Posted: Wed 27th Jul 2022
Lisa Daly is the founder of This Is You, which began as a memory journal but has grown into a luxury brand offering keepsake products that make ideal gifts.
The business started as a lockdown project but grew into a successful business with an Instagram following of over 19,000. Lisa tells us how her journaling habit turned into a business.
“I did business and marketing in college but I didn't really use it. I went on to do secretarial work, and I worked in bookies for a while. Then I had my son Noah, who is 11 now, and I've been a stay-at-home mother since then. I now have five children and the youngest is two and a half.
“I ran a cake business while I was staying at home for three or four years, but it got a bit too much. Cakes and children don’t match!
Since her kids were born, Lisa had always kept notes in a journal about funny things the children said or notable moments outside the usual baby milestones.
She knew there was already a product on the market for recording baby’s first years, but she wanted to create something which could store memories and milestones for far longer. Lisa explains:
“The memory book is up to 21 years of age, and you would intend to give it to the person on their 21st birthday. It’s more for everyday memories, birthday parties or what they did on weekends, that kind of thing. Rather than the milestones like when they first crawled or first smiled.
“It has loads of little questions and prompts in it, to make it easier to write in rather than a diary. I wanted my products small and handy so you could keep them in a kitchen drawer, rather than the big bulky baby books you get.”
After creating a website for the business, Lisa took to Instagram to create a buzz around her product and generate sales through the platform.
“I got my followers through there, and I link them back to the website then,” she explains. “It just grew, and then I brought out a home organisational journal.”
Lisa sold her first journal in March 2021 and has since increased her product range to an offering of nine.
“My main seller, I reckon, will always be my first one. But I’ve also brought out a wedding journal, and in the last few weeks I started selling a passport wallet that holds seven passports and all your documents for travelling. That has been really popular lately.”
Getting 19,300 followers in a year is no mean feat for a small business. Lisa found she really had to push herself outside of her comfort zone to gain that Instagram following.
“I had to really come out of myself. I wouldn’t follow people with just products, I follow the person. So, I show my family on my page and also do a lot of baking and different things like that.
“And I was talking to all the influencers and bloggers and hoping they would like my products. Thankfully they did and they have been a huge help.”
As the business was expanding, so was the amount of space it was taking up in the house. So, Lisa got herself a 40-foot converted container, which she put in her garden at home in West Limerick and kitted out with storage and an office space.
When it comes to challenges facing small businesses at the moment, Lisa felt the pinch the ripple effect of the Russian invasion on Ukraine had on consumer spending.
“I guess I’ve a luxury item rather than something people need, so I definitely saw a slow-down there for a few months. But it is starting to pick up now I feel.
“Another challenge is trying to make reels just to sell a book. Also, being a mother of five small kids and trying to find the time to do interviews and things is not easy. But that would be my own challenge rather than something that affects every small business, so I just get on with it.”
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