From starting out as a mere hair accessory-making pastime for her child, Little Lucy’s has turned into a personalised baby items store born and still growing bigger on Facebook
Interview by Katrina Carey
Owner: Shan Boston
Years Active: August 2011 to present
Facebook Page Likes: 3,032 and counting
I am a wife and mother of four. I am actually a nurse by profession, which I do first and foremost. Little Lucy’s is a business that I started three years ago – we just celebrated our third birthday – It originally started with hair accessories for little girls. I was making hair ties for my daughter Caitlyn. Then I was getting asked questions about making them for friends. We started our Facebook page three years ago.
SMSM: What does Little Lucy’s specialise in?
SB: I mainly do personalised pillows now. But that said, I always am trying to diversify the range of items that I make. Recently, I’ve gone from the personalised pillows and added quilted cot blankets. They match the pillows perfectly, so they can just buy it as a whole package for their bedroom, which has been quite popular.
SMSM: When it came to promoting your venture, what did you start with?
SB: Originally, it was word-of-mouth, because I was just doing it for friends of friends, and people would order items for birthdays and Christmas, it wasn’t really a business as such then. It was just something I was doing on the side, sort of a hobby. But then I decided to open up a Facebook page.
SMSM: Why did you go and start the Facebook page?
SB: People would always be asking me what I do. They would want to see photos of what I’ve made and that was a really good way of showing them because I would just say, “Go and have a look at my page, and you can see photos of what I’ve done.”
SMSM: And did that work well?
SB: Yes. It was really slow at the start because you need to get your name out there. But it worked well because whenever I made something for someone, they would then show others my page, and it went from there. It was a bit of a snowball effect. The main thing that probably boosted my page at the beginning was networking with other handmade businesses.
SMSM: And how did you do that? Was it on Facebook?
SB: It has all been through Facebook up until a couple of months ago where I’ve gone onto Instagram and Pinterest. My business has always just been Facebook. Because of the personalised items that I make, it’s hard for me to do markets because they’re personalised stuff. You can take them to show, but you can’t actually sell. I’ve never found markets to be very useful to me at all.
So it’s been mainly online with Facebook. The way the page originally became a bit bigger and more recognised was because I was involved in a showcase, which is where several other businesses come together and put their items in an album on a hosting page, that is all set around a certain theme. From there, you gain your likers and your audience and meet other business owners that are in the same sort of area.
SMSM: So would you say your Facebook page has been absolutely critical in building your Little Lucy’s as a way of getting your products promoted, but also in building the business and having access to your networks and contacts?
SB: Yes. Little Lucy’s wouldn’t be Little Lucy’s without Facebook.
SMSM: Did you have any concerns about having a Facebook page for your business when you were just starting out?
SB: Yes, because without the fans and without the fan base and the likers and whatever, you don’t get seen. So when you’re first starting out, there is that time when the interaction is not there. You just have to keep going at it. So that would be really the only worry that I had.
SMSM: And have you had any challenges along the way with the page or any problems?
SB: Not really. The main thing with me is just time-wise, like trying to get the time to make sure everything is ok [with the page] or when I’m posting a lot, keeping up with the interaction on my page.
SMSM: What have been your achievements with Little Lucy’s?
SB: Well, I guess my biggest achievement would be where we are now, I have sold internationally, and there are Little Lucy’s pillows in five countries. So that, for me, was probably one of the biggest!
SMSM: If you didn’t have a Facebook page, do you think that would have happened?
SB: No. Never. I don’t think I would have even started pillows if it weren’t for my page, because I was just always trying to look for avenues to build.
SMSM: So has your Facebook page helped you to hone in on a particular product that you’re working on?
SB: Absolutely. The reason that I originally started pillows was because I had an unusual name, so, from my growing up, I would always see everybody else’s name on those little license plates and cups, etcetera.
SMSM: What’s something that you like about using Facebook for your business?
SB: It’s so easy. I have the app (Facebook Page Manager) on my phone, so I can do it wherever I am. There are limits to what you can do with the phone, but still, I do most of it on there. Yes, it’s easy, and you can have a bit of fun as well.
SMSM: What is your business model and do you take orders on Facebook?
SB: Yes. I have an email address for Little Lucy’s, but it’s mainly just done through Facebook messaging. People just find it easier to message on the Page. And I get a lot of questions on the posts and items on the page.
SMSM: Do you have a website?
SB: No, not yet. I’m actually really, really wanting to do that. Just another avenue I guess because a handmaiden friend of mine asked the question the other day, “What would happen if Facebook didn’t exist tomorrow? What would happen to your business if Facebook didn’t exist tomorrow?”
SMSM: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
SB: I’m just going to see how it goes. I just want to keep building. Ideally I would love to be able to do this full-time and have a business with a shop front.
Recently we were a part of “Collaborate for a Cause,” an initiative of a Townsville lady who has a fantastic Facebook page. C4AC is now in its fourth year this year. Together with over 670 Facebook businesses we raised over $50,000 for 173 Australian charities, which is a phenomenal amount. In over two days, that amount of money was raised for all Australian charities. Being part of that is special.
I know that having a Facebook page is about promoting your own page and to sell your own items, but if I was to help another friend (who has a Facebook business) or find another great handmade page, by sharing something that they’ve just made, a special event or upcoming sale, it all turns around, and then they do it back for you.
SMSM: So moving forward, how do you see Social Media promoting your business into the future?
SB: Oh, I think it will always be the main part of it because that’s how I originally started the business, and to me it’s the only way I’m going to be able to maintain it.
Little Lucy’s Top Tips For Using Social Media For Your Business:
- Ask for help –“Get as much help as you can to build it up because it is hard to do it by yourself. It is good to network with other businesses, but that might not work for some businesses, but for me it has,” Shan shares.
- Keep learning– “I’m slowly learning all the time. I’ve recently learnt that if I was to get a picture from someone – with their Little Lucy’s pillow – I tag them in it because then it goes to their audience,” Shan adds.
“All the little tricks and stuff that I’ve learnt along the way that gets the reach out there – [they are valuable] because reach is the biggest thing. I ran a competition recently, and I had a friend help me admin my page so that there was extra movement on the page,” she advises.
For enquiries on how to order personalised items for the little one in your life, contact Little Lucy’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
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