This week on the podcast, I spoke with Emilie Otto, who is the owner of House of Hobby, an art studio for budding artists in Perth.
House of Hobby hosts up to seven workshops a week and the business has created a vibrant community of hobbyists who love to come together and share their passion for art.
In the podcast, we talk about:
…and loads, loads more.
If you've ever wanted to own and run a brick and mortar creative business, then this is the podcast you need to listen to!
If you love this episode, please drop us a DM on Instagram @redplatypuscreative
Feel free to take a screenshot of the episode and share it, along with why you loved it.
Want to find out more about what we do?
(Heads up - I'm a content strategist and PR consultant who helps businesses tell their stories clearly and consistently to make more conversion$.)
You can check us out at www.redplatypuscreative.com
Or book in a free call and let's discuss we might be able to help you.
**0:00:50** - (Carmen): Hi, Emily, and welcome to the committed creative Podcast.
**0:00:54** - (Emilie): Hi, Carmen. Thanks for having me.
**0:00:56** - (Carmen): So, like with all guests, the first question I always ask is, what is it you do and what is your business?
**0:01:03** - (Emilie): Yeah, so my business is House of Hobby and I help people make the time for their creative hobbies or find a new one.
**0:01:11** - (Carmen): Awesome. So you how did you get into this space? Because as I understand it, you bought the business, didn't you? A while ago?
**0:01:18** - (Emilie): Yeah. So it's been three years now since I've had House of Hobby as a business. But before then I was a freelance graphic designer. And like any kind of freelancer, I was feeling a bit isolated and overworked and everything like that and I just wasn't making the time for what I really enjoyed doing, which was the fun creative stuff, experimenting, painting. So then I started teaching watercolor workshops and just did that, like, on the side as a bit of side hustle, and then started teaching those four house of hobby when that first came about with the previous owner and just kind of continued along that path until the opportunity came up to buy the business during COVID in June 2020. And now we're here.
**0:02:08** - (Carmen): Wow. So obviously it's a face to face business where you don't do any online workshops, do you? It's mainly all person in person.
**0:02:17** - (Emilie): Yes, that's correct. All in person experiences. We feel like our strong point is bringing people together and as we were talking about before, helping people make time for themselves. And we find the best way to do that. Although we are in 2023 and everything's online and wonderful in person experiences is where we really thrive.
**0:02:38** - (Carmen): Yes, totally agree. But what about buying that business during COVID because obviously there wasn't much face to face time. Was that quite a daunting prospect?
**0:02:47** - (Emilie): Yes and no. It was a really good thing to happen and it was also a really scary thing to happen. So for me, it gave me, I guess, because we couldn't run workshops during that time. And for me, all decisions I make with business is very heart focused and very passion focused of just what I love doing and kind of just keep following that and hopefully it leads to something good, which it has. And when I bought the business, there was no, I guess, light at the end of the tunnel as to when we could reopen and start hanging out with people again.
**0:03:25** - (Emilie): But it gave me a really good way to get to know the business. So I was very overwhelmed. Like, my gosh, I've bought this business like I had know nothing about it. I need to figure out how all the systems work, how everything's set up and doing all these things that I didn't do before. So it gave me a really good opportunity to figure that out. And then I think it was about two months after that ran our first workshop again and I felt across everything not super overwhelmed. So it was, I think, a blessing in disguise.
**0:04:01** - (Emilie): That's amazing.
**0:04:02** - (Carmen): So before you bought the business, though, you were working as a teacher within the business, is that right?
**0:04:07** - (Emilie): That is correct. So I had another little side, like a paint and sip side hustle and I did do lots of online workshops there, but that completely burnt me out, funnily enough. So when I came into the space again, I was like, right, I need a break. So that's just not going to happen for me for the moment.
**0:04:27** - (Carmen): Have you always wanted to own a business or was it more that the stars aligned and the opportunity arose? So that's why you bought the business?
