‘We have a great customer following, but I am seriously concerned about rising costs. I feel I am being forced to raise my prices to try to make a profit’
Jenny Blyth is the owner and boss of online shop, Storm In a Teacup Gifts In our How I Manage My Money series, we aim to find out the ways people in the UK are spending, saving and investing to meet their costs and achieve their goals.
This week we speak to Jenny Blyth, 35, who lives in north London and is the owner and boss of online shop, Storm In a Teacup Gifts. Monthly Budget
INCOME My income comes from my business, so it can vary hugely each month. I typically earn around £1,000 a month, but the figure can be double that during busy periods – or it can go down to around £400 in bad months. LIVING COSTS Mortgage £210; Groceries £220; Gas and electricity £130; Water £40; Savings (when I can manage it) £80; Items for the cat £60; Mobile phone £11 Total: £751 I don’t drive, which saves a lot of money. My hobbies are also thankfully very cheap – I love to draw and read, and I also really enjoy aerial yoga, which I do at home on my own rig. I finished school with three A-levels and went on to take Drama and Theatre Studies at Middlesex University. At the time I successfully applied for a student loan and bursary, which proved to be very helpful. Growing up, I was lucky never to feel like we were poor or struggling, but I definitely knew the value of money. My mother would instil little techniques when we were food shopping, so I knew how to be sensible – and I saved money in my piggy bank.
I was also gifted an Isa from my grandparents when I was younger. In my first job I worked as a retail assistant in a shop on Saturdays, but also managed to fit in work as a play support worker. On top of that, I would also go to work with my father who managed a garden centre at the time. After graduating from university I wanted to work in theatre, but a connective tissue disorder put a stop to that.
I worked as a fundraiser for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for a time, which I really enjoyed, but my health once again eventually dictated a change. So, I then took the dive into self-employment and have not looked back since.
I started Storm In a Teacup Gifts in October 2014 after realising I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to start a business that specialised in fun and quirky gifts suitable for all budgets, but also with a strong sense of community. Launching the business was daunting, but I knew it could work, and with a little faith and support from loved ones, I made it happen.
We have a great customer following, but I am seriously concerned about rising costs. I feel I am being forced to raise my prices to try to make a profit, yet if I do that, my customers may not be able to afford to support us. Small businesses have been left in the gutter since the pandemic subsided. The few grants and schemes available require certain criteria to be met, which is why micro businesses like mine
I try to put £80 into my NatWest savings account each month, but this is not always possible. The interest rate on savings is so small that unless you have a substantial amount put away, you barely notice the pennies that are classed as a return. I also use the Plum app, which works out your finances and then automatically puts money aside for you each week. It’s amazing how quickly you can save some pennies with apps like these.
I get real joy from saving money, but it is getting harder to do. I’m always on the hunt for a bargain and will happily research gift ideas for hours to ensure I have the best deal. I do most of my food shopping in Aldi, which I think is great for its prices. I also love to bake, which helps cut costs, and if too much food is cooked, I’ll save it for another day so it doesn’t go to waste.
I find myself double-checking every penny I spend at the moment. I can no longer be frivolous and occasionally treat myself, […]
source How I Manage My Money: The female boss of an online gift shop whose income varies from £400 to £2k a month