We love learning all about the inspirational ways our customers use print to help their business flourish. So, to get a little more insight into some of our customers’ businesses, we went to visit Megan Beardsmore, Founder of the Sheffield Skincare Company.
During our visit, we asked Megan how she got into the natural skincare business, her top tips for making customers feel special, and what her favourite print products are for boosting brand identity and business.
- Tell us a little about your business – what makes it unique?
We specialise in natural skincare and I’ve created all of the formulations myself. As well as having all-natural products, we tend to name them after Sheffield ‘isms’ like road names, pub names, Yorkshire slang and local phrases.
It’s sometimes a little tricky to think of new ones, but it’s a very big selling point – especially for people who have moved away from Sheffield and come back to visit. So, things like my ‘ee-by-gum soap’ and ‘wesh thi face’ face wash do really well.
- How much of an uplift do you feel you get from a localised name?
A lot I think. It sounds really weird, but the name ‘Sheffield Skincare Company’ came to me in a dream – and I woke up and thought “nah someone must already have this name!” So, I searched and searched and there’s absolutely nothing so I thought, “right, that’s the one!”
I found out later (after I bought the website and had chosen the name) that you had to get permission to use the name ‘Sheffield’ in a business’ name. That meant I had to write to Cutlers’ Hall because – going back to the Steel industry – it’s a protected name.
I wrote a letter to them and they informed me that it was absolutely fine. As long as you’re producing and making your products in Sheffield, you can use the name. It also means that if I started making it outside of Sheffield, I wouldn’t be allowed to keep my business’ name.
- What inspired you to start-up?
It was a hobby at first. I was a Teaching Assistant for 20 years, but used to produce my products on the side for gifts and presents for my friends and family. But lots of people kept saying “why don’t you go into business with your products?” So, I started to look into it and it’s quite a minefield; skincare, there’s a lot of rules and regulations and a lot of record keeping to keep on top of as well.
Once I’d put all of that into place, I originally started by making my products at home and selling them online. Then things changed a bit at work, so I thought, “right, I’m going to give Sheffield Skincare Company a go!”
My first real introduction into it was a pop-up shop in the local Winter Gardens which you could hire out for a month and just try things out, and it went really, really well. And then the guy that owned the café next door to the pop-up said to me one day “I’ve got a shop if you’re interested”. I just jumped in and thought right let’s do it! And it went from there…
It was really a hobby to start and I need a new hobby now!
- What print products do you use and how do you use them?
I’ve got a roller banner at the moment, but I’m also a huge fan of instantprint’s gift cards, reward cards, business cards and leaflets.
- What made you choose these print products?
I go through quite a lot of business cards – especially when I do fairs and things like that. I also put a business card into any gift baskets that I make and add them into orders that I send out too. They’re great for spreading the word and making sure our customers have got all of our information to hand.
The gift cards are also great! We don’t put an amount on them when they’re printed. Instead what we do is we assign a code and just write the amount on ourselves – so they can really have any amount they like. This allows much more flexibility for our customers and also means they make perfect Christmas and Birthday presents too.
- What results have you seen from your print? Has there been any benefits your business had as a direct result?
A lot of people love the roller banner when I’m out doing fairs. There’s a lot of vital information on there that customers can easily see from a distance. This means that, when they’re walking past lots of stalls, they can see who you are straight away. I always have this on the outside of the stall and angled inwards so I can easily guide people towards all of my products.
And we’ve had great success with the gift cards, as they also work great for community and charitable donations too, like in raffles. Whoever wins gets to pop in and choose a whatever product they like.
I also use the loyalty cards in a rewards scheme, which works so well. It lets people know that, when they buy something, they can return any of the empty pots that contained product back to us and get a reward stamp.
- How do you make your customers feel special?
We’ve got quite good links with our customers and community. We’re also quite good on the social media side of things; we have a lot of regular offers and we’re really responsive.
We also support our local community by providing a 10% discount for students and NHS workers, that I advertise outside of my shop on an A-board. Last week we actually had 10% off all purchases to celebrate our birthday, and we did free delivery via our website for the whole week as well.
- If you could give any business starting out a top tip, what would it be?
I’d say marketing is a big thing. I’ve just joined the Elite Business Academy which is extremely useful. Things like advertising in magazines are a bit difficult to track in terms of return, so I prefer to use tools like Facebook and Google Ads; once you know who your customers are, you can target advertisements to them, whereas in a magazine you can spend quite a bit but then struggle with tracking the result of your marketing efforts.
I’d say one key watch out is to look very carefully at your marketing and trust your gut feeling on what you feel will work for your business – always question people or agencies who make claims on their product/results.
I’d say my other top tip would be to join a network or community of likeminded people where you can get support, help and tips from lots of different people. There’s always someone you can just send a message to that will help you out – and it won’t cost you anything.
- What drew you into ordering print for Sheffield Skincare Company?
I used to print everything myself initially but then decided I needed to get this done professionally. It just looks better, and puts time back in your hands. As a business owner, your time’s quite precious isn’t it? So, if you can afford it, get someone professional to print your materials – it’s really important that your marketing looks the part alongside your products.
- How did you find the whole instantprint experience?
Really easy. One of the reasons instantprint is my go-to online printer is because it’s easy to do without too much involvement. You upload your artwork, you get a proof and then once it’s approved you’re done! It’s just easy, and you get that professional result at the end of it.