Chesterfield business owner launched successful online stationery store after she was placed on furlough
A Chesterfield business owner set up a successful online shop after she was placed on furlough by her workplace during the ongoing pandemic.
Laurel Mae, from Chesterfield, decided to pursue her passion for designing stationery when the Covid-19 crisis hit and she was left with more time on her hands after her employer put her on furlough.
The 25-year-old, who had previously sold her creations while juggling a retail job, initially set up Laurel Mae Art on Etsy as a side hustle to get her through lockdown.
But the business quickly became Laurel’s main priority after her products proved successful with customers and she ordered a Cricut Explore cutting machine which allowed the entrepreneur to scale up her operation and make more new and varied goods.
Laurel explained how being taken off work when the pandemic hit impacted her.
“It was tough but I wanted to make the best of lockdown,” she said.
“I wanted something to take my mind off things and I’d always toyed with the idea of opening a shop on Etsy.
"Being on furlough seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a chance and go for it.”
The Chesterfield business owner first created custom products as part of her online store, but was keen to offer customers a wider range of designs and products, such as stickers as part of her expansion.
Laurel added: “Ever since I opened my Etsy shop last year I wanted to scale up.
"I’d heard about Cricut from other people and it was on my wish-list for ages.
"Print designs are quite a niche audience.
"So when I started creating and selling my stickers I noticed I was able to reach a whole new audience with my designs and I saw a huge increase in sales.”
The success of Laurel’s online business venture took her by surprise as she is now busy manufacturing illustrated notepads, bookmarks and bins.
“I wanted to be able to scale up the business, but I’m completely shocked by how quickly it has grown,” she added.
“I’m really proud of how successful this first year has been, and I’m so excited to see where the business goes next.”