Today I am very excited to introduce my second ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurship’ guest writer, Dennis. Dennis owns a woodwork business called Wooden Gifts and More. It has been amazing hearing another amazing business story and I’m so excited to share it! I hope this series can continue to encourage more entrepreneurs to take the leap into the business industry give real life insight into the business world! Our previous guest post by Charlotte from Charlotte Wade Photography and Artwork can be found here!
Introduce yourself and your business..
Hi Everyone, I am Dennis, a 21-year-old woodworker and entrepreneur from Belgium currently living in Sweden, where I am studying for my bachelor’s degree. At the age of 16, I started my small business named Wooden Gifts And More. The company began from my hobby and interest in wood. I create handmade wooden gifts such as pens, fountain pens, letter openers, and more! All items are created out of sustainable retrieved materials from dead trees or sick trees. Everything is handmade by myself in Belgium, which is quite a challenge due to my education in Sweden. While I am studying in Sweden, my mom is kind enough to take care of the shipping of the orders.
How did you get started in the woodwork sector?
At the age of 15, I got very interested in woodworking and started creating all kinds of items like small tables, gifts, and more. Later that year, I discovered the art of woodturning and creating wooden pens. I instantly fell in love with the process and became a real wood nerd! After that, I sold some of my first pens to friends and family, who then convinced me to start opening a small business. It’s been a fantastic industry where I’ve learned loads of things from fellow woodworkers
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I have been lucky enough to find at a young age, something that I absolutely love, and I could make into a part-time business while studying! When growing up, I was fortunate enough to be part of a family where my dad, uncle, aunt, cousin, and grandpa were entrepreneurs. I had lots of role models and mentors I could look up to, and this got me dreaming from a young age to have my own business once. Throughout my school career, I tried every possible way to make some extra money, from selling bracelets my mom bought super cheap to selling wooden candleholders. I was that annoying kid at school that always tried to sell you something!
Then when I was 15, I discovered the wonderful world of woodworking through YouTube. I instantly fell in love with this world and started making my first projects from pallet wood and all kinds of things I could find in the house! After turning my parents’ garage into a dust mansion filled with tools and lumber, my parents build a workshop for me outside. This is where I started creating my first wooden pens. After creating these, I showed them proudly to my family members and sold some to them. Then my family told me it could be a fun business to start. I started to sell my pens on Facebook, second-hand websites and everywhere I could think of. After selling a couple more, I was lucky enough to find Etsy! Where I then officially launched my web shop in December 2015! The web shop was not an instant success, and it took some months before I got my first sale.
Slowly but surely some sales entered from all over the world! After selling for almost 4 years on Etsy, last year my own web shop and took social media and the whole company a lot more seriously. This worked out great for me and created a hectic Christmas period where I was studying in Sweden and tried to help all the customers and keep the logistics up and running!
My journey in entrepreneurship has been truly amazing, it has allowed me to learn much more then I could ever imagine and develop as a person.I genuinely love what I’m doing, I’m not money-driven, and it doesn’t feel like a job to me. I hope I can keep on being an entrepreneur for the rest of my life!
What are the good and bad things about having a small business?
Having a small business has been for me a fantastic learning experience with loads of great moments. Still, I would also like to display some of the less great parts. Just to show that running a business is definitely not only a positive and easy experience.
The Good Things:
One of my favourite things is working with customers who buy your products as a present and truly appreciate it when you put in that extra work to make the gift unique.
Another super fun aspect for me is the constant reinventing of your business, where you try to improve it and bring it to the next level. This keeps it exciting and fun for me
Creating the brand Wooden Gifts And More has been overall the best thing, because all the items are handmade by myself they genuinely mean a lot to me and slowly building that brand to people all over the world is something amazing!
The Bad Things:
Running a business is stressful! No one tells you this when you start, but if you start your own business, there are so many things you have to think of, and this can be overwhelming from time to time! In my situation, I’ve always tried to remember that you have time, and it’s okay if not everything is finished today. Putting impossible deadlines will harm more than do good. Another part that I got confronted with when starting my business was that people don’t believe in you. When you do something different, like starting your business, people immediately have opinions, and this can be frustrating and demotivating. My advice would be to always remember why you started and don’t care about other people’s views. Use it as a motivation to prove them wrong!
What Advice would you give future business owners?
My number one advice I would give to people who want to start their business is to be patient and have fun in the process. Running a business is not a sprint but a marathon, your company won’t be an overnight success, you have to put in the late nights and hours of hard work! And you can only do this when you love what you’re doing, and when you have fun while creating the business. If you start a business solely for the financial upside, you’re starting for the wrong reason, in my opinion. And one last tip, stand open for learning new things, through the internet you can literally learn everything. This is how I learned almost everything on my journey.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story!
Warm regards, Dennis!
Massive thank you to Dennis for this wonderful guest post, he has provided some great advice for those looking to enter the business industry and I wish him all the best for the future! You will find links to his so website throughout this post so go over and show this amazing business some love. Wooden Gifts and More can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. You can support small businesses in so many different ways shown in my recent post, and it massively helps smaller business owners grow!