Marli is one of my longest business friends and runs Olivia Morgan Ltd. We actually met when we were both working as Designers for another Small Business. It has been incredible to watch Marli grow not only as a business but as a person over the years. She is always there to listen to my rants, whether it is about customers or stock not turning up (now that's stressful!) and she is the only one who gets it. She is the most amazing business owner I know, and I cannot wait to see all the things she achieves in the future.
How did you get started?
I’ve always been a creative person and had a love for art and design. When at Uni to study printed textiles, I realised I wanted to work for myself and put my name to my designs and not to design for bigger companies and not be recognised for it. So soon after graduating I started selling cards and candles on Etsy, as these were the two things I could easily make in my flat after work! When I got accepted onto not on the high street, I decided to leave my job and start my full time on my business. Since then I haven’t looked back! Nearly five years on and I have grown and developed my range of products considerably. I love pattern and colour and I try to incorporate this into my ideas.
What is your favourite thing about running a business?
Being your own boss and not working the mundane routine of 9-5. Every day is different you can be flexible with working hours. Despite working all hours of the day you can still then find time to take a few days off in the week every now and then. As long as you get all the work you need to do done, then the “9-5” timings go out the door which I love. Saying that I feel like I am constantly working and thinking about work, but the pros outway the cons. Of course the main thing is being able to be creative and put my name to everything I sell, every product has been thought up from an idea and then gone through doodles, designs and testing, all the way through to the styling of the photography.
What is, in your opinion, the most important thing to remember when running a business?
Be you. Do what you feel is right for you and your business. Try not to get bogged down by comparing your business to someone else’s. Remember you have built your brand, it is your baby, it will always be different in so many ways. As long as your business represents your dream and makes you profit then that’s all you really need to worry about! So don’t forget to celebrate that you have created a unique business that is the way it it because of you. If you feel lost and unmotivated, take a step back, take a break and breathe. Keep going with your plan and vision! Also another big thing to remember is to never take anything to heart!
What do you consider your biggest business achievement?
I still feel my biggest achievement was being accepted onto not on the highstreet, nearly five years ago. As this has really helped my business get to where it is today. But I am so proud that in under five years I have designed, made and packed up over 40,000 orders combined on Etsy and Noths. (With the help of my elf helpers of course!) All these orders have meant that I have been able to live off what I love doing, and that’s by far the biggest achievement for me and my little business.
Tell us a fact about your business: (this can be how much sellotape you go through, or a funny fact people wouldn’t know - anything!)
The only thing I miss about working from a home studio is having my cat Mini as company! I love having a separate premises for work, it keeps the work/life balance a bit more balanced. But I wish I would bring her with me every day!
What is your favourite product / service you offer?
That’s a tough choice! However I have always loved candles and they were my first proper product other than cards so I still have a soft spot for them. I do love my square scented candles, they smell divine and they have pretty pattern on every side with a personalised message too. So they would definitely be my favourite current product, great for Birthdays and Anniversaries. You can shop Marli's candle range here.
What is your number 1 advice for someone thinking of starting a business?
Running your own business is stressful in the bad times and also the good! It will never be an easy journey so be prepared to work hard and never doubt yourself! Just go for it, you never know till you try and you learn on the job!