As this is the last post of the series Microbusiness of the Month, we have asked our very own designer, tutor and blogger Ivana Mearns www.ivanamearns.com for a quick interview. Ivana tells us more about her various 2020 projects as well her plans for 2021. 

Have you achieved everything you planned for this year? 

My priorities kept changing during 2020 and I had to change my plans many times. My blogging schedule has changed a lot as weddings got smaller and smaller and many got cancelled. I think that couples were looking mainly for practical help rather than anything else.

Many wedding suppliers had a very challenging year but it was heart warming to see that many weddings went ahead and some couples exchanged rings in their backyard. Even with the wedding industry slowing down, it was still a good year as I was able to launch a digital magazine and a pricing course which will help many small businesses. 

What was your biggest achievement in 2020?

I don’t have to think for very long to answer this, that would be the launch of our digital magazine A Handcrafted Wedding. This idea came to me while I had quite a strong post-covid fatigue. From a simple draft of the magazine cover and a few mock up pages this led to the launch of a digital magazine featuring many small businesses. We had an excellent feedback from others and can’t wait to launch the Spring / Summer 2021 issue. 

Tell us more about your personal projects. 

As I was spending lots of time cooking during the lockdown, my husband kept saying that I should start photographing the food I cook. I quite liked the idea but I thought that it would be better to create video recipes others can watch and try.

As not many people are familiar with Czech cuisine, I started making videos of meals and cookies I learned to make in childhood. The blog www.ivanatheczechcook.com is still in its early stages and is more a hobby rather than a business project. The idea of a Czech food and lifestyle blog also led to the launch of a new range of earrings, all made with Czech glass beads. Here again, this is more of a fun project for me as I love working with glass beads. 

When is your new bridal collection going to be launched? 

I’ve got a few new pieces that are ready to be photographed. These will be released in Spring 2021. I will be designing a few more pieces. I will definitely have a few pieces ready by the time the next issue of A Handcrafted Wedding digital magazine is published so don’t forget to check the next issue. 

To match the current demand, I think that I need to focus on pieces that are easy to visualise when worn, such as hair combs. Intricate headpieces might be a bit difficult to buy online and selling via bridal boutiques might not be possible in the next few months. We will just have to see what happens next year, hopefully everything will go back to normal in 2021. 

Do you have any start up tips for start up businesses? 

The best tip I have to engage with other start-ups on social media. When I first launched my business in 2007, things were a bit different. I attended many networking events and set up a local online directory which was an excellent way of getting my name out there. Now, when I see discussions on social media, I see that start up businesses face very different challenges.

The great thing about launching a business now is how much free information is out there, but this can be also quite overwhelming. Talking to other start up businesses on social media or in person, if possible might give you much needed clarity. 

What would you like to achieve in 2021? 

To be honest, I don’t have any mind-blowing plans. A lot of my workload in 2021 will be just keeping all projects going as I have started so many new projects this year. 

I will be blogging about crafts and weddings, preparing craft projects, supporting students in making bridal headpieces and helping crafters with setting up their pricing system.

I hope to meet as many amazing people in 2021 as I did this year, even if we meet online. 

And, of course, you will also be able to view more of my video recipes and you will also find some new earring designs in my Etsy Shop. 

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