**0:04:35** - (Emilie): I think I've always wanted to own a business. Like, I was one of those kids that always loved playing shop. I didn't know what I wanted to do after uni, so I did a commerce degree and I've always just really liked that kind of business world and if I didn't have a business, I'm starting another side hustle or another thing going on. So it's something I really enjoy doing.
**0:04:57** - (Carmen): So, as you mentioned previously, you were a graphic designer, freelance graphic designer. How many of those skills have you brought over into House of Hobby?
**0:05:06** - (Emilie): Yeah, I feel like my skills as a graphic designer is one of my biggest assets because to have nice graphics, it can cost money like it is an outlay for your business. And I feel really thankful that I can do all of that within my business and have a very quick turnaround and it's me that's doing it. So that way I can make those changes and do the things that I need without having to communicate what I'm after or having to get a big bill at the end after all the changes that I've made.
**0:05:41** - (Carmen): And I know that on social media because I follow you on socials and I love all the little art snippets you do of your painting and everything like that. Were you into watercolors before you bought House of Hobby or is that something that slowly developed over time?
**0:05:56** - (Emilie): Yeah, so watercolors was probably my first hobby that got me back into being creative. So before I was working as a freelance graphic designer, I was in the corporate world trying to climb the corporate ladder type thing, didn't have any Hobies and I was a very creative child. And then there was just this point where switch flicked and I on the way home I bought a watercolor palette and just went home and did some paintings. So watercolors was that first one for me, which I thought was really important to share with other people because it really affected me and helped me along my journey.
**0:06:36** - (Carmen): Some people say that if you turn your hobby into a business, you can lose the joy of the art. Do you ever feel burnt out from being so creative all the time.
**0:06:48** - (Emilie): I think it's different doing something for someone versus teaching someone. Like my business when I was a freelancer, it was constantly doing things to a brief and constantly doing things for other people. Not of my own creative ideas necessarily. It was just using my skills to execute their ideas. But I find, like, I've always enjoyed teaching people because I'm like, no, I want you to feel empowered to be able to do it yourself.
**0:07:15** - (Emilie): So therefore I love showing people how to do something so then they can bring their own ideas and explore their own creativity.
**0:07:23** - (Carmen): That's beautiful. What kind of feedback do you get from people who come along to House of Hobby? Have they often done a lot of art and craft before? Or do you find sometimes they're complete beginners?
**0:07:34** - (Emilie): We mainly cater to complete beginners. So my favorite feedback that I get is like, oh, I haven't done anything creative for years. This has felt so nice to reconnect with my creativity. That's the absolute favorite one. Or it's like especially like busy mums or busy business owners like yourself. Like, oh, I love doing this stuff, I just never make the time for myself. So it's just really nice to be able to foster that environment for people to be creative guilt free and just focus on it and have a good time doing it.
**0:08:12** - (Carmen): It's so true because I often think to myself, oh, I'd love to do some painting, I'd love to get back because I quite like painting. But then because my paints are just sitting at home in a cupboard, but I don't really get them out. But if you actually book a class, then it's like going to the gym. If you just make promise yourself that you're going to go to the gym every morning, it's not as effective as if you're going to the gym to meet a personal trainer who's going to train you every morning. Like you're more likely to get out of bed. Right?
**0:08:40** - (Carmen): I feel like it's the same with getting back into your creative. If you book a class, you're actually going to show up and make the time and space for it. So for people who aren't aware of House of Hobby, what are the kinds of classes that you offer for your.
**0:08:53** - (Emilie): Yeah, so we run anything kind of think creative, like hands on hobbies. So we do things like painting. We've got watercolor this weekend. We're doing an embroidery this week, pottery, candle making, resin, all those kind of like artsy, kind of visual art type things. So anything that you can see and touch and make, we do that.
**0:09:21** - (Carmen): And what can customers expect when they come to a class? Do you sometimes find people are a little bit nervous about maybe they haven't painted since they're in primary school? Do you find that people are a little bit nervous about coming to class and having to paint in front of people, and they might be worried about, are people going to judge my creativity? Or perhaps they think, a lack of creativity, even though I'm sure that's not true. But people have these misconceptions.
