27 Jan From Desk to Director in 176 easy steps…
Up to becoming a mum I was hell bent on being a career girl.
I had quit university halfway through my second year for what I thought was love. It wasn’t but to be fair I just felt done with education. I was studying English Literature and passing each module with good grades but I had no idea vocationally where it would lead.
My first posting from the recruitment agency was as a technical assistant in Rail. It was here that the stars aligned and I met my now husband. My knight in shining Peugeot, collecting me from the local McDonald’s to give me a lift every day….
As the years passed I stayed in the industry, progressing from tech assistant to planner to resourcer and eventually to a subcontract manager. I revelled in it.
During my maternity leave though, something switched off. I didn’t want to be waiting on cold stations in Manchester while my baby was back in nursery in Wigan. I didn’t care about job titles or prestige. For the first time in my life the only job title that mattered was that of Mummy.
I took redundancy and instead took a temporary role at the local hospital on minimum wage and loved it. I was a stones throw from the nursery and my role came with very little responsibility.
By the time Niamh was 3 I had been in several scheduling roles but found myself back in rail. A part of me died at my desk every day. I had missed out on so much with my daughter. The hours were long and I no longer had the confidence for the role. Nor an interest in it. I would spend my days doodling or writing really crap poetry. I mean seriously crap.
On the job I made several pretty huge errors and my self esteem was at an all time low.
It was during one of these days that I was speaking to Kelly on Facebook. Kelly was an old work colleague and friend. She had quit full time employment to start up her own baby business having 2 daughters herself. During this time she stumbled across the ‘Living Locket’ on an American site. This was a new concept that allowed you to build a locket that told the story of you. When she ordered one, she was told that they didn’t ship to the UK and this lead to Lavish Lockets – the first UK retailer of interchangeable lockets.
Kelly needed help to grow the business from that of a sole trader. With not a pot to do the proverbial in, I offered there and then to buy in as a partner and grow the business. I loved the product and I needed some fire in my belly again.
I loved to promote too. I’d had a rather brief fling as a Juice Plus distributor and did well despite knowing, deep down, that it was absolute guff. I’m not proud of that by the way but the money I made softened the blow. I knew I had a certain level of ambition still in me and when push came to shove I could sell.
I booked us onto every event there was. We did events in the freezing cold, in a very smelly pub and 2 long days at a huge wedding show all selling our wares and getting the brand out there.
We were, and are a great team
We became a limited company in October 2012 and after attending my work’s Christmas party in December, I embraced the fear and never went back from that day.
Kelly and I spent that Christmas putting together orders on her ironing board & Mr D created our fantastic website.
I have never looked back.
We hired our mums to work at Lavish. We knew we could trust them completely and that they would work just as passionately towards the same goals.
Fast forward to today. We have our unit, now sell wholesale to other locket businesses, debuted our brand in H Samuel, have two more staff, won 2 business awards and are about to launch our third business.
All of this was born from the desire to be able to do the school run. I had already missed important milestones and read about exciting developments with Niamh on a summary sheet from nursery and enough was enough. My efforts from now on were for me and building something that fit into my family not the opposite way round.
That’s why I urge anyone that is considering joining these god forsaken network marketing businesses. STOP. Whatever your drive is that is making you think of going in this direction, use this to start your own small business – yes it’s a lot of work to start, no it isn’t easy but you reap 100% of what you put in, not a measly 50p from a mascara sale. Don’t use your social media to build up a huge MLM company – there will only be one winner in that and it wont be you. Find a friend that can do the things you’re not great at. Use your strengths to support them and build them up. THAT will be what empowers you.
I am by no means a lady of natural business acumen but I have natural mummy acumen and that is the most powerful thing in the world.