Introducing Sarah Debanham from The Lowercase Label
Tell me a bit about you, your business and your life. It was always kind of inevitable that I would end up where I am today. In my early years, I grew up on a farm surrounded by animals and even after moving to town I remained a crazy animal girl. Mix that with both my parents being business owners from one time to another, it makes sense that I would end up having a pet related business! The idea came to fruition when I began fostering animals and I wanted to send them to their new home with a little gift. A pet ID tag seemed like the perfect choice being both practical and personal.
Life must be busy! How do you manage it all?
Honestly, not very well! I’m very lucky to be able to say that my business has definitely been a success so far but with that success comes a lot of stress. I have a casual retail job, I study part time and I am not only a foster carer but also a coordinator with the rescue organisation I am a volunteer with so I am spread very thin. I’m not a naturally motivated or organised person either so it’s not an easy juggle. My customers are so understanding and get that I have a life outside of my business and that my products are all handmade so they tend to be okay with the processing times. I am slowly getting more efficient and buying all the tools and technology I need to get my orders out the door faster but it’s definitely stressful!
How do you prioritise what needs to be done?
Once again, I’m not great at this either! I love making my clay tags as it is such a creative process and often put off making my metal tags until the last minute. I also despise packing orders but my lovely sister in law helps me out with this. We usually have a tag making day where I stamp out all the metal tags while my sister in law starts on the clay tags and once I’m finished I will join her as I get a lot more orders for clay than metal. Then the next day we stamp and bake/polish the tags and the following day we pack and head to the post office. It’s a bit of a process but we find that doing all the same steps at one time rather than completing one order at a time is most time efficient.
What support networks, groups or resources have you found that have helped you in your business journey?
I have made some really lovely and supportive friends in the pet business world who I talk to in a group chat regularly. We all help each other out with advice about pricing, packaging, marketing strategies and even just having a whinge after a long day. My advice to people is to make friends with your competitors or even just become friendly with other people in your industry. It’s so much better than having that awful jealous feeling when you see their success. If you are friends or even just on good terms, it’s so much easier to cheer them on and push away those negative feelings.
What are your top 3 tips to anyone wanting to start a side gig?
Take it slow. Starting a business (even a side gig) can be expensive and it can be really disappointing when things aren’t moving as quickly as you had hoped and you have already forked out loads of money. Start with the necessities and once you begin to see your number of sales go up, you can treat yourself to those little things that will make life easier. I have turned milestones into a treat yourself moment. I recently bought myself a label printer for shipping addresses, thank you cards and return address stickers so that I’m not using my valuable time hand writing so many things anymore. These sorts of things aren't a necessity so I held off until I hit an earnings milestone so it felt even more exciting when I reached it!