How a ‘technophobe’ mum created a fun and popular online store.

“How on earth did such a technologically challenged mum start a successful online store?”

Lets have a look at Rhonda in 2014 (just before School Frames started).

Some things that I was good at doing:
• Picture Framing.
• Making Mirrors.
• Drawing design layouts (pencil and paper of course).
• Even dabbled in some leadlighting.

Some things that I was NOT good at doing:
• Making Facebook statuses.
• Posting photos.
• Buying things online.
• Typing emails.
• ANYTHING “ONLINE”.

I was very lucky to be able to stay at home and look after my kids, but gradually they grew up and I found myself with a bit more time on my hands. I’ve always loved Picture Framing but wasn’t sure how I was going to combine going back to work and being around for my kids. I threw around a few wild and crazy ideas but it always came back to my love of Picture Framing.

It doesn’t happen very often but occasionally I get motivated to clean, one day I decided to clean out the ‘cupboard of no return’, we all have one of those cupboards where we stash copious amounts of clutter that we have no-idea what to do with. I found my kids school photos, which were scattered throughout the cupboard and I felt both adoration and sadness. Adoration, because my cute preppies had grown into such beautiful young people, but sad because time has flown past so quick. I decided not to let these precious memories hide way anymore.

Even though, at the time, my kids had only been in school for a couple of years, they had grown so much. I went rummaging through the rest of the house to find the missing school photos (took forever). Finally, I had a photo for every year so far – and I also found some dusty un matching frames to put them in. When I put the frames on the shelf, I was disappointed as all the frames were different colours and sizes. That’s when I first had the faintest idea of making a “School Frame.” I decided to make use of my Picture Framing experience and made two frames, like the ones you’ll find on my website today and hung them on the wall.

My friends kept asking me if I would make them one too, so I did. I had made around 15 frames when I got a letter from my kid’s school asking each family to donate money towards a new PE Centre. I couldn’t afford to donate at the time but I showed the Principle my School Frames and said that I would run a fundraiser and give all the proceeds back to the school. It was hugely successful and I raised about $3,500 for the school. I couldn’t believe it.

Once I had made School Frames for the families at school, I started receiving phone calls from their friends asking if I could possibly make them one as well. I had made more than 50 School Frames throughout that one year. I was having so much fun making and selling these frames. My husband encouraged me to set up a business selling School Frames. This honestly scared me as I had no experience and didn’t know where to start.

I decided to have a BBQ and invite some friends around that have experience in online marketing. One of those friends was the very talented and creative web designer and owner of Pixel Palace. She introduced me to the idea of starting an online store. However, at the time I didn’t think I would sell enough to justify paying someone to build me a website. I had no-idea how to advertise online, although I was good at uploading pictures of my lunch to my Facebook page, until my family told me to STOP as it was apparently annoying.

After my family and friends grew tired of me talking about making School Frames, they very loudly (possibly even some eye rolling) encouraged me to take the plunge. I finally decided to ask Pixel Palace to build an online store. That was a whole new experience for me since I’m extremely technology challenged. Not only did Jen answer a thousand stupid questions, she also designed my logo, website and helped me kick off the Facebook page.

Wow! The website went ‘live’ and I ran a competition for a free frame, hoping to lure some ‘likers’. I swear I checked my Facebook page and website every 30 seconds for the first month. I was beside myself with excitement to reach 20,000 ‘likes’. People were loving the Frames; I couldn’t believe it. The online store had launched just before Christmas so before I knew it, I was bribing friends with free pizza and beer to come and help me wrap, pack and send School Frames.

Flash forward to today and I have expanded the School Frames range. I’m now building Custom Frames and looking forward to introducing the new Personalised School Frames, I LOVE my job.

Although I have learnt a lot, I’m still very techo challenged (just ask my 11 year old son) and had to ask my very patient niece to help me load photos onto Instagram (actually she just does it for me). And of course, I still call Jen at Pixel Palace with all my  questions, especially now that I’m trying to delve into the world of Pinterest, Etsy and even blogging.

But even still, the moral of this story is that if I can run an online store, anyone can.

None of this would have happened without the lovely people that continue to support me on Facebook, thank you to everyone that has liked, shared, reviewed or commented on the School Frames page.

If anyone ever needs some advice from a techno challenged online store owner, drop me an email. I will direct you to someone that knows what they are doing.

The one thing I’m definitely good at is making frames, and that is what I’m going to keep doing.

I LOVE making Frames for families to hang on their wall.

Lastly, thank you Janelle (my lovely niece) for uploading this blog because I have no-idea how to do it.

Rhonda xxxx
www.schoolframes.com.au