We chat with Jenny Panayiotou, the founder of Wrapped In Love. Starting her small business in 2021, Jenny’s passion for creating personalised, silky-soft fleece blankets has touched the lives of many. With the ability to print words and pictures, these unique blankets make the perfect gift for any occasion. Jenny’s dedication to exceptional quality and client service has earned her rave reviews and a loyal following. Through Wrapped In Love, she has not only built a successful business but also shared warmth, comfort and love with every blanket she creates.
Jenny Panayiotou launched her small business, Wrapped In Love, in March 2021. The company specialises in creating silky-soft, fleece blankets personalised with heartfelt words and cherished pictures. These blankets serve as a perfect gift for any occasion, whether it’s family photographs of children and grandchildren for parents or grandparents.
Jenny’s blankets are truly one-of-a-kind and offer an exceptional gifting experience.
The inspiration for her business came when Jenny wanted to find a special gift for her daughter’s 16th birthday. She came across “Letter to my Daughter” blankets online, realising it was the perfect choice. However, upon seeing the prices, she decided to create a custom-made blanket herself. “It turned out beautifully, and I realised this is a product I could sell. My daughter still uses the blanket every day, and it looks just as good as the day she received it.”
Starting a new business often presents various challenges, and Jenny encountered a few of her own. “Initially, I struggled to find reliable service providers. Without a dependable team, success is difficult to achieve. I take immense pride in the fact that every step of the production process is handled by women.”
“The success of my business relies on delivering exceptional designs and high-quality products, so I make sure to foster reliable and dependable partnerships. This is crucial to mitigating risks,” she adds.
Jenny’s passion for her business shines through as she explains, “These products are more than just fabric and ink. They carry deep sentiments and often serve as a long-distance message of love. Enabling that connection is truly special, and I know that what I do brings comfort.” She adds, “Clients often express deep gratitude for assisting them in conveying what’s in their hearts.”
To stand out in the industry, Jenny recognised the importance of setting high standards. “We have built a reputation for delivering exceptional products and exceeding customer expectations in terms of service. As an online business, potential clients can trust our legitimacy when they see positive reviews from more than 160 happy clients on Facebook, a professional email address, and a dedicated website. Wrapped In Love specialises specifically in fleece blankets, making us experts in this niche.”
Maintaining motivation and focus on business goals is crucial for a small business owner. Jenny devotes significant time to online marketing and building a community on her Facebook page. “When I look back at the sales figures, it’s both motivating and encouraging to see growth. My loyal supporters, (my tribe), often serve as my cheerleaders, pushing me forward.”
With a background in corporate marketing, Jenny understands the value of effective communication, the sales cycle, upselling techniques, persuasive writing, and good design. These skills have proven invaluable to her business. “Life experience has also taught me how to engage with clients, anticipate their needs, and prevent potential issues.”
Jenny shares her proudest moments and biggest successes as a business owner. “Reaching the milestone of producing over 1000 blankets and achieving a turnover of over R100k in a month were both impressive feats. However, what truly warms my heart each month is the fact that my business thrives, allowing me to earn an income.”
The blankets from Wrapped In Love possess a touch of magic. They have a profound emotional impact, often bringing tears of joy. These blankets have the power to take what’s inside one’s heart and wrap it physically around them.
Balancing personal and professional life as a small business owner can be challenging, and Jenny understands that adhering to strict business hours isn’t always practical for success. “I keep unconventional hours to accommodate my clients. They tend to respond to my marketing efforts during their downtime, so I make myself available after hours and on weekends. However, I do set aside time to give my undivided attention to my family.”
Small business owners know that nurturing relationships with customers and clients is essential for business growth. “I am highly responsive to enquiries, and if they reference a specific person or life event, I often acknowledge it in my communication. I provide regular updates during the production process, which reassures clients, and I welcome face-to-face meetings if requested. Thank-you messages are sent once an invoice is generated and again when an order is dispatched. I also flag enquiries for future orders to ensure timely follow-up. Providing excellent service is my top priority.”
Jenny primarily markets her business on Facebook because her target clients are active on that platform. Consequently, she has focused her advertising efforts there too. “I have joined several special interest groups and advertise in some of them.” However, she acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and continuously explores new avenues to expand her reach. She also mentions, “I recently started collaborating with an independent salesperson, and that model seems to be working quite well.”
Looking ahead, Jenny’s goals include finding ways to reach people who have left South Africa but still wish to send special gifts to their loved ones back home. “While I have good reach in certain communities, there is room for growth in specific geographic areas.” Jenny aims to double her production output in the next year and explore new markets, such as targeting mothers of brides.
Jenny offers words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs starting their own ventures. “Clients want to see legitimacy before they trust a business with their money. Several markers are used to assess credibility:
- A professional business email account instead of a generic one
- A dedicated website
- The number of followers
- The business’s start date
- The level of activity on your social media pages
- The feedback from reviews
- Consistent advertising efforts
Some of these markers can be quickly implemented with minimal expense, while others require time. Remain consistent, ethical, and keep pushing forward.”
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