Back in 2008 when Julie Deane needed to make some extra money for her daughter’s education she sat down and made a list of ten, simple small business ideas… ideas which would suit her skills and could be worked from home.

She decided to run not with a idea or a completely new and untried product but with something she remembered fondly from her own childhood – school satchels. Julie’s satchels were based on a traditional design and handmade to order.

Originally aimed at school kids Cambridge Satchels quickly become a high fashion accessory! By producing them in bright colours they became a ‘must have’ bag amongst trendy 20-somethings. Within a couple of years sales grew from three satchels a day to 900 a week… and turnover skyrocketed from £15,000 to an estimated £12 million a year!

So what can we learn from Julie Deane’s business success?

Firstly, you don’t need a high tech. idea to be successful – instead, look for an old established idea and add a twist that will appeal to your market. Secondly, even in a slump there’s a demand for good quality, ‘home made’, hand crafted products.

Have a think about it: Are there any products YOU could hand make and sell at home? How could you give your product idea a twist that would make it more trendy and desirable… and in the process add value and drive sales?