Craig had been procrastinating about his idea for a business for a long time and when the pandemic struck and he was furloughed from his full-time job, he finally ran out of excuses.
“During lockdown I had all the time in the world to plan what I wanted to do. When I was working in London I was on a three-hour round commute, and I just didn’t have any time to reflect and set-up a business, but I knew I wanted to take ownership and create designs that I really liked. I thought about my own interests and what would fill a gap in the market, and I arrived on the idea of pop-culture themed stationery aimed at the LGBT community.
“I decided to register the business Yob & Yag, which is Gay Boy spelt backwards – a derogatory term that people used against me when I was growing up. I wanted to reclaim that ‘name’ and make my business a safe place for the LGBT community and turn that period of my life into a positive.”
Craig’s stationery aims to make you giggle and smile and he was already offering greeting cards, bookmarks, planners and writing paper. But he had bigger plans in mind and wanted to broaden his range to include stickers, badges, candles, posters and more. However, the equipment Craig needed was quite expensive and he did not have the funds to invest.
As a result of £3350.58 in grant funding from Outset Start and Grow, he was able to buy a printer, 3D printer, candle wax maker, cricut sticker machine and a new computer.
“This equipment has widened my offering, but it’s also made me more efficient. I used to outsource the printing of my greeting cards to third-party companies and to keep the costs down, I had to do it in bulk. But now I can test designs and see what’s popular before making large orders which might not sell. It also allows me to create custom orders and personalisation for customers.
The new iMac has massively sped things up. My laptop was 11 years old, so trying to do any sort of design on that whatsoever was taking me about three times as long.”
Outset Start and Grow also helped Craig develop his business plan and set objectives for his new enterprise.
“I’m a very creative person so the support I received to develop my business mindset really helped. I love that I’ve been able to turn a hobby into a business and the grant will enable me to scale up my business considerably faster. Without it I would have had to accumulate the cash first to re-invest in the business, and that would have taken much longer.”
Next, Craig plans to launch his new e-commerce website and start selling his designs to the retail sector, starting with small independent shops. He also would like to attract wholesale businesses that would then sell his products to lots of retail stores.
Follow Craig’s journey and look at his website to see if you would like to buy anything from his growing range: yobandyag.com