Entrepreneurs Uncut - THE PAPERY

Posted by Sanele Michelle Magagula on

Business name: The Papery

Business owner: Alison Deary

Product: Stationery (Shop here)

Position: Business Manager


Q: When did you know that it was the right time to start your business and what motivated you to start?

A: When I realized that I had developed a system for myself that could also work for other busy women. Having 4 kids who were all at different schools at the time, I needed a time management system where I could keep track of them as well as my own work commitments, goals and other such things!

Q: What are your responsibilities as the business owner?

A: There is just too much to mention here. My partner does all the creative stuff and I have an assistant who comes in a couple of days a week to help with admin and stock.

Q: Challenges are faced when starting, what are some of the biggest challenges you faced and what kept you going?

A: Going into a business that had a product with a very limited shelf life, getting the print numbers right, timing for sales, raising capital. I knew that I was onto something and that I could make it work. The first few years were dismal!

Q: What’s the story behind your business name?

A: When I started out, I named the business after my first product, MOM Diary, but realized that this was limiting us so badly as everyone only saw us as a single product business and it was very hard to grow and break into other sectors of the market (men and youngsters). Last year we did a complete re-brand and decided on the name “The Papery” as that is really what we are about – paper products.

Q: What’s your most favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur and your most satisfying moment in business?

A: The flexibility that it has given me while my kids have been growing up, although I’m not going to lie, it has not always been easy and most of the time it has kept me very very busy. Over the last few years I have really been on a growth path, learning to be in flow and balance, rather than devoting every minute to the business.

Most satisfying moment is every year when my diaries arrive – it is hugely satisfying

Q: How do you invest in your business (money, advertising…) and which of the methods have altered the most results?

A: I have given all the above to the business. I think the biggest result altering thing for me has been the hard lessons learnt along the way.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Loving what I do, waking up every morning with a purpose and excitement, seeing things that I have been working at coming to fruition, happy customers.

Q: What key activities, skills do you think are needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

A: Firstly one needs a skill or to have a great idea for something that others need/want. Do plenty of due diligence and research before starting, taking advice from others who have walked the road already. Tenacity – things don’t always go according to plan. Discipline and self-motivation to be able to work alone, it gets tough and lonely out there at times.

Q: What advice do you have for people considering starting a business or those who have just started their own?

A: Align yourself with other amazing entrepreneurs and collaborate – we tend to want to do everything ourselves and then end up being spread too thin. By collaborating and swapping services, we are all supporting each other.


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