Jackie Phelps first discovered scrapbooking around 15 years ago, when she was looking for something to supplement her picture-framing business. Since then it has grown into both a core part of her business and a passion, outgrowing the family home and launching Jackie’s for Scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is an art form that creates stunning elaborate pages around items of personal and family significance. In 2000, Jackie took to running scrapbooking workshops, as much to introduce people to the craft as to give them the skills to create their own.

“It was growing so well that we decided to just go for it,” says Jackie “we didn’t do much in the way of business planning or get any business advice, but were of the opinion that if the money’s not there you don’t spend it, and you never know until you try!”

While perhaps out of step with the conventional business planning model, Jackie’s passion for her trade was such that the business has maintained steady growth since then, establishing a name for itself amongst a nationwide customer base. 

“I’d heard about mentoring, but had always been a bit hesitant. My perception was that a mentor was something that businesses got when they were in trouble.”

“At a Business After Five (BA5) event in Inglewood the seed was planted that a mentor could add some real benefit to my business, and help me control the direction of her business, rather than just the day-to-day decisions,” Jackie says. 

“So I signed up, and it’s been really good.” 

Jackie’s mentor got her thinking about the potential of the business, but before long she moved to a second mentor who could help her focus on specific aspects of the business. 

“Initially I was a bit apprehensive, but it has worked out really really well.”

Together the pair has worked through a range of business development tools, balancing planning for growth with more tangible growth-based initiatives. 

“We’ve only actually sat down together twice, for a couple of hours each time, but have had a few phone calls beyond that.” 

“He threw questions at me that made me think, either about the way I was approaching aspects of the business, or about new avenues that I hadn’t even considered. He also gave me a range of business tools that I wouldn’t have found otherwise, and the space to pull out the various aspects of each that fitted the business,” Jackie says.

“In any business there will be aspects that can be improved, but it can be easy to miss things when you’re too close to the day-to-day running of the business.”

 “You’ve got to be so many things as a small business owner that it’s just great to know you’ve got someone aware of your business but a step removed that you can go to when you need.”

“To anyone wondering if a mentor is a good move for their business I’d say go for it, regardless of where their business is currently at.”