Let's get personal for a minute. Setting up a business as a side hustle is tough ("no kidding" we hear you say!) and some days are definitely harder than others.
But...do you know what keeps us going?
Speaking to our Peddlers! Without a doubt.
Spending time with them, getting to know their business, hearing their personal journeys, seeing how excited they are to be part of our community (no matter what industry, there is an instant connection between small business owners) just fills our hearts when the going gets tough.
And this week we want you to meet Claudia Gunn. She is an award winning NZ song writer with huge talent and a beautiful vision: celebrating the everyday magic of childhood. We love her already.
Claudia used to sing with an electronic band and worked in television as an editor. But Little Wild Music (her label of children's music) came to her when she had her first baby (now 14) and her whole world suddenly changed. She struggled to put him to sleep (we have so been there Claudia!) so she naturally just sang him every lullaby she could think of. Once she used up her childhood repertoire she started writing him her own songs. And that's how it all started. She already had a home studio so was able to record them, mainly to keep as a memory for the family. That same year, APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Rights Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited) started a competition to recognise children's music songwriting. She sent in one of her songs and won (jointly alongside Craig Smith's Wonky Donkey song). From then on she met many great people in the music industry and it opened her eyes to the fact that this wasn't just something she could do in her spare room for the family to enjoy.
Fast forward to 2016, and she launched her first album, Little Wild Lullabies. And earlier this year, her second album Little Wild Universe (supported by NZ on Air) came out. "The record is aimed as a support for teachers, parents and educators everywhere in sharing the wonder of the space sciences and speaking directly to the sense of wonder that our discoveries among the stars produce".
Her albums represent some of the broad catalogue of original content that she performs in her live shows, where she loves getting to meet her little fans (we love the idea of Little Wild Storynights). Covid hasn't made it easy this year but she is looking forward to being able to roll out more live shows, and live-streams to promote and share her work.
We asked her what the trickiest part of setting up her business was?
"The hard part of making music as a business is that most of the music business in terms of revenue is live performance, and the publishing/recording of songs is almost an advertisement for that live experience, especially when you are starting out independently. But I have learnt over time to treat each production as a little window into my songwriting world that can stand alone as an experience in its own right, and I learn more with every record that I make."
Claudia also highlights the importance of patience. "If you are trying to make a sustainable business, you'll face long investment periods where you are building your brand and creating something rich for people to find. It takes a lot of consistency and commitment. Also important is making allies like Peddle who have a completely different expertise and allow you to broaden your range. The more you can streamline your admin too, the more headaches are saved in the long run. Treat it all as beautiful, as everything in your business still has to support your core value."
As we speak, Claudia is busy getting ready to release her third album which is a song book with 25 songs (effectively a double album!). It is called "Sing Through The Year - A Little Wild Childhood" (supported by Creative NZ). The songs are all about the seasons, the weather and how kids interact with nature, and this project is illustrated by fellow school mum and artist Elise De Silva.
We would love to have Claudia come to our kids' schools and nurseries to perform her songs from her albums!
And if you are thinking of purchasing one of her albums right here, you can choose to have it beautifully gift wrapped by Claudia herself who just created these matching hand stamped gift wrap designs to reflect the themes of her albums. Talk about creative consistency and making everything beautiful! You are spot on Claudia.
Before we leave each other, we asked her to share one last piece of business advice:
"Do your market research and get to know what other people are doing in the same area - and don’t be put off, but be inspired and understand the breadth of scope that there is within the genre. Find role models, and see what you love. Before you even make your music or productions to sell and promote, it is helpful to have that vision and clarity that will inform and colour all your other decisions. Also appreciate and support other people that do similar stuff to you - they are often the most helpful as a community, they don’t see you as competition but they tell you to come and join the party. To this end, I’m a part of Kiwi Kids Music here in NZ as well as international songwriter communities too."
Thank you Claudia. That's exactly what we believe in at Peddle. We're all about creating a community that helps and supports each other. We definitely have that vision that keeps us going. And our Peddlers of course!