**0:09:48** - (Emilie): Yeah. So one thing which I love doing, and I've made sure that House of Hobby is that I guess that safety net and that comfort for people is because I'm the creative one with all of my friends, and I love being creative. But I heard this absolute horror story from a friend of mine. She wasn't creative. She was just a beginner. And she went along to a paint and sit where they were all painting, like van Gogh Starry Nights or whatever.
**0:10:17** - (Emilie): And she was so mortified she came next time I caught up with her, she was like, Anne, I had such a bad experience. Like, I'm such a bad painter. And mine just looked so terrible because everyone compared their paintings at the end of the workshop, and I felt so disheartened. And from that point, this was well before I bought House of Hobby. I made it my mission to not ever make anyone create the same thing in a workshop. So I don't want anyone to have to compare their art because I just think it's generally amazing that they're making the time to be creative because it does take so much. So in our workshops, we like to inspire people's independent creativity. So we'll always have lots of color options for people or show a few different variations to ensure that no two artworks the same.
**0:11:07** - (Emilie): So it's hard to compare and be like, oh, her's really good, or Mine looks terrible. So everyone feels confident like that. And I always like to make sure people are feeling as comfortable as possible when they come to a workshop because I know it can be out of people's comfort zones. So we've always got one of our team members that's there to greet you at the door if you don't know anyone. Like, we always like to sit the singles, we say, together on a table. So people that come by themselves, they'll have other people in similar boats and just make sure everyone's as comfortable as possible.
**0:11:42** - (Carmen): That's lovely. Do you find that people come back again? Do you get a lot of repeat business?
**0:11:48** - (Emilie): Yes, we've got our regulars, which we love. And they always I think now they know each other as well because they always come to the new workshops. So, yeah, really thankful to have a great, great group of regular people, regular hobbyists that come along to our workshop.
**0:12:04** - (Carmen): I love that. So you mentioned new workshops there. How often do you refresh the workshop plan and schedule?
**0:12:11** - (Emilie): Yeah, so we've got our core workshops, which are popular ones that we always run, like our watercolor, pottery, candle making, painting, and then I try and bring on a new hobby at least every quarter, and sometimes every month we'll have, like, ad hoc ones pop up. So, for example, this month we did knitting for the first time, and that'll probably be like a flash in the pan. We'll do once like, a year in winter, and then, like, we've just bought on stained glass. So that was the workshop that I bought on last quarter. And I'll probably bring in a new one similar next quarter.
**0:12:49** - (Carmen): That's so cool. How do you come up with the ideas for the new Hobbies? Is it other artists who approach you or do you see stuff and feel inspired?
**0:12:57** - (Emilie): A bit of both. So sometimes the hardest part is trying to find a creative, which is what we call our creative partners. So if someone slides into our DMs and they've got something which is which we're interested in hosting, or people have requested that we host, we'll be like, yes, excellent, come on in, let's have a meeting. Otherwise, if I can't find anyone to do it and I think the hobby is really cool, then I will upskill either myself or someone in the team to be able to facilitate and inspire other people to try out that hobby.
**0:13:30** - (Carmen): That's awesome. So what about the day in the life of Emily? What does it look like? Because running an art business, some people probably feel that you just sit there painting all day, but I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to it than that. What does the day in the Life of Emily look like?
**0:13:47** - (Emilie): Yeah, so day in the life of me, I try and live as balanced a life as possible so that's, you know, I think creativity is a core part of that, but also, you know, looking after my well, my overall health, and also ensuring that I've been social and spending family time. So in the morning, I'll get up and I'll go to the gym and work out. I just find that it gives me the best frame of mind. Then I like to spend a good half an hour just doing my own creative projects, just playing around without any intention or what's it called, objective. Just to have fun doing something creative and then recky and all that.
**0:14:33** - (Emilie): And I'll walk my dog with my partner. That's a bit of family time in the morning and then head into the studio. And then it's just organizing all the workshops, doing the business admin side of things, doing creative stuff if we need to. But there's always like an objective behind it. So, for example, this afternoon we've got a new watercolor workshop that we're launching. So I'll pop together, like, guides for everyone and do some artwork up for the website and things like that. And that's pretty much the day. And then in the afternoon, it's just chill out.
