Leona AKA Indie Roller knows what marketing works. She's launched and closed several successful indie businesses in her time, one being Lucky Dip Club which reached a six-figure turnover in the first two years. Her expertise and business wisdom have lead her to guest speaking, hosting workshops, and now writing a guide all about the world of indie biz.


So, we thought there's no one better to share their wisdom with you. Keep reading for her tips on building a thriving community and start-up success.

Seed of an idea

Marketing your products starts when the initial seed of an idea pops into your head. Sharing as much of the process as you can will give your audience and potential customers the ultimate number of opportunities to fall in love with you and what you do. It’s the opposite of keeping everything behind the scenes and building up to a singular ta-da moment, which can feel overwhelming and potentially limits your chances of selling what you’ve made.

small business ideas indie roller
Photo credit: Indie Roller

Get into the habit of creating content like time lapses or 1 second videos from your day that share how you work. The creative process is a fascinating one and so is sneaking a peek behind the scenes of how an artist works. Do ‘sketchbook show ’n’ tells’ on IGTV or Instagram Stories to talk through what you want to create and why. It can be the springboard for brilliant conversations that can shape products that your customers actually want. Learning to let go of your ideas early on will build an audience of people who want what you’re going to launch.

What does it stand for?

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Focus your marketing on the ‘why’, not just the ‘what’. Why did you create the collection in the first place? How do the products reflect your values and what is important to you? How would you like your customers to feel? Create a connection with your audience by discussing the emotion behind the designs.

Customers involved

small business ideas illustration
Illustration credit: Sam Jayne Designs Quote credit: Indie Roller

Ask questions as an opportunity to learn. You wear lots of different hats as an independent business owner so lessen the load by asking your followers their opinion on social media or in a newsletter. When your audience feels included, they feel valued and invested in what you’re bringing into the world. So, as those questions present themselves in your day to day, think of your customers as your cheerleading squad who hold vital intel to support you. It’s OK to be vulnerable, you don’t have to know everything!

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Widen your audience by buddying up with other businesses or freelancers that share similar values to you but have different skills. Create a small limited edition collection that is exciting and sells out quickly. Create a quick plan that involves being visible on each other’s channels like live Q&As, Instagram Story Takeovers, grid posts, Twitter chats and guest blog posts. If it’s a success make it an annual collaboration that your combined audience can look forward to.

Get out there

Who runs your local indie shop, cafe or events? List your top three strengths as a focal point for an idea to pitch to them. If you sew your products, can you offer a ‘Getting Started With Sewing’ workshop? If you’re an illustrator, you could do an in-store live drawing event or offer portraits on the first Saturday of the month.

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Don’t hide behind the comfort of your Instagram grid hoping your ideal customers will find you. Bring your creativity through to your marketing and lead with what lights you up. Have fun!

For more business tips and advice follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and check out our blog posts below.

  • Maker business tips: How to crowdfund your business
  • What’s it worth?
  • How to work with influencers


Phoebe Burt
Phoebe BurtSEO and Communities Editor, Gathered

Phoebe has worked for Gathered, and our sister magazine Mollie Makes, for 3 years. She manages our Arts & Crafts section and specialises in social media and content strategy. She has a background in all things marketing, a flair for Pinterest and a knack for finding the next big craft trend. Previously she worked as Digital Campaign Executive for Fat Media. You may recognise her name from Mollie Makes Social Media magazine, where she shared her expertise and top tips on becoming social media savvy.

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