An informal interview with Micky Cooper of MickMick Designs
How long have you been in business?
MickMick Designs is a family business which was established in Oct 2010 and has continued to grow in a variety of areas including products, services, staff and positive reputation not just in the local community but even our customers as far away as Australia We originally started off working from home then moved into Geddes House, Livingston Village. After 6 months we had to move into a bigger office and we are getting close to making the move to an even bigger one.
What are the main activities of MickMick Designs in a nutshell?
We started off using transfers to print designs onto t-shirts/bags/hoodies etc, and now we also use vinyl and gems for our designs. I have a local embroiderer on board and together we support each other’s businesses to enable us both to grow.
We have also expanded and are now looking to take on consultants to join our team and earn money whilst having fun delivering our gem parties. Birthday parties and ladies nights in have been the most popular, making designs in gems and pressing them onto various garments.
What five words would friends/colleague use to describe you?
Mental? Mad? Insane? Wild? Crazy???? No? I’d like to think it was fun, reliable, trustworthy, sincere and inspirational with the added bonus of having the best customer support ever received from a person/company.
As a member what key advantages has the Chamber offered you and your business?
Networking opportunities have been good, especially the breakfast meetings. However being nominated then winning the ‘Highly Commended’ award for the Women In Business (recognition of outstanding contribution to the local business community) has been very rewarding. The award speaks volumes and is evidence of the pride my staff and I have in providing great customer service.
I have also taken advantage of the FREE mentoring programme and I am now in the position to offer that service to others. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I see other businesses develop and grow like mine has.
How does your business support the local community?
MickMick Designs has supported the local job centre and West Lothian College for nearly 3 years by providing numerous work experience opportunities. As a result I now have an additional permanent employee via the council’s Steps into Work programme who is still employed after the end of the 6mth wage contribution period.
Further to that I sponsor a local wrestling team Reckless Intent and a darts team Stirrup Stane Cowboys. For the last few years I have also been a sponsor for Party in the Park in Bathgate and Savifest in Glasgow. We have also supported many local charities and will continue to do so.
We are now also working closely with Whitburn Academy to support the students in a variety of experiences and challenges and at Carmondean Primary I did a talk with two classes following a tie-dye project they had done. We are also looking to do similar work with more local schools in the future.
What’s the best thing about being in business for you?
Apart from reporting to no one but myself?? Just kidding. I love being able to put my passion into my working day for myself and my family rather than for other companies I had worked for. I’ve been able to adapt the skills I’ve learnt in the past and use them to build up my own business.
Plus I am able to support local people and charities and get recognition for doing so, not just as an individual but as a company too. A great example of that is when I organised Pudseyfest in the Dreadnought Bathgate with 5 bands and we raised £603 for children in need which was a great success.
And the worst?
Financial issues such as machinery unexpectedly breaking down and now the added responsibility of looking after staff. Personal development and support is the easy part for me.
Being a sole trader I need to be aware that if I am unable to work due to illness, what would the backup plan be and how will it affect the business etc.
How do you promote your business?
As well as this article, Facebook and word of mouth have been the best ways of promoting my business and maintaining regular customers. Repeat business speaks volumes. I have twitter and linked in too as well as being a member of the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce and FSB. I attend regular networking events and driving to them in my car that is all decaled, I advertise all the way. In the past I’ve done leaflet drops to various businesses and houses (a lot of footwork- literally). I have even done a radio competition and I provided many raffle prizes which in itself is advertising, but showing the caring side of the business. Discount vouchers I have tried but want to avoid as it devalues my products and services.
My website is listed at the end of this article.
And finally … Any advice for anyone thinking about setting up in business?
The saying ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’ is the best form of advice. Not all avenues of advertising work for every type of business (apart from word of mouth and obtaining and maintaining customers) so try different options and find out what works for YOU. Take a look at your competitors- how do they advertise?
Let your drive and passion for what you do take you through any hard times (accept that there will be and have an action plan in how to best overcome them) and definitely be adaptable. The world changes and if you aren’t prepared to make changes to keep up with current demand, your business will not move in the right direction. Ask for feedback. Ask what your customers want- it makes them feel valued.
Ultimately PASSION is the key- if you aren’t passionate about what you do, then why would anyone use your services/products.
MickMick Designs don’t sell to companies and we don’t sell to customers. We are people selling, supporting people and pride ourselves on having the best customer service reputation possible.
Good luck with any future adventures you have.
To find out more about Micky and MickMick Designs, visit their website www.mickmickdesigns.co.uk