It's our 1 year anniversary today.  One year since we registered with Companies House. 

We went from buying a Roland plotter/cutter second hand on Facebook Marketplace for fun - to becoming a limited, VAT registered company in about a month.

Getting that machine re-ignited the fire in our bellies and helped us to remember how much we enjoyed doing what we did before. 

One year on, we didn't have a plan, so we didn't really know where we were going. We just kind of bumbled along, and bits of machinery and jobs and ideas came our way. 

The first year has been a blast, we are thinking about this more as a long term project, than a quick one, so we will be building this slowly and making sure we evolve in a way that suits us best - if it doesn't bring us joy, I don't think we want to be doing it. 

It's a really wonderful feeling, if we think the website needs re-doing (and it pretty much always does) - we do it. When the logo needs tweaking, we can do it. If we want to spend time on this or that, we can. It's pretty amazing.  This year we have printed tablecloths, table runners, canvas prints, diaries, coasters, mouse mats, t-shirts for individuals and stag and hen do's, hoodies, posters, stickers, mugs, foamex signs, wheelie bin stickers, and embroidered caps and t-shirts. We've been digital printing, dye sub printing, pad printing and embroidering.  Not bad for a first year :)

So, from our point of view, if you are thinking of starting up your own thing, because you have a great idea, we vote go for it!

Here are our top tips so far:

  • Don't chuck all your eggs in one basket. Have a backup plan so it isn't critical for the first couple of years.
  • Think long term, not short term. I always think of the line "If you build it they will come" from the Field of Dreams movie, and it's so true.
  • Enjoy it. This is you getting to do what you want to do. Make it fun. Make it enjoyable. This is about quality of life. 
  • Expect to work to the level that suits you - this is very much a situation where you get out what you put in. Scale it only when you are ready and happy to do so.

We have a few plans this time for year 2 so for all our fellow small business owners please join us in an imaginary (or real if you prefer) toast - here's to all of us trying to make it, and doing our thing. May we all stay blessed and all our dreams come true.

Wishing you all the best, Caroline, Karl and the Appleton Print team.