Folksy Ltd

Would like a new direction - need your advice please

(Yvette ) #1

I have been selling for about 2 years now, and although i don’t make enough for a living, its has been the best thing i have ever done. I still get a massive grin on my face when someone buys something off me :smiley: but as a single mum i have to do a day job to pay the bills, and up to now that has been fine. A few years ago i was a carer, i loved that job but had to take time out when my eldest died in a car crash. Over the last few years i have been working in a shop, but i wanted to go back into caring so applied for a job and was so happy when they said i had got the job but had to wait for the DBS and references to be cleared. Everything had but a reference came back wrong. So they took the job off me :frowning: it turns out my current boss said some horrible things. I have seen different people about it so it is a ongoing thing, but i have to still work there, and it is so hard knowing how the boss really thinks about me.
So i have been thinking as i can sew do people buy bedding, i thought if i make cot and single bed size duvet covers and pillow cases to start with do people buy them ? As i am self employed with my knitting maybe i could give up the day job and just be self employed, but need something that i can sell and live off. I get tax credits but do they give you that if you are just self employed ? Sorry to go on i had to say the first part to make the second understandable.

(Liz Clark) #2

I think to be honest if you’re looking into making something you can live off, you need to do some serious research. Can you sell items that pay you an hourly rate, a living wage? As I’m sure you;re already aware, handmade is a niche market and getting regular customers that will pay a premium for handmade goods, which you can make a living from, is a hard nut to crack, hence many handmade crafters doing it as a “hobby” or to supplement a full time job.

I completely understand why you want to leave your job and strike out on your own (it’s awful your boss said some horrible things in a reference - I hope you get that sorted), but get your business head on and think clearly whether this is workable. I find Dixie Nicholls very good when helping get my business head on, so have a read as she may help you too.

(Rachel) #3


You can go to your local DWP or job centre and tell them that you are looking to be self employed. With a bit of luck they will refer you to somewhere like the enterprise trust or chamber of commerce who will work with you to support you into self employment. With this in mind you can then ask the JCP to print out an “in work calculation” sheet for you. This will give a breakdown of benefits you would be able to get and be self employed - like the New Enterprise Allowance, Universal Credits or Working Tax Credits.

Your boss sounds awful - I was under the impression that “bad” references were not allowed, it might be worth looking into this.

Good luck Rachel

(Kim May) #4


I’m so sorry for you that your boss gave you a bad reference. If you believe that the things he said were untrue and have harmed your chances of future employment, then you have a really good case to sue him. Check this.

You can get tax credits if you are self employed as my husband and I did this when he first set up his business. They just want to know how much you’re paying yourself. They didn’t really ask for anything more than that. Good luck with your venture and hope you sort you’re boss out. x

(Sasha Garrett) #5

I went from being employed (drug development chemist) to self employed (silver smith/ jeweller previously a hobby) as a result of (multiple) redundancy and you really need to look into the financials of it. There are on line benefits calculators ( and you need to figure out if these will cover your living expenses - do not assume that you will make any more money than your knitting currently provides and fill them in based on that income. It is also worth taking into account that with the change in government there may well be a change in benefits - could you survive if the benefits dropped by 10% or your living expenses suddenly went up? Being employed also has the benefit of a pension scheme, holiday allowance, sick leave and they pay some of your NI contributions (which if you want to keep your full state pension you will need to consider paying if you are self employed).
You’ve been selling your knitting for a couple of years now so you know how hard that is, you will need to put the same amount of effort into selling any other product lines you offer if not more if you want to make a living from it. Yes people might want the items you are suggesting but how are you going to attract the ones that are prepared to pay the premium you need? Can you compete with the prices on the high street? Christmas markets are a lucrative time of year but require a lot of time and effort so what will you do about child care whilst you are making the most of all the shoppers? How much money will you have to put in at the beginning for materials etc to get the new product lines going (and could you afford it if you gave up the day job)?
Sorry to put a dampener on your dream but I have very low living costs and after 2 years of self employment with a healthy growth in turn over I am still a long way off supporting myself.
Good luck