**0:15:10** - (Carmen): That's awesome. So how many teachers do you have working in your team now?
**0:15:15** - (Emilie): Yeah, so I think there's about eight or so teachers, and so do they.
**0:15:23** - (Carmen): Just work on a freelance type basis. Like, did you find it easy growing your team?
**0:15:28** - (Emilie): Yeah, so I'm a very loyal person and I find to keep a standard of workshops. So I'm very particular in terms of how things are delivered and how our teachers come across and make people feel, et cetera, et cetera. So our core workshops, we've got our core group of creatives for that. So it's always the ones that we'll go back to. And then I'll have some people in the team that can be backups in case they're sick.
**0:16:01** - (Emilie): But for example, say we've got a bespoke workshop, like we had cupcake decorating last week, then I'll go out and find someone through recommendation that can run a good workshop for us because they won't, you know, we'll use them every now and then, not necessarily all the time. So the ones we use all the time? Yes, core workshop and kind of like hand selected that group and then from recommendations, usually from that core group is where the other posts come from.
**0:16:32** - (Carmen): Cool. So did you have to give much training to the core group to understand the business? I guess, and maybe just the values of the business, like you mentioned, that you like them to make your customers feel a certain way. Was there any kind of guidance for that when they started?
**0:16:50** - (Emilie): Yeah, so we've got an onboarding process to come onto the House of Hobby team or if people are doing workshops with us, there's a whole deck that I've put together just around our values, why we do things, why it's so important, and it's all those things I touched on with you earlier. And people are taking the time to get creative, so I want to make sure that that time that they chose to spend with us is as best it could possibly be and that everyone's across that, so that way I don't have to have any awkward conversations.
**0:17:25** - (Carmen): That's awesome. Yeah, because you have some amazing I think your Google reviews, they're all five stars. So people are obviously enjoying the whole process. How do people find out about you? What is your biggest marketing asset, would you say?
**0:17:40** - (Emilie): Yeah, well, there's a bit of Instagram and we are quite tightly linked with Eventbrite as well, so they do help us. And our mailing list is actually our biggest, probably marketing tool. So we just really take the time on making sure we're getting new eyes on that.
**0:17:59** - (Carmen): I'm glad you say that because I feel like that's one marketing tool that businesses often overlook, or they feel that they don't have time to invest in that, but it can be so valuable. How often do you send out your newsletter?
**0:18:12** - (Emilie): Once a week, consistently. So even the previous business owner, she was very like tasks happened on a certain time and then I kind of got into that rhythm of just continuing that consistency. So, yeah, our emails go at least once a week and I think this might be Inspo for other people. I think at least 75% of our ticket sales come from our mailing list. So it's definitely a priority and making.
**0:18:42** - (Carmen): Sure they're already a warm audience. Right, so they're looking to buy.
**0:18:46** - (Emilie): Yeah, I think that I think as well. Like I was thinking about this the other day. I think it's the consistency piece of it and just again, making it as easy for people to be able to buy from us as possible.
**0:18:58** - (Carmen): Yeah, because you're maintaining that visibility as well. So if you're reminded every week that you're there, then people are going to feel like they can trust you and trust your business. What kind of stuff do you put in your newsletter to get the good open rates?
**0:19:12** - (Emilie): Yeah, if that thing is just keeping it simple. So even things like email, what is it? The email subjects. I'm like, hey, new workshops inside it's nothing more complex than that. Then it will be a bit about what we've been working on that week or a little bit about how creativity is why it's so important to me and the team and things that takeaways of the week. And there's just workshops like here's what we have coming up and here's where you can click if you want more info or you want to buy the tickets.
**0:19:42** - (Carmen): Awesome. I love that. And you mentioned Instagram there too. Do you have like a social media planning process or anything like that to help you with your posts for Instagram?
