Oh Ivy is an online store stocking a range of beautifully made CollectA animal figurines and accessories, as well as a collection of complementary products like animal books, animal flash cards from Two Little Ducklings and drawstring bags from Pickle and Co.
Oh Ivy’s motto is Play. Collect. Learn, and they only stock products that encourage one or more of these things in little people.
In addition to running Oh Ivy from home, creator and owner Rosie also works 2.5 days a week, and is a mum to a two year old.
Can you tell us a little about how Oh Ivy started?
Oh Ivy will be a year old in April. My daughter was given some CollectA animals as a gift and I saw an opportunity in the market to create an online store where busy mums, dads, aunts, uncles, caregivers, or anyone really could purchase these beautifully detailed animals, that are an alternative to more expensive animal figurine brands. The name Oh Ivy is a combination of my nephew and daughters names, Orlando (I often call him O) and Ivy.
What are some of the tools you use to run your business?
One of the most important tools I use in my business is Instagram. It is my primary source of advertising. Without it I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten Oh Ivy off the ground. It has also allowed me to create some wonderful relationships with other store owners. In addition I also have some wonderful brand reps who take most of the beautiful photos that appear on my instagram feed and website. Photography is not my strength (and I also don’t have a lot of time to dedicated to it), so having a wonderful team of brand reps is invaluable. I also use Shopify to host my website, good old Microsoft excel to track stock levels and Sendle to deliver parcels to my lovely customers. And of course I love our Woodruff and Co custom rubber stamps that we recently ordered to put our logo onto Calico bags that we use for packaging.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in running your business?
Time management. I’m a pretty organised person, but having a 2 year old and a part time job means I’m restricted in the hours I can work on Oh Ivy. I try to work while Ivy naps or once my husband comes home from work. Being an online store and on Instagram means your business is never really closed as such. This year I’ve had to put some boundaries in place and try to have “work times” so I’m not constantly on my phone replying to e-mails, DMs, commenting on beautiful photos I’ve been tagged in or processing orders. My husband also helps out by picking orders which means I have more time to focus on the admin side of things.
And your biggest achievement?
Getting to a place where now Oh Ivy can contribute financially to my family. It’s only been in the last few months that all the hours and hard work is starting to financially pay off.
What advice would you give to other small businesses?
Build relationships with other like minded businesses and don’t be afraid to say no. Some of the relationships I’ve formed through the Instagram community have provided me with opportunities to gain exposure for Oh Ivy, increasing my followers and in turn customers and sales. I have also found these women to be incredibly generous with sharing their insights and advice into what has and hasn’t worked for their business.
I’m often approached by people wanting products in exchange for a review or photos, and when this initially happened I was so flattered and found it hard to say no. As a result I would sometimes give people discounted products and really get nothing in return. I’ve now realised what does and doesn’t work for me in terms of collaborating with others and I’m ok with saying no if something isn’t going to benefit my business and ultimately my family.
What’s next for Oh Ivy?
Hopefully more of the same. We will keep adding to our CollectA animal collection and products that compliment them. We’ve got a new product arriving for Easter and some more beautiful books on the way.