“I think overall Artisan help us save money and improve productivity”
When Lydia Gluck and Meghan Fernandes launched Pom Pom Quarterly in 2012, their main concern was filling the niche of creating a knitting and craft publication that was fun and modern, and a magazine that they would want to buy themselves. The creative process was the driver and not surprisingly, thoughts about accounts and financial forecasting didn’t really get a look in at that time!
The nascent PPQ story is quite typical of many creative start-ups. PPQ is the brain-child of Lydia Gluck and Meghan Fernandes and is based in London and in Texas. Both keen knitters and creative sorts in general, they were aware of a movement online towards independent designers and small yarn producers, but the mainstream knitting publications they were seeing didn’t seem to be doing the trend justice.
Deciding to launch their own magazine, they enlisted the help of friends and family, and printed 500 copies of their debut issue; selling it online and in a handful of small knitting shops. Most of the sales were through word of mouth and it seemed they were not the only ones looking for a magazine like PPQ – beautifully printed and setting the craft firmly in the 21st Century – because the magazine grew and grew. Now, firmly established, they have hired 3 others and are due to make 2 new hires shortly, they also print hard back books under Pom Pom Press.
“We wanted to present knitting and craft in the way we saw it, as thoughtful, colourful, and not at all something that should be left in the past. We filled the gap in the market at just the right time, and our business has grown fairly organically and steadily since we started it. “
Growing quickly and being based in different time zones hasn’t always been easy, but Pom Pom’s approach is to find the positives wherever possible. Two times zones can have its advantages in terms of communicating with their audience and the ability to access two very large markets more easily. Being open to new technology helps as well – the two offices use apps like Slack to share opinions and creative input.
However, like many start-ups, to begin with their main focus was on the answering the creative questions and not on numbers or planning. So as their business began to grow, Pom Pom were feeling a little bit out of their depth on the accounting side of things.
After joining Artisan Accounts, the onboarding process was quick and straightforward. Seeing the need for keeping things as simple as possible while providing useful information, Artisan set Pom Pom up with Xero online accounting software, to streamline their invoicing process, track expenses more quickly and keep on top of the business side of things. The team enjoy using Xero and are now working towards integrating it with their online shop.
“It helps us make more informed decision making for sure. I think overall Artisan help us save money and improve productivity…business-wise we want to keep growing in a sustainable way and be able to pay our staff and contributors more. “
Not surprisingly PomPom are proud of their achievements so far, creating a financially viable business in a sector (print) that was struggling, turning two-time zones into an advantage, not a Iiability, embracing technology for both creative collaboration and financial control and not least, creating jobs and a community they are proud of. PomPom intuitively spotted a niche and knew their customer well enough to know that they would be willing to pay for the quality product Pom Pom produce. Diversifying their offer for new and current customers by adding hardback books to their range indicates that PomPom hasn’t finished crafting their product and growing their business!
With all they have accomplished in a short time, Lydia seems most proud of the hardback books:
“Moving into book publishing in addition to our quarterly magazine has challenging and interesting in equal measure, and a great way to use what we learned in making the magazine in new ways to bring creative people’s visions to life.”
As if that wasn’t enough, in July 2017 they celebrated their fifth birthday by organising Pomfest, a two-day event with lectures, UK and international exhibitors and a party!
We can testify to the fact that clicking on the PPQ website can lead to hours of joyous reading and luscious knits to ogle over! If events are your thing, they’ve got those too, So, get yourself a cuppa and take a look!
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