**0:19:54** - (Emilie): Yeah, so we've got a girl on our team who does the marketing and PR for me, so she puts together monthly plans and is really passionate about social media. So I just let her run with it to be honest. And she seems to hit it.
**0:20:13** - (Carmen): Absolutely. So does she request certain styles of content from you that you need to create?
**0:20:20** - (Emilie): Yes, because it's all about knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. And for me, I love being creative, so I'll just forget and I won't prioritize doing things like social media. And she's very good at being like, hey, you need to do this. And we've got a system now where it's like, okay, you need to create this, it's in your calendar, do it and post it. And that seems to work really well.
**0:20:44** - (Carmen): So would you ever batch create or do you just do it kind of when it's in your calendar kind of ad hoc style?
**0:20:51** - (Emilie): Yeah, batch create what we can. But because there's a lot of moving parts, we're always getting new workshops and need to confirm dates. Unfortunately we can't batch or I can't batch as much as I'd like. So yeah, bit here and there. Weekly is how we do it.
**0:21:09** - (Carmen): Have you always had someone helping with social media or is that a more recent thing?
**0:21:14** - (Emilie): Not that was probably one of the first 2nd people that I bought into the business because I just knew how important it is to any business and I just wanted it to be consistent. And I had other things on my plate that you just have to do as a business owner. So got someone to help me do that, to ensure that we were showing up consistently all the time to our audience and our community and for businesses.
**0:21:40** - (Carmen): Who might be listening. And perhaps they know deep down that they do need to outsource, but they're not sure where to start. What kind of advice would you give them? What encouraged you to make the decision to hire someone to help out?
**0:21:52** - (Emilie): Yeah, so what I did is I looked at all of my tasks that I had to do realistically, and I was like, well, what things can I outsource? What things do I have to do as the business owner? And one of those things which was I think an important part of the business was social media. Right.
**0:22:14** - (Carmen): Okay.
**0:22:15** - (Emilie): There's someone or there's someone on the team that I knew was interested in the whole social media and marketing. So it's like a, hey, going to try this for a couple of months, see how it goes. Put your hand up if you're willing to try. And it's all kind of just worked out and grown in a natural progression.
**0:22:36** - (Carmen): That's awesome. And how many workshops a week are you holding at the moment? Like, what's the normal number roughly?
**0:22:44** - (Emilie): I just did my calendar for this week and we have seven.
**0:22:49** - (Carmen): Wow. So is that pretty standard to have seven a week?
**0:22:53** - (Emilie): Yeah, pretty standard. Like last week we had five, so it's about that five upwards. Yeah, usually five is pretty standard.
**0:23:02** - (Carmen): Amazing. And what kind of class numbers do you fill normally? Like, how many people do you fit into a class?
**0:23:09** - (Emilie): Yeah, it varies anywhere depending on the workshop that we're doing. So to run a workshop, we're looking for at least a minimum of eight people. So sometimes we'll get that on the weekend. Sometimes classes will be up to like twelve, depending on pottery, wheel and glass, just because equipment is required. And we could go up to 24 just in our weekly workshops, but then private events, we've done anywhere up to 50 people for social club workshops.
**0:23:40** - (Carmen): So like the 50 size classes, do you have to have two instructors for that or can you still have one?
**0:23:50** - (Emilie): Yeah, it does depend. It does depend on the workshop, but generally that's another thing I really like to prioritize. It's making sure that people always feel like there's someone there to help them. So I've got tears, like, okay, if we've got over this many people, we need a second host. We need a third host to ensure that everyone's getting value for what they've paid for in their ticket.
**0:24:15** - (Carmen): It's last because it sounds like most of your classes are like the smaller, between twelve and 15 or so. So I feel like that's nice and intimate, and it's not so daunting them when you're going to a class and you don't feel so overwhelmed by heaps of people who might be at various levels of creativity or artistic talent, I suppose it's not so frightening.
**0:24:35** - (Emilie): Yeah, it's nice to and we always like to have that personal touch. Like, we always want to make people feel like they're valued and their time is important, and spending time at House of Hobby is also important. So we want to make sure that people feel that way.
