Dawn Kubicek from garden office suppliers Decorated Shed recently spoke to Wendy Massey of 1st Stunning Gifts about working from home in a garden building.
Wendy Massey, a designer/maker who runs www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk is a home worker who made the leap after being offered redundancy from her previous job as a teacher/manager in a young offenders’ institute just over a year ago. The offer of redundancy, says Wendy, wasn’t difficult to resist. Increasingly frequent and severe migraines, coupled with a hefty workload and difficult “customers” made the decision easier. She now creates hand-painted and hand-lettered gifts in her garden studio – and, while her earnings are lower, her enjoyment of her working day is much greater. She also reports fewer migraines!
Wendy had been thinking about working for herself for some time and has actually been researching Decorated Sheds garden offices which looks like the next step for Wendy. Her business has moved forward quickly, and the production of her fabulous gifts is slowly taking up her home! A Decorated Shed garden office or garden studio is the perfect solution; they are cheaper than a house extension and can be set up ready for work in a matter of days. She says she loves working from home and wouldn’t go back to full-time employment, although she does still do a little part-time teaching for a local college.
How does Wendy spend her days? Up early, she starts her day around 6.30 am by checking orders over breakfast and emailing customers and gets into her studio around 7.30 am. She then spends most of her day split between whichever jobs are most pressing: it could be painting, varnishing, lettering and finishing or packaging items in the studio. Or it could be photographing items, uploading new items to the website, speaking to a shop owner, taking parcels to the post office, ordering stock, writing her blog, etc. She likes the variety of her work – being self-employed, she does everything herself at the moment. On Fridays, she turns into a full-time teacher just for the day, and teaches a couple of evening classes each week too.
Does she agree it’s cheaper to work from home? “Definitely. I used to buy my lunch out every day; now I can make it in my own kitchen, about 15 steps from my workplace! I used to buy smart suits for work, now I wear an old paint-splattered jumper and tracksuit pants. It doesn’t matter what I wear most of the time as I can still answer emails and phone calls without looking smart. I must admit I do need to get changed to go and post parcels though! I use a lot less petrol, too.”
And is it greener? “My commute will be a short walk along the garden path, instead of a 25-mile round trip (which would’ve increased dramatically had I not accepted the redundancy as it would’ve meant a change of workplace). I use very little in the way of other fuel – my laptop, my radio, and that’s more or less it’’ Decorated Shed are energy and environmentally conscious when it comes to your garden building. We provide high performance energy efficient insulation and heating and use recycled material where required.
Wendy adds, ”I think what’s best of all though, is that I’m providing a British-made alternative to mass-produced items shipped from around the globe. These are all handmade items, I support other small UK businesses when I buy my raw materials, and I know the quality is good. I also know my customer service is excellent because I’ve been told so by my customers. Anyone who rings or emails is communicating directly with the person who actually made their item, who owns the business and who cares that the customer is happy. I love what I do and I love that other people love it too!”
To see Wendy’s products, go to: www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk
For information about Decorated Shed, go to www.decoratedshed.com