Today we are doing something different, speaking to local business owner Jo from Cheeki Chops. Jo runs the handmade craft business, focusing on baby clothing and accessories, from her base in Portsmouth.
PW- Hey Jo! How’s it going?
Hi Rob, I’m good thank you, very busy with orders and getting ready for Christmas fairs! How are you?
PW- Great, thank you! So, first thing’s first. For those who don’t know yet, how would you sum up who you are and what you do?
I run a handmade business, located in Southsea, Portsmouth. I make handmade baby accessories, such as bibs, taggies, reusable baby wipes and facial wipes, and much more! I test out all my items as I go, as I am a mum to 4 children! I have an 18, 17, 9 and 1 year- old! The 1 year- old is a great little product tester!!!
PW- What was your inspiration to start the shop?
My inspiration for Cheeki Chops (actually named by my 9 year- old daughter!!!) was that I found my life had changed very drastically one day last year, I had found myself in a situation where I was no longer able to work as a teaching assistant in a Autism Provision. I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to do, and whether I could find something that fitted in with my family. I searched inside myself for a long while, and realised I had always loved art and creativity, so what i’m doing now is feeding my passion for being creative! If you’re doing what you love, it makes a huge difference to your mental health and well being. It’s hard work and long hours fitting it in around the children’s activities, but I’m here for them all, and most importantly I feel I have found my ‘thing’ ! It only took 39 years !!!! haha
PW- It can be hard to sell items as a local trader, especially in the days where Amazon and eBay are the “easy way out” for people looking for gifts. How do you ensure you stand out amongst the competition, and who have you found to be your best clientele?
This is a tricky one to answer! I do list on Ebay, just to try and keep things ticking over. I also have my own website, listed on Google business, etc….However, I try to stand out from others by offering good customer service. This is so so important, as without customers, you’re nothing. I will always try to help in any way I can, it’s going that extra mile I guess that makes Cheeki Chops special. If you purchase through big companies you don’t get the personalised touch. You know that buying through a local seller, such as myself, you make a huge difference, you’re helping a family. Family is everything, it certainly is to me, and life is short and can be taken from you at any time, so you have to follow your dreams. It turns out this is my dream.
PW- Of all of your products to date, which one is your favourite and why?
My favourite product at the moment has to be the handmade, reusable, washable baby wipes. They are great for saving you pennies and let’s face it, when you become a parent, your money is not your own anymore! So if you can save money in any way it’s a bonus – it’s great for the environment, it’s a win-win!
PW- In this kind of economy and industry, it can be tough to feel like you’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
I have a fantastic, supportive group of friends and we are a close family, they are always there to encourage me and give me lots of words of wisdom when needed. I think it is a very tough business and in the first year (which I am in) you don’t make a profit, in fact every penny goes straight back into the business. As long as you keep looking forward and keep at it, you WILL get there ( I hope!!!!!!!). Do lots of homework and research well…. and never give up, get fire in your belly and give it your all!!!!!
PW- And final question! It’s more of an invitation actually. Use the next few sentences to self-promote the hell out of what you’re up to, where we can find you online etc, no judgement!
You can find Cheeki Chops handmade baby accessories at www.cheekichops.co.uk Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google business. You will find unique baby accessories, full bibs, bandana bibs, long sleeve self feeding bibs, reusable facial wipes, reusable baby wipes, Christmas stockings, hair bows and much more!!!!!
I will be attending:
Milton village hall on the 13th December
Milton park school Christmas fair on the 14th December
Hilsea blue lagoon Christmas fair on 15th December!
Pop in and say Hello! and see the goods for yourself to make up your own mind…. you won’t be disappointed!