**0:24:51** - (Carmen): No, that's probably why you get so much repeat business. Have there been many challenges along the way? Because, I mean, obviously you mentioned COVID at the start, but how it almost worked in your favor because it allowed you to plan out after taking over the business. But have there been any challenges that you've faced that maybe you've learned from or grown from or torn your hair out about?
**0:25:16** - (Emilie): It can be challenging sometimes, like, I think in the post COVID world, still figuring out figuring out that new normal type thing. So when the Borders opened, for example, like, people could go traveling again. Took a big impact there in terms of workshop numbers and seeing it a little bit as well at the moment with the current financial crisis that everyone's facing and obviously wanting to tighten their belt for various reasons, that's going on with people's lives. And you can't blame anyone for that. You've just got to put your best foot forward and make sure that you're playing your part and helping people where possible. So that's what I just tell myself. It's like, it's not forever. You've just got to put your head down, work, get it done. It might be a rough few months, but if you're focusing on the right things, you'll come out all right on the other side.
**0:26:16** - (Carmen): And those days that maybe are more challenging than others, what kind of motivates you to keep going?
**0:26:22** - (Emilie): I think it's just focusing on doing it, like, why you're doing it, and it's doing it because you love it and you like helping people in that way. And I think sometimes when I feel like, oh, it's a bit hard, like, I'm exhausted, I'll either go and work a workshop or I'll sit in on a workshop. And then you hear what people are saying and how much it means to people, you're like, no, it is worth it. Keep going. It's generally making a good impact in people's lives.
**0:26:53** - (Carmen): Is that sense of helping others the biggest driver for you in your business, would you say?
**0:27:00** - (Emilie): Yeah, I think my biggest thing is I'd love to just make the world a happier place through inspiring people to be creative. So if I can inspire as many people to be creative as possible, that's a big win for me.
**0:27:13** - (Carmen): And do you get many people who come to you, like, maybe come to a class and they say, I'm just not a creative person. Noding along there. What do you say to people like that? And how can you encourage them to tap into their creativity? Aside from obviously going to a house of hobby class when they go home? How can you encourage them to keep up with their creative creativity?
**0:27:38** - (Emilie): Yeah, I think a lot of people, some people do think they're like, oh, I'm not a creative. Like, I'm not good at creative things. And it's like creativity isn't just about that visual creative stuff of making things. It's a way of thinking. So I'm not creative, but they might be, oh, I really enjoy making dinner that's super creative, or I'm not creative. And everyone will always have that one thing they enjoy doing which is actually creative, they just don't realize it. And I think that's a thing, especially with Hobies, although I love doing creative hobbies, and I'm in that creative hobby realm. There are so many other hobbies which are great for practicing creativity and also just being that outlet. And I guess that thing that you can look forward to, like sports, is a whole other thing, just going like hiking, taking photos, it could be rearranging their wardrobe, organizing things. There are so many other things. But I think it's all good because it's time people take for themselves.
**0:28:41** - (Emilie): So they want to just do anything like that. I'm here for it. If it's not creativity, it's not, but doesn't mean there's not something else out there for them.
**0:28:51** - (Carmen): I think that's so true. People think that maybe they work in a science field and that's not super creative. But even in the science world, there's lots of creativity that happens about thinking outside square and trying to come up with new ideas like all that innovation is very creative and I think sometimes people just think it's painting on a piece of paper that is creative. But it's so much broader than that, isn't it?
**0:29:13** - (Emilie): Yeah, hugely. It's always funny whenever we have engineers in, we'll do social clubs for groups of engineers being in Perth. There's a huge industry for that. And they'll always joke, oh no, I'm not creative, I'm not creative. But then you see them like, getting out their ruler and everything's beautifully lined up, but it's like color coordinate. You might design bridges or whatever, and it's just a different form of creativity, but it's all good.
**0:29:45** - (Carmen): So true. Do you think that I've wondered this, do you think people are born with artistic talent or how much of it do you think is just hard work and practice and repetition and improving the skills?
