Friday, 2 May 2014

Friday Finds - Gabrielle Treanor of The Green Gables


Good morning! Today I have interviewed my friend Gabrielle Treanor who has built a wonderful business The Green Gables; I've met Gabs a couple of times now at the Notonthehighstreet.com get togethers and she is lovely. So is her work.



 © Gabrielle Treanor

When did you start your business and why?

The green gables proper has been in action for nearly three years since I became self-employed and concentrated on developing the stationery ranges. For years (while working in my ‘first’ career of publishing) I tried different courses and experimented with a variety of crafts but I never quite managed to find exactly what I was looking for. Finally hitting my groove was a wonderful thing! Through the green gables I help people to get organized and connect with others in a meaningful way, while spreading a little joy and positivity at the same time. 

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

It’s been a slow burn but I’ve happy with that because I needed to take things at my own pace while I learned and developed my style and product range. It’s an ongoing process, I’m learning all the time and I have so much more to learn! I can’t imagine anyone who runs a business ever gets to the point when they have nothing left to discover or develop.


© The Green Gables

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

There’s a lot more I’d like to do with the green gables, I want to help many more people feel more organised in their lives and find the time to get in touch with their loved ones. 

In practical terms I have no plans to grow my business into a great big world-dominating company! A very good friend has been helping me with book-keeping for the last 18 months which has been brilliant as I’m not a natural with numbers. And recently I took the (enormous to me) step of finding someone to help with preparing and making up orders for a few hours a week. Having done everything myself for so long it felt quite alien to have someone else working in my studio but it’s working out brilliantly! 

An important part of my business is making a positive contribution to society and I want to continue growing how I support charitable organisations. I’ve supported a number of charities for a couple of years but I recently created a few products the sale of which donate to a charity, Fresh Start Foundation, who work to educate children in the The Gambia. It’s a poor country and paper is very expensive so I’m working to provide pupils with the school supplies they need to study. I want to make a difference and the more successful the green gables is the more I can make a postive impact in the wider world. 



© The Green Gables

Where do you sell your work? 

I sell on my own website thegreengables.co.uk, notonthehighstreet.com and I’m stocked in a number of shops around the UK. I also have an etsy.com store but I’m not very good at maintaining it. 

Have you had publicity in national magazines? 

I’ve had quite a few pieces of printed press which has been great. They vary between products being used as props in photoshoots to featured in shopping pages to interviews. My previous life was in youth magazines so although I have no contacts at ‘grown-up’ magazines I’ve received enough press releases to have a good idea of what gets a journalist’s attention and what’s a turn-off. I don’t want to go on for pages and pages of your blog so if any readers want my top tips on getting press they’re very welcome to email me!

© The Green Gables

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? 

Unsurprisingly I love designing! I also really enjoy talking with my customers and other stationery fans, hearing their feedback and how they’re using my products. I don’t really mind the boring bits either (although number crunching is way down my favourites list) because every day I get to work for myself on a business I love and for that I am very grateful!


© The Green Gables

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

I don’t think there is. It would be lovely, but unrealistic, to have everything go smoothly with instant success. All the business books and blogs I’ve read say that you have to make mistakes in business to learn from and I totally agree. Ideally you’d like to not make any enormous, scary mistakes but as long as you learn from them, mistakes aren’t a bad thing. 

Could you describe where you work?

I work in what is essentially a brick built shed at the bottom of our little garden, but I call it my studio! My sister-in-law gave me a lovely wooden sign that says ‘Garden Studio’ for my birthday a few years ago and it hangs proudly outside. 

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with?

I don’t have a mentor, I’d actually quite like one but I don’t know where to find one! I have met lots of lovely people through blogs and twitter, or by exhibiting at craft fairs or trade fairs, as well as other sellers on notonthehighstreet.com, such as our lovely self! Having other people to talk to who understand what you’re going through, who have similar worries and questions, is absolutely invaluable. Having a couple of people with whom you can share ideas, give honest feedback, boost each other up and cheer each other on helps enormously. I also have a super supportive husband and we can talk for hours about my work, he can think of things no-one else has because he sees it from a different point of view.


© The Green Gables

Anything else you want to add?

One thing I want to say is that if you’re reading this and you’re thinking about starting your own business and are feeling wobbly, or you’re up and running and are feeling overwhelmed, just believe me when I say you can do it. You absolutely can do anything you want to, it is within your ability and you are the person who determines the path your life takes. Working for yourself and running a business is very hard work, it can be risky, scary, you might have to make big changes in your life. But it’s also rewarding, fulfilling, fun, freeing and if it’s what you want to do, what you really want to do, then go for it. 

And, really I will shush after this, there’s one phrase that I heard in a TED talk by Simon Sinek (http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action) which sits in the back of my head at all times: ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. Find your purpose, find what sets you alight and go after it with all your might.

Links:
thegreengables.co.uk
thegreengables.co.uk/blog
gabrielle@thegreengables.co.uk
Twitter: @thegreengable
Instagram: @thegreengable

Facebook: facebook.com/thegreengables

Fabulous - thank you so much for what you've said Gabrielle, I think you've hit the nail on the head with that phrase by Simon Sinek. We all have to question why we do what we do. Often if we are unhappy it's because we are doing something or behaving in a way that is totally at odds with our values and what deep down really matters. It's essential to question ourselves as we grow and ask ourselves why we do what we do. I feel a think coming on ;)

1 comment:

  1. Love her work! The green gables have an amazing variety of stationery products. It's nice to hear about how the business started directly from the words of the amazing lady behind it. Gabrielle is an amazing business owner. I would've totally been surprised if she wasn't given that much exposure in blogs. Thanks for sharing her story! All the best! :)

    Clint Shaff @ Franchise Match

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