Words by Jess Mackay
Market Niche; a small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer. Niches are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them (Business Dictionary, 2015).
Enter Penelope Hill – founder, designer and marketer behind the quirky homewares brand Into the Fold.
StartUp Creative wanted to find out how a new mum turned a lack of inspiring and durable homewares and a self-confessed ‘cushion fetish’ into an Instagram sensation, Inside Out magazine cameo and successful small business.
How did Into the Fold begin?
I have grubby children AND I like nice things, so I wanted to look for some more durable cushions to smarten up my place. I went on the hunt and I couldn't find any that inspired me so Into the Fold was born.
Where do you gather your design inspiration from?
I am constantly inspired by the entire community of creatives on Instagram. It is the most amazing, voyeuristic platform! I get inspired by seeing my babies in other people’s places – I love seeing how my customers style my pieces in their homes/work spaces.
Are you the brains behind your social media marketing?
Into the Fold is a one man band so I guess I’m the ‘brains’ behind social media marketing. My background is in marketing and advertising in the media so this side of things comes pretty naturally to me.
When I first started, I used to take my cushions on adventures which elicited a great response from my followers as it was something different…. There are only so many ways you can take a photo of a cushion before it gets a bit meh!
As Into The Fold has grown, I have naturally moved into a more professional approach, however I have managed to maintain my overuse of bad puns!
Did you have a business plan or did you dive in head-first?
Business what?! No honestly, my business skills need some serious polishing! I am super impulsive and I tend to like to fly by the seat of my pants…. I took a plunge with a bunch of my designs (some of my designs, some collaborations) and for one reason or another, I appear to still be afloat?!
Most inspiring moment in the progress of your business so far?
I think highlights would have to be seeing my products in Real Living and Inside Out magazine.
I also loved the Sydney Finders Keepers markets as I got to meet my customers face-to-face … getting that real time feedback is so invaluable! I [have] also met loads of talented business owners doing their own thing which was extremely inspiring!
Do you have any plans to introduce more lines to your range or different types of products?
Yes!! Always! I recently introduced a cow hide floor cushion and I have a few other things in the pipeline.
What can we expect from your new website?
Website will be launched in the next week or two which will see the introduction of a blog as well as International shipping which is extremely important for me as I am getting a lot of amazing feedback from US and European customers!
What are your top tips for up-and-coming entrepreneurs or creatives who are on the edge of following their passion through business?
- Start off small and take your time… as they say, it’s a marathon and not a race.
- With regard to social media advice: firstly ask yourself who your brand/business is and what sets it apart.
- Work out who your audience is and tailor your posts to them.
- Remain consistent and true to your brand/business.
- And most importantly, get involved!
Into the Fold will be at Brisbane Finders Keepers on 4th-5th July.