Craft Focus - April/May 2023 (Issue 96)

26 Spotlight on Supporting New Retailing Talent Spring Fair, the marketplace for wholesale Home, Gift and Fashion, welcomed one of retail’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs on day three, TV Dragon and #Small Business Sunday Founder Theo Paphitis, as part of the show’s continuing ethos to support and guide up-and-coming design and retailing talent and nurture the show’s retail community. Speaking to a packed audience of retailers, Theo Paphitis, interviewed by The Sun’s Business Editor Ashley Armstrong, said, “I’ve had an incredibly vibrant career being an entrepreneur, it was never a career in my day. Hunger and passion is key, but it can’t be taught. There are different levels of entrepreneurial success. Most entrepreneurs are dreamers. I’m still dreaming, the dreams drive us, but you have to make those dreams come true and that’s the difference, having the drive the realise it.” He continued by discussing the support he gives to startups through #Small Business Sunday, saying “#Small Business Sunday came about as I’d just joined Twitter and got all these followers from starting on Dragon’s Den. One Sunday I thought why I don’t I use these 50k followers to some benefit and thought the first half a dozen that tweet me telling me a little bit about their business I’ll retweet. We read them all, picked 6 and left it at that. The following Sunday my phone goes off again and #SBS was coming in. On the third week I took it to the office, retweeted on the Monday. Every Monday morning we did it and now it’s grown to our event, self-help groups, and forums.” Offering advice to small businesses, he said, “Business is common sense - don’t be shy, stick your elbows out and know your numbers”, adding that “50 per cent of all small businesses fail in the first two years because people don’t know their numbers, they haven’t done their homework. Lots who fail the first time, go on to succeed the second. Learning from their mistakes, finding places to get help, understanding the things that really matter in business. The things you need to sweat and the things you don’t need to sweat because they don’t really matter.” Asked how can small business manage cash flow post pandemic and cost of living? Theo responded, “You’re absolutely right it has been difficult. You couldn’t make it up, with Russia and Ukraine, cost of living, inflation and energy costs, it’s been very difficult for us to plan. We have to build in what we’re doing with some margin for error, but I still believe there is opportunity. As a small business, if you remain agile and survive for the next three years and do it in this market you’ll have great foundations.” Spring Fair continues to champion the most innovative and inspiring start-up businesses who have been trading for less than 18months in its expanding newcomer areas. Following a successful four-year partnership with Autumn Fair, which has supported around 40 start-up businesses so far, Theo Paphitis’s #SBS Small Business Sunday winners are now hosted in the #SBS Village at Spring Fair. LSS announces LaunchPad winners After dozens of entries and a scrupulous round of judging, London Stationery Show is delighted to announce the six businesses who have won the annual LaunchPad competition. LaunchPad aims to shine a light on emerging businesses looking to break into the stationery industry and showcase their unique products to a wider audience. The opportunity allows the winners to exhibit alongside market-leading brands at LSS and meet top buyers visiting the UK’s leading trade event dedicated to arts & crafts, greeting cards, paper products and writing instruments. The lucky winners also receive a range of marketing support, plus 50 per cent off a stand at London Stationery Show 2024. The 2023 LaunchPad winners include: Curlicue Gifting Limited Curlicue Gifting Limited creates sustainable gift wrap and accessories. All designs are done in collaboration with artists and illustrators, valuing sustainability and design equally. Enayball Enayball is a UK SME focused on promoting equality by providing affordable access to independent living for individuals with disabilities. Their first product is a tool that allows anyone with a physical disability, including the most highly paralysed, to independently draw. Jennifer Tune Jennifer Tune creates modern, but minimalistic greetings cards, prints and gift wrap. Each product is created with sustainability in mind and blends contemporary typography, tactile paper and specialist print techniques. Ladies Let’s Plan The Ladies Let’s Plan Epic Planner Range helps clients strategise their everyday planning. With top tips in each planner to support them on their journey with plenty of space to capture memories and plan out ultimate goals. Lione and Sheikh A small women-owned London based business that hand makes and illustrates eco-friendly products, greeting cards and novelty stationery, focusing on minimalist pop culture designs and botanical illustrations. Moonducks Design Moonducks Design sells handmade sustainable notebooks, made from various recycled papers and available in more than 30 colours. Visit London Stationery Show from 16th-7th May to meet the winners and see their design debuts for yourself. For more information: