Bex Grimwood has always had a creative flair. Rarely leaving her school work free of doodles, she openly admits she goes a little crazy when she’s not creating. To make sure this doesn’t happen she’s turned her passion into a business creating quirky greetings cards which may just make you blush!
Bex has always wanted to work for herself but was never quite sure what she wanted to do – it was only whilst doing an every day task she stumbled upon the inspiration that would lead her to create her business, Cloudy Cactus.
“I’ve always wanted to work for myself doing something creative but had never been sure what that creative thing should be. Last year I was looking for a card for my friend and couldn’t find anything that represented how we speak to each other, so I made a card myself. From there I realised I’d found my thing!
“I initially started working on my cards around December time and created a small range before I went live and then went on to start Cloudy Cactus in January 2018.”
Whilst one day Bex hopes to make Cloudy Cactus full-time, she currently works as well. It can be tiring but knowing that she can come home and do something she loves, just the way she wants, is enough to keep her going.
So, what does Bex sell? She sells what can only be described as sarcastic, funny and unusual greetings cards which are environmentally friendly.
“Choosing biodegradable products seemed like a no-brainer. There’s so much going on now with global warming and all the plastics ending up in the ocean and I didn’t feel I could add to that. My cards and envelopes are made from recycled paper which I feel great about - I can create a paper product without any trees having to be cut down!
“The biodegradable wallets were the thing I was most passionate about. There’s so much use of unnecessary plastic and it doesn’t degrade. It gets used for 10 minutes and then it sits in the earth for god knows how many years. Because the wallets for my cards are generally thrown away once the card has been transported it was important to me that they wouldn’t contribute to that problem, so I use wallets made from corn starch instead.”
With her products in the bag and her website up and running, Bex began selling her cards. It’s not all been plain sailing however, as she struggled to market her products and get her brand out there.
When she saw an opportunity, through the NMTF’s Youth Market scheme, to sell her products directly to the public she didn’t hesitate.
She traded at her local youth market, run by Kirklees Council, and was then selected to trade at the Yorkshire Youth Market in Leeds which was held on Yorkshire Day.
“Honestly, doing the Youth Markets has been AMAZING for helping with getting my product out there. I’ve gained customers in people that saw us at the market and then followed me on social media afterwards, I’ve been able to look at the other business’ there and see how they market their products and then there’s the promotion from the NMTF - the whole thing has been such a tremendous help!
“It’s awesome to sit at home and make the cards and sell them online but being in front of people and actually seeing their reactions to the product is so great. I was really surprised by the range of people that loved my cards! I had one lady in tears with laughter at the Yorkshire Youth Market - that was by far my favourite moment.”
It seems fair to say that market trading may well become a key element in Bex’s business plans going forward, with the flexibility, ease of entry and multiple opportunities to sell to new customers, she’s not going back now!
“I will continue to trade on markets! I’m currently looking at markets for the Christmas period and hoping to get out there with my new Christmas card range!
“I would recommend it to other new business’ - it’s such a good way to meet people in similar situations and test your products to see which do best. If you’re thinking of setting up an online business, I’d suggest doing markets alongside that - my best sellers at market were completely different to my best sellers online.”
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