Probably there should be streamers, pompoms and the pop of a champagne cork, but for me, it looks more like a note to you on here with my process, my thoughts and my hopes and dreams.
Back in September, I had a mini-crisis. Actually, let’s backtrack further. Over the past decade I have built up a reasonable self-employed business spread over three separate types of work - as a copywriter, as a personal stylist and as an online fabric shop owner. These three very separate income streams didn’t quite spring up by accident, but they also weren’t born from a place of passion and grown with intentionality. It was more about coming across things that worked in the moment, as I tried to earn an income that could be juggled effectively with our family’s needs (Adam and I took the decision over ten years ago that I would stay at home, then work from home, in order to be the main childcarer for our children, one very intentional decision that I have never doubted for a moment). Alongside these slightly less intentional businesses where a few common threads that ran through everything I did: commitment to my first love of writing (I can easily claim to be part of that group that have been blogging for a decade or more, as well as having been a journalist in my twenties), to constantly hand making, to always always providing something of value to my readers, customers and clients.
I knew that when Percy, our youngest, started school I would finally have a decent chunk of time again. Five whole days of six hour stretches (term time only, naturally), which just seems the most incredible amount of free time after so many years of snatched moments of work in the evenings or on weekends. I’ve always known that I wanted to work more and have a business I’m passionate about once the children were all at school, and I sort of expected to expand one of the three businesses arms that I had already built up. However, within the first week or two I realised I had it all wrong. Yes, I desperately wanted to be working more, but I didn’t actually want to grow any of those three arms. Don’t get me wrong, I have clients I love in my copywriting and personal styling work, and I don’t intend to ditch any of them any time soon, but I quickly realised I have no desire to add further clients to either, and the fabric shop has been slowing up for a few years now, simply because the fabric that I sold wasn’t in line with my own aesthetics, values and beliefs, just simply what sold at the point I started it. I’ve learned valuable skills from all three, but none were the right one to focus on. So if it wasn’t to be one of those businesses, what on earth would it be?
Meltdown. Major what have I been doing with myself, what on earth am I going to do, meltdown.
I chatted it through with anyone and everyone I could lay my hands on, hoping that someone else would provide the answer, but of course there was no way that someone else could suggest a way forward that would feel like me - by definition, it needed to come from within. It was one evening when I was talking to Adam about it for the 1,000th time that the answer finally arrived. He asked, probably not for the first time, “what would you do all day if you could do anything, and there was no need to make an income?” and the answer was suddenly simple; the things that I have always refused to give up on no matter how busy and frazzled we were - celebrating each chapter of the year, making our home a beautiful space to be in by bringing the seasons inside, enjoying the peaceful moments that come each day when the work is done and everyone is calm and quiet and fulfilled (with three children, these moments have to be savoured), writing and sharing what works for us in the hope of inspiring someone else to also enjoy the moments that we do.
Adam looked at me, waiting for the penny to drop. And waited. And waited. I may have eye rolled. Obviously there wasn’t a business within all of that, that’s just what I do. And he waited. And it occurred to me that the only thing stopping me was the thought that people like me don’t do things like that as a business. I’m not creative enough, I’m not brave enough, I’m not business focused enough. Literally just that day I’d read some of Kayte’s words and at that moment they flooded in - there is so much negative power in thinking ‘that’s not for people like me’. And I decided, right there and then, to think that this was for people like me. If thousands of other women are making businesses out of what they do best, whatever it is, why on earth shouldn’t I?
As soon as I gave myself permission to think beyond ‘that’s not for people like me’ the whole thing came together within about half an hour - honestly, I wonder how long it had been percolating away in my subconscious, because I had a fully fledged business idea before I’d finished drinking my tea. I knew how to tie together the strings of everything I do into one perfect business for me. And the trick wasn’t to choose one thing - not quilt sewing, not writing, not candle making, not cooking, not styling, but to choose the underpinning factor for all of them. And that is simply that every time I do any one of those things I am celebrating the trifecta of things that, alongside my family, matter most in my life - quietude, home and seasonal rhythm. That’s it, and that’s the basis on which I need to build a business.
You can’t sell quietude (for the uninitiated, the definition of quietude is state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place), you can’t sell the concept of home, and you certainly can’t sell seasons, but what I can do is make and do the things that I do to celebrate each of these and share them with you. My beloved Japanese aprons, worn from dawn to dusk many days, guides to drawing parts of the season outside into our homes, a quilt to snuggle under in front of the fire on a cold night, beautifully simple linen napkins for the daily family meal, candles that evoke the season we’re in. There are so many things that I do that I can share with you.
In making my plan I knew that I didn’t have it in me to keep up with the hectic pace of constant making, to be updating a website shop every day, week or perhaps even every month, certainly not as long as I maintain the other business arms that I want to continue for the foreseeable. However, tying what I do in with the seasons seemed a natural fit. So four times a year, I’m going to release a set of products that celebrate the upcoming season. The first update, Winter, will be launched on Friday 23rd November, and is a simple celebration of the things that winter means to me and my family. You can expect simple, natural products with tiny seasonal touches and a design and creation process that is as waste free as I can make it (I even sourced thread that comes on wooden spools to avoid the plastic waste of mainstream spools) in an effort to respect the natural environment as far as possible.
I have grand plans galore for this business, from downloads to seasonal boxes to candles and recipe and goodness knows what, and I do hope you’ll enjoy discovering each new thing as I expand my range and produce products that bring seasonal celebrations from our home to yours.