Friday 20 July 2012

Handmade: A Lifestyle Business?

I always disliked the term "lifestyle business".  I'm not sure why: maybe because it suggests a business isn't a "real" business or possibly because it conjures up (for me, anyway) images of yummy mummies more interested in wine, holidays and posh shoes than either their business or their children.

But during a phone conversation with someone trying to sell me advertising, which I didn't want, didn't need and probably couldn't afford, I mentioned that I had more than enough orders already and couldn't cope with any more.  My business isn't about trying to get as many orders as possible.  I make everything myself and there are quite obvious limits on what I can produce (even though it feels like a mini factory at times)

clocks waiting to be finished - my mini production line

The salesperson replied: "So, it's a lifestyle business, then..."  

Is it?

I look around me and wonder what sort of lifestyle it's all about!

The studio is messy.  The garden always needs weeding and the grass always needs cutting.  There's not really time for holidays, my shoes are splattered with paint and I can't drink wine as it gives me migraines.  I'm not a yummy mummy, not even a glamorous granny.  Bad hair days are the norm around here!

Can you sense a but on the way?  Here it is...

But I can get up in a morning at any time I choose.  Work in my pyjamas if I want to.  Babysit my granddaughter at short notice without having to ask for time off.  Wander down the garden and pick up an egg for lunch, still warm from the chicken (my toddler granddaughter is fascinated by the eggs as well as the chickens).  If I have a migraine coming on, I can lie down for a while and go back to work when I feel up to it.  I can take my elderly parents shopping or for lunch.  I can go the the gym at off-peak times.  I can take silly but pretty photos in my overgrown garden like this one of this purple clematis getting "lost" in the shrubbery but looking all the more lovely for it:

I can also get bogged down with work, have too much to do and suddenly realise it's six o' clock, people are wanting to be fed and I need another couple of hours to finish off today's tasks.  But I can work into the evening to make up for time off in the day (or when I have a heavier workload than usual).

It's far from idyllic but I would guess at least part of the reason I work for myself is the flexible lifestyle it can bring. 

So yes, it's a lifestyle business.

I think I need to work on the lifestyle part a bit more, though! 

What about you?  Is your business partly about lifestyle?  Is a handmade business always partly about lifestyle?  Which bits of the lifestyle are the bits you like?  Or don't like? And do you have any tips?


Planet Penny said...

I really like this post Wendy, and it's made me think quite a lot about what I do. I suppose the 'lifestyle' tag makes one think that a 'lifestyle' is all about all the best bits, when in fact it's just life! But we are flexible,and that's a big plus!

Ginx Craft said...

I'm not too sure about the words lifestyle or business for what I do. I have only been crafting in a way to try and make money for about 6 months, so I feel a lot of what I am doing is learning at present. How to write a pattern, How to make a blog, How to photograph something well. How to be relaxed about selling at a craft fair. I do feel that I am having an incredible amount of fun. But as I work part-time it is a bit tricky trying to balance things. But the great thing is if you don't make anything or post anything for a few days that is totally fine.

Carolee Crafts said...

Web definitions

Lifestyle businesses are businesses that are set up and run by their founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.

In that case yes mine is a lifestyle business but also I have a need to create verging on an obsession so not sure what they would call that!