Welcome to the Going Solo episode of the phenomenal career podcast. Our guest today is Charlotte Simonsen. Can you introduce yourself to our listeners?
I’m Charlotte, I run a business called Witchin, where I sell prints, t-shirts and home decor. My most recent product is my luxury tarot deck with an extra shine for the witch who wants something extra special. I also do graphic design and recently worked in the music industry.
Tell me a little bit about your journey with Witchin?
Absolutely. I started Witchin with a friend in 2018 as we loved creating things and coming up with ideas and, I already had a lot of designs. I did actually have a shop a couple of years before that and because of that, we had a lot of the building blocks that I needed to create the shops. If it wasn’t for the first one, the second one wouldn’t have happened. So that was very much part of the journey. My friend did split with me last year, as we had very different ideas of what we wanted from the business because I wanted this to potentially be my full-time job in the long run. The business is all about positivity, inclusion and mental health.
Do you think the fact you are running the business solo impacts how you show up now versus say two years ago?
Yeah, absolutely. When it was two of us running it, we tried to compete with bigger stores, such as the high street shops. I’ve realised now that it’s a good thing that I don’t run or market my shop like a big store and that’s a really nice thing. I can have customers come in, and they’ll message me on Instagram or Tiktok, or I’ll sometimes have them email me and we’ll have a conversation. I’ve made friends through the shop that I never in a million years thought that I would make, as well as fellow shops who do similar things to what I do. I actually have a group of shops who we call ourselves a coven. I could not have done it without them. We’ll message each other on the daily where we talk about our shops, marketing and obstacles etc: I tend to overanalyze and overthink everything, so having that chat helps enormously.
What drew you to the shop idea in the first place?
I started with prints, and because I had a couple of designs ready to go, I was able to act quickly. They were really small prints and easy to store (because I had no storage space at all). We then started selling T-shirts and tote bags. I then started making jewellery and hand-painted coffin plaques, as well but that was a little bit too time-consuming.
As you mentioned, you do graphic design as well. Did you always know that you wanted a creative career?
I actually studied advertising at uni because I couldn’t choose what I wanted to do. I wanted to do music, design photography and drawing, so I thought about becoming an art director in the advertising industry. But that industry is really, really tough, and I just wasn’t as good at that as I thought I would be. Considering the competition as well, you have to be top-notch to do well, but people slowly started hiring me to do design because I kept doing it. I kept learning about different software such as Illustrator and Photoshop, and people really enjoyed my work. So that gave me the incentive to continue.
What’s the past year been like for you?
It’s been very confusing. I’ve had to ask myself – what do I do now? I was working in the music industry, and I’d still like to continue doing that when things start picking up again. But I had to sit down and look at other options. In the meantime, I’ve been focusing on my business 125,000,000% I’ve not been sleeping much in the last year, but it’s been amazing. I’ve done so much research and learnt about so many things such as Google Analytics, Google tools etc: But it’s the age-old question all the time – am I doing the right thing and what should I be approaching next? I’m learning now that you’re never gonna know the answer. You kind of have to try and plan as much as you can, but be open to what’s coming your way.
What’s your career teaching you right now?
I was thinking about this earlier. It might sound a little bit cliche, but research and asking for help. Not necessarily any kind of research, but researching things you’re not good at figuring out. If you can’t figure it out, find someone who can help you figure it out. So for example, I’m terrible with numbers and analytics, and all that comes with it. But I have friends whose career is analytics. So I asked them did they have any podcast or book requests, that might put me in the right direction. And more times than not, you’ll ask for a finger and they’ll give you the whole hand.
Where can people find you/ where can they connect with you?