot too.
What are your future plans?
Once I have finished school I want to continue stocking shops and selling my products online.
Ever since I was 8, I have always wanted to own my own shop where I make the majority of the things I sell. That is my biggest dream.
One thing I want to complete in my life is writing at least one book.
I really enjoy writing. When I was 11 I started writing a book.
It would be really nice to be able to finish it one day and become an author too. You never know, I may end up writing 10 books!
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business?
Do something that you are passionate about. Don’t do it for the money or you will eventually burn out and hate what you are doing.
Test the market – Make sure a product is not too expensive or people will not want to buy your product. Make sure that you are making money, though, or else it is a wasted effort.
Don’t spend lots of money straight away.
Look at the big picture of your business. See it succeeding in the future. Make choices for the long term of the business.
Find something you are talented at. Do something that is new and original and that people will want to buy, because it is different.
It is really nice when you have something that you are really good at, that you can share it with others.
Thanks so much Zoe for giving us these valuable tips. We wish you every success in your business. There’s no doubt Zoe is already attaining her dream and the best part? Zoe is doing what she loves most.
My name is Zoe Elmey and I am a 14-year-old entrepreneur from
Christchurch, NZ. I have a business called ‘Lots Of Love Art’ where I
sell greeting cards with my designs on them. I also sew baby bibs,
teething rings and burp cloths. My products are sold in 25 shops
around NZ and I have sold 5,300 products.
You can visit Zoe at Lots Of Love Art.
You are very welcome to connect with her on Instagram.
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