There's a rave in my kitchen.
I’m not sure if I was just being exceptionally overconfident or exceptionally naïve but when I decided to give my all to Fresh Baby I really didn’t think it would be this stressful. I sell nappies, not oil.
Let’s start by having ourselves a little stereotype moment. My reasons for starting my own business were the same as a lot of women:
· You’ve found something that you’re good at and passionate about
· You need to work around the kids
· You need to channel your energy in a way that supports your mental health
· You need to earn money
Now let’s have a moment to discuss what I didn’t plan for:
· Not actually making any money
· Needing to learn about SEO (Can we please bear in mind that I only learned how to send attachments on emails 3 years ago?)
· Needing a marketing budget
· Severe, crippling imposter syndrome
· School holidays
Working for myself was supposed to be a bit of a no-brainer. It would cost £42 per day for Mac to go a good local nursery, so having him here with me while I worked would mean we can still spend our days playing, stacking, reading and chasing squirrels but I’d also be able to lend my time to growing the business. I’m not ashamed to admit that for the past few years we’ve operated a very ‘1950’s’ style of family life. Husband working hard doing what Husband does (Chandler Bing’s job – I have absolutely no clue) and me working hard doing the crayons, the cooking, the refereeing, the wellies - happily. Very happily. Even when I did work in a more mainstream environment, He had a career and I had a job. There is a very big difference in that statement.
Yet despite the madness that is family life, I’m putting the hours in and Fresh Baby is growing. The part of the business that I run not-for-profit is booming, with a new local weekend venue being added to keep up with demand, the nappy library is going from strength to strength and I adore it. I was referred to as ‘The Nappy Girl’ last week and my head nearly fell off. I was recognised! Me! A bona fide Nappy Girl! This is what Megan Markle must feel like when she rocks up with her kid at the children’s centre.
A few weeks ago I launched a Crowdfunder campaign which is something that I didn’t think I’d ever do and I’m completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve had a great response (Oh hello again, Imposter Syndrome) and I’m over a 3rd of the way to meeting my target. It’s an ‘all or nothing’ campaign with the intention of growing Fresh Baby into small physical concessions within zero-waste stores.
Knowing that real nappies can be a minefield (hence the need for nappy libraries) many stores are reluctant to invest in real nappies mainly because they don’t know where to start. But given the huge push that a lot of us small independent nappy businesses are undertaking to make cloth more mainstream and more ‘High Street’ it makes perfect business sense to me. If you’re worried about making a mistake with regards to your stock, outsource it. Enter Fresh Baby.
I’m trying my best to stay positive and be pro-active. I’m going to a Women in Enterprise Networking event soon & The Women’s Org. have some incredible seminars that I can attend to expand my (very small amount of) business knowledge. I’ve also got quite a few trader events popping up over the next few weeks including a Christmas spot with the legendary ParentFolk which is a great opportunity for Fresh Baby.
There is a post that does the rounds on Facebook every now and then. Something dreadfully gushy along the lines of ‘when you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a big CEO buy another house or car. You’re helping a Dad buy a soccer jersey, a little girl get dance lessons’ or something to that effect and as cheesy as it is, as soon as my phone pings to tell me that someone chose me, trusted me with their hard earned, I do an absolute rave around my kitchen. Think Fresher's week 2004, Glasto 2007 or Kos 2002. An actual rave.
So, when the dust settles and everyone is bathed and in bed I’ve got to remember why I’ve opened this can of worms. It’s for them. My lot. The noisy, farty, hilarious little bunch of people that I knitted myself. This is a lot harder than I thought.
Much love, Hannah x