**0:29:56** - (Emilie): Well, I think people are born with an interest in it. Everyone's interested in different things. But I think if you want to get good at something, you got to practice it. So it's one thing to be interested in it, but you've got to practice anything if you want to be good at it. And. If you want to be good at something. I feel like you can be good at anything, really, if you just make the time to do it.
**0:30:20** - (Carmen): So true. One thing that I find sad is I look at my kids who are nearly three and six, and they're so creative and they just like to paint and draw all day. And then I think as we get older, we just lose that almost like the passion to be artistic. And I don't know what it is that makes us change. Do you have any ideas as to why we kind of lose that?
**0:30:43** - (Emilie): Yes, this famous quote that's like, the creative adult is the child that survived. And I think it's like creativity or having that selfless me time. It's like dessert. It's like you always have the dinner, the boring stuff before dessert, and if you get too full on dinner, you might not get to dessert. So I think it's just people not prioritizing the fun stuff because all the other stuff gets in the way that you have to do. So yeah, I reckon it's as simple as simple as that. It just doesn't get prioritized.
**0:31:18** - (Carmen): It's so true, isn't it? Like, people just forget about it, I guess, because they don't have the time, as you say. And then also as kids, I feel like they're so driven by how they feel, and they would just do something on a whim because that's how they're feeling. And maybe as adults, we start to lose that sense of it, and we feel like we have to do things out of obligation or stuff that's required of us, and then we stop following what's inside us, making us feel like we want to tap into that creativity again. But one thing I love about creativity is once you start getting into it as a routine once more, then it really kind of you really start to enjoy it and you feel happier because, as you say, you're all about making people feel more joy. And I think that's so true because the more you work at it, it starts to feel like you can't live without it again. And that's really nice, I think, to bring that joy back into your life. Do you feel that people coming to your class, especially maybe the regulars that come, do you feel that they've found their kind of home with house of hobby?
**0:32:22** - (Emilie): Yeah, I think so. It's like that thing, too. We always get taught as adults, especially in the business world, it's like you have to niche down. You have to niche down. And I don't know if you can see around me, but I've got like, yarn over there, painting over there, and I think our regulars love that. We're not just one hobby. There's so many hobbies to try, and if you don't like one thing, you can get on to the other thing, and it's just keeping that inspiration and that creativity alive, which I think keeps bringing people back for more. And that's why our regulars love all the new workshops that we bring out, because I haven't tried that. Let's give that a go. That'll be fun.
**0:33:03** - (Carmen): Something new and exciting to try. You're talking about Niching down there. Is there like a core demographic that comes to you, like a certain age? I'm guessing they're mainly women. I could be wrong, but is it mostly women?
**0:33:14** - (Emilie): Yeah, it's like your millennial females.
**0:33:18** - (Carmen): Yeah.
**0:33:18** - (Emilie): Always busy people coming and wanting to have that self care, creative self care. And that's where we come in. So that I think would be our specialty, is looking after that group of women.
**0:33:33** - (Carmen): That's awesome. And I know that you guys are going along to the creative gathering in September. Can you tell us some more about that and your involvement?
**0:33:43** - (Emilie): Yeah, so we're doing something a little bit different. Good. Had a catch up with Jody, and I was like, do something a bit different. So we do rug tufting workshops. Rug tufting. It looks like a gun. So it looks like a gun, but you shoot yarn out of it and you make rugs.
**0:34:04** - (Carmen): That sounds so cool.
**0:34:06** - (Emilie): Yeah, so they're super fun. And I find a very empowering hobby because it's like you're just doing this thing and it feels really cool. And you make something that looks pretty fun. So goal is to have going to have like a communal rug tuft happening. We can just come and take five and do a bit of rug tufting and we'll see what we're left with at the end. So it's just five minutes of creativity and doing something completely different.
**0:34:33** - (Carmen): That sounds so cool. Do you find that the bigger classes are more exciting than the smaller ones? Like, do you have a preference if you have to choose working with big groups of people or little intimate classes?
