My name is Corrie Jones and I run an online business called recipegiftbook.com which is an alternative wedding gift list service.
My website enables the bride and groom to receive a truly personal gift from all their wedding guests and create a future family heirloom.
Couples invite their friends and family to collaborate and create a personalised recipe book, their guests add recipes, photos and a personal message online and the bride and groom receive a free hardback recipe book following their wedding.
It’s a great way to bring both families together in the run up to the wedding. It’s the ultimate personalised wedding gift from all of the guests and something the bride and groom will cherish, long after their wedding day.
What I did
The idea for my business had been in my head since I got married in 2010. We didn’t know what to do about a gift list, we had all the household goods we needed (and really didn’t want a second toaster!). We were mindful about the drain on the planet’s resources of unnecessary gifts and didn’t feel comfortable giving friends and relatives with a variety of budgets a list of consumer goods.
In the end we said 'no gifts' but due to our guests generosity we were showered with numerous gifts anyway! It made me think afterwards that if only we could have channelled their energies into something…. That is when I came up with the idea for ‘recipe gift book’, a unique, low cost but high value gift from all your guests!
I finally started working on my business and funding the website a couple of years later when I became a mum. When I was off on maternity leave I realised I didn’t want to return to my 9-5 job and it seemed like to perfect time to give it up and concentrate on my own online business which would give me the flexibility of working from home whilst fitting in with bringing up my daughter.
I launched my business in 2015 after spending the previous year developing and testing the website. It’s been an exciting journey so far and I have to say that I just love working in the wedding industry! It’s such a happy industry, full of lots of joyful brides and grooms! It’s also full of some amazing wedding suppliers and I spend much of my whirlwind working days sandwiched between stunning cakes, dazzling dresses, amazing venues, beautiful bouquets and lovely couples planning the most special day of their lives.
What I would do differently
I would have done it sooner! Even though I had wanted to run my own business for a while it took a bit of courage to leave the security of my 9-5 job and the comfort of a regular salary! I was lucky to have a great support network and I don’t think I would have taken the plunge without the encouragement I was given from my husband and family and the assistance I received from my Business Wales mentor who helped me with my business plan and gave me the guidance I needed to get started.
My proudest moment in business
In 2015 my business was chosen by the Small Business Saturday initiative as one of their ‘Small Biz 100’s’. Every year they select 100 businesses to profile as shining examples of the power of small business, promoting the role they play in the UK economy.
It was amazing to be chosen and I was delighted to attend the Wales Launch of ‘Small Business Saturday’ in Cardiff Castle and was later invited by George Osborne to Downing Street for a Christmas Fair celebrating all the 2015 Small Biz 100’s. It was an exciting event and great to meet so many other small businesses, I learnt a lot from the experience and received some great publicity for my business.
Do you use Welsh in your business? If so, how has this helped you
I have learnt Welsh and have lived in Wales for most of my life. It was important for me to have a bilingual website and I am hoping we can add further language options when I expand the service into different countries.
Please state the type of assistance / support both non-financial and financial you have received from Welsh Government / Business Wales, if any
I attended the free Business Wales start-up courses which were really useful. Having a mentor and meeting other entrepreneurs was inspiring and gave me the confidence I needed to take my business forward.
I received a 'Local Investment Fund' grant from Gwynedd County Council which helped towards the website development costs.
I was also accepted on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which supports businesses financially in their first 6 months.
- get on Social Media – it’s a powerful tool and a great way to promote your business
- network with other businesses – I have picked up lots of great tips from just chatting to fellow business owners who are at different stages on their business journey
- get creative with your marketing - you don’t need to spend a fortune on advertising to reach your customers
- have a plan – be clear what you need to do and try not to get sidetracked
- think positive, stay focused and great things will happen