Starting from nothing, she has created a brilliant business and a huge following across social media
Steph Johnson is in the mood to celebrate, as her Scouse Bird shop in Crosby reaches £1m of turnover. But it wasn’t always easy and she found herself facing huge challenges just to get going in the early stages of business life.
“I started it all off in my late twenties,” Steph says, “and then it was just a bit of fun really. Genuinely, I had no idea where it would take me. Blogging and influencing didn’t exist then so there was no expectation of making money from it. I was dirt poor as well and lived in a two up two down in Walton that I’d bought aged 20. I couldn’t live on my wages really either, so I was always in debt. It was a tough time, but I kept at it and didn’t give up, and built up a social media following, staying anonymous like many others.
Be consistent in life and use whatever bricks people throw at you to build your empire stronger
“Then I gradually started making a little bit of money the year in 2013, when I started doing the Scouse Bird diaries. I left my job after 18 months of running the SBP socials to do it full time, but my main income was still from advertising other businesses, not actually my own. But I was learning loads about how to do it from that, and the online shop launched in 2014. So now, reaching a million pounds of turnover, it’s really a special moment for me and my team.”
With everything on sale from her own brand of gin to Spanish cleaning products, through to her famous diary and ‘F*** the Tories’ ranges, the entrepreneur has built her brand partly around having a shop selling branded and independent products, taking a different path to many other influencers.
Incredibly, the physical shop was not initially planned. “In 2016 when my 250k follower Instagram page got reported and taken down I had to pivot to the online shop more as Insta had been my main source of income. I was 8 ½ months pregnant and the only breadwinner. Quite stressful to say the least, being ready to pop.”
Then in 2017 disaster struck, though once again, Steph was able to turn a huge challenge into a positive outcome. “My Facebook page got hacked and I had to start all over again, which at first was devastating and so stressful as I had built up 180k followers. But I also took a big risk and stopped being anonymous as well. I knew it would create a bit of a stir as most influencers like me don’t show who they are – and that is great, of course, but for me, finally there was a face to what I was doing. That enabled me to open my first physical shop – it was a huge turning point, and I felt then much more like a businesswoman with a thriving brand and I could own it and myself more. Then six months later I moved to a bigger unit and opened a salon as part of the shop, and my social media following kept growing too.”
Did we die and go to heaven?
The Scouse Bird diary can't be defeated, not even by 2020. It's back in time for Christmas ready for a fresh new year and as always with a fresh new look.
Pre Order yours now! https://t.co/zRGGpJErw2 pic.twitter.com/Tfka5K13is
— The Scouse Bird Shop (@ScouseBirdShop) October 26, 2020
18 months later she moved to a high street location in Crosby where her business remains, delivering right across the UK – and now there are plans to move to Liverpool’s city centre in the New Year. “2020 has been crazy and very difficult for everyone,” Steph says. “The pandemic has changed everything. I have slowed down a lot and had time to reflect on my life, and take stock for which there was never time to do before. And from that I have had the head space to set myself some new goals, including moving location which is definitely a new challenge for me and the team.”
View this post on InstagramI would never sell anything that I wouldn’t have or drink myself and I can bring myself to drink any other brand of coffee anymore. It’s so good. Available in instant granules, cafetière grind, filter grind, decaf AND there’s these gorgeous starter tins or eco refill bags when you’ve ran out scousebirdshop.com/collections/food-drink
A post shared by Steph Johnson (@scousebirdblogs) on
Steph, who currently has over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter and 107k on instagram, says: “My philosophy is always to keep things fun, always have integrity and don’t f*** people over. Be persistent, be consistent in life and use whatever bricks people throw at you to build your empire stronger. There’s always a way to turn a bad situation into a positive, and that is kind of how I have grown really in life and as a businesswoman. Also, I always try to be as diverse as possible. The shop isn’t my only source of income - I host a quiz night, have an Airbnb, do the affiliate work. I think if you can keep your life busy then you have got a good chance of succeeding – but also, don’t ever let anyone bring you down, use their negativity to be even stronger each and every time. That’s a big part of being a Scouse Bird.”
Click here to visit the Scouse Bird shop