**0:34:46** - (Emilie): I prefer the little intimate classes because I think you just get to know people a lot more, you're spending that time with them. And because I've been in and out of Hobbies for a long time, and I'm at that point where I'm like, I am a hobby nerd. So the more I can nerd out with people, the more I tend to enjoy it.
**0:35:09** - (Carmen): I love that. And what's your favorite hobby? Do you have a favorite?
**0:35:14** - (Emilie): I always go back to watercolor. Like, watercolor will always have a special place for me. At the moment, I'm really into sewing, so I love sewing my own clothes and upcycling things. So that's definitely my hobby of the moment.
**0:35:27** - (Carmen): Awesome. And what's your favorite thing that you've made so far with sewing?
**0:35:33** - (Emilie): Well, I'm in the process of releasing my first sewing pattern, so that's very exciting.
**0:35:41** - (Carmen): That's really cool. What it's going to be?
**0:35:44** - (Emilie): Yeah, so it's like a jumpsuit that it's made for creative people hobbyists like myself. And it's just like a fun like an apron, but you can wear it and you can wear like clothes underneath it and yeah, it can just be tailored to anyone's style. So I'm excited about releasing that.
**0:36:03** - (Carmen): That's really cool. So do you teach sewing at the House of Hobby?
**0:36:07** - (Emilie): I have taught one sewing workshop, but usually get people in for that one.
**0:36:16** - (Carmen): And now that you've been running your business, own business for three years, could you ever imagine going back to working for someone else?
**0:36:24** - (Emilie): Yeah, I do think about this sometimes in those hard days like oh, I'll just sell it and I'll get a job and it'll be fine. But I think if that ever did happen in a parallel universe, that it would have to be working for something which I'm passionate about. In my previous life I worked for a company and the products I just fell out of love with and so I would need to really be inspired by that person that led that business and really aligned that business be aligned with my values.
**0:37:03** - (Carmen): It's probably at the end of the day, it's more rewarding to work for yourself because at least you know that all the hard effort that you're putting in day in and day out, it's coming back to you. So if I'm a small business owner and perhaps I've just bought a business and I'm taking it over and I'm feeling nervous about the future, what kind of one golden piece of advice would you give them?
**0:37:29** - (Emilie): I would just say don't reinvent the wheel, especially when buying a business, because that business was successful before you came along, so get to know it. I think I sat in the business and didn't make any changes for a good six to twelve months. Just getting to know it, why people loved it, who our target market was, what worked, what didn't work. And then slowly I started to put my touch on it and it is where it is today. But I think just don't be afraid to take things slowly and you don't have to be overwhelmed to take one step at a time.
**0:38:06** - (Carmen): That's great advice. I'm curious, what kind of stuff did you start to change after six to twelve months? Was it little tweaks or was it kind of some major things?
**0:38:16** - (Emilie): Well, being the graphic designer that I am, we did a full rebrand.
**0:38:21** - (Carmen): Love it.
**0:38:22** - (Emilie): That a big jug and just kind of tweak things the way that because obviously the business has grown a lot and it was set up on solid foundations, which I'm really thankful for. But little things, as it grows, you need to revise systems. You need to just revise how you're doing things, making sure that they're all in line with where you want to go, things like that.
**0:38:48** - (Carmen): So would you say that having a solid systems and process organization in place, that is really fundamental when you're running a business like yours?
**0:38:57** - (Emilie): Yes, especially because we're in event. It's really an events business. If you're in events. Everything needs to be clear, concise, well communicated. Otherwise you're going to trip up and people are going to be let down.
**0:39:10** - (Carmen): So absolutely, I think you're doing an awesome job. So thanks so much. Emily, I've really enjoyed our chat today. You've had some great advice and I love what you've done with house of hobby. I can't wait to get along to a class.
**0:39:23** - (Emilie): You have to make the time. We just have to book it in. I will.
**0:39:26** - (Carmen): I'm going to list for this week.
**0:39:30** - (Emilie): Thanks so much. No, Christian like for you. So what's your hobby of the moment?
**0:39:38** - (Carmen): I've been journaling.