Welcome to our latest ‘5 minutes with…’
We are absolutely delighted to be talking to the wonderful Laura Dawson. Owner, and creator, of The Crafty Koala Club, Mum of 2 gorgeous girls and winner of our new year giveaway.
Laura, thank you so much for giving up your precious time to talk to us. We were so happy when you got in touch to say you’d love to be part of our 5 minutes with series. It’s been amazing to work with you and design and build your new website.
Firstly, a huge congratulations on The Crafty Koala. It’s such a brilliant business and has grown so much in such a short time. To start us off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be ‘Crafty Koala’
That is pretty amazing. The rest of us were just trying to get through the days!! We really were delighted when you were the winner of our new year giveaway and loved your business and branding immediately. How did you feel when you heard you had won your own website?
We know that your family have really been involved in Crafty Koala and that your daughter is your fabulous ‘chief tester’ but we also know that a young family is hard work too. How do you try and balance life, family and work?
This has been really difficult, and I think will always be a challenge. Charlotte was 5 months old when I started and business was steady for my first Christmas in 2020. We then went into our third lockdown in January and business picked up with people looking for things to do together at home, but I then had a 4-year-old to homeschool, a baby to wean and kits to pack! Running a business and growing a business has been the biggest challenge. I’ve had to learn to slow down and move the business at a pace that fits with me and my family, I’m sure things would be very different if the business is all I did and I could dedicate all my time to it, but for now, it’s just part of our life and I want to keep it a fun part for all of us, so things might take a bit longer to launch, but it definitely makes it more manageable for us all.
To achieve what you have so quickly and with a family and a pandemic is really inspiring. What have you found that has worked for you?
It would also have been pretty impossible to get to this point without Paul! Whilst working full time he’s always ready to do a last-minute post-run, always on hand to help with a late-night packing session and helps keep on top of numbers and business admin for us.
He sounds like a massive support Laura and that you make a great team. You’ve had so much to do. You came to us with your branding and as we said we absolutely loved it from the beginning. What was important to you about creating The Crafty Koala? What advice would you have for people just starting, or thinking of starting, a new business?
I know that this isn’t all you do and you’ve had a career before creating Crafting Koala, and are actually heading back to work at the moment. How do you think your experience has prepared you for managing and building your business?
Has there been any surprises along the way?
Well, you are obviously really good at it. It’s so lovely to see all of the reviews of your products and the kids getting creative, and of course, all the birthday parties that you are doing. What have been the highlights for you?
I love packing up a gift box, especially a custom order, and writing the gift messages from friends and family to put inside, but people trusting me with their party bags and party activities more recently has been a real highlight for me. I know how much preparation and thought can go into children’s parties and so to be a part of that and their special day is amazing.
Before this, my proudest moment definitely has to be when we were featured on Channel 4’s Stephs Packed Lunch. A research journalist had seen my kits on Etsy and contacted me through Facebook to ask if they could share what we do! It was like a dream especially showing Penelope the feature and her being able to share it with her school friends.
That really was so exciting and such an achievement. It’s also an example of the power of social media. People can be critical of social media, but how have you found it?
It really does take up so much time. But it will be perfect for sharing your website!! What are you most looking forward to about your website going live?
Ha ha, Warwick is working on that! There’s always a way, eventually!
We’re so excited too and can’t wait for people to be able to see it and use it. Finally Laura, what would you say has been the greatest lesson that Crafty Koala has taught you so far? And where do you hope Crafty Koala will go?
Strive for progress and not perfection. This has been a big lesson for me and my big ideas so I can balance The Crafty Koala Club with my personal and normal day-to-day working life and still feel proud of what I’m achieving, even if it is slower than I’d like, and that’s ok, it’s all progress. And oh, my ideas are endless! Ha, Paul will tell you that .. they range from after school clubs, having a space at home to host craft classes (this would mean moving house!), worldwide shipping, subscriptions and setting up down under!
It all sounds amazing Laura and we know you will get there but you’re so right, it’s so important to be kind to yourself and set realistic targets.
Thank you so, so much for your time. We just need you for a few more minutes for our quick-fire round. Are you ready?
Yep. Go for it!
Ok, here goes!
- Chocolate or crisps? Chocolate every time!
- Wine or beer? Wine. Australian of course!
- Walking or cycling? Walking
- Dogs or cats? Cats .. we have 2!
- Tea or Coffee? Depends on how bad the night shift was!.. But usually tea – only Yorkshire though.
- Summer or Winter? Winter
- Red sauce or Brown? Red
- Emailer or brochure? Email
- Driving holidays or flying? Flying
- Active holidays or beach holidays? Beach
- Cosy nights in or wild nights out? Cosy nights in!
- City or countryside? City
- Passenger or Driver? Passenger
- Soaps or Box sets? Box sets
Fabulous! Thank you so much Laura, we’re very similar!
Here’s to the Crafty Koala’s exciting future!
If you can’t wait to see Laura’s amazing craft kits you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook or see her products in her Etsy shops. (If you have any little ones to buy for, they are perfect!)