This is me!

My story begins…

When I had my first son I knew I would never return to being an employee. I realised, for me, there was more to life than the 9to5 offered. I wanted the freedom to enjoy watching him grow, create memories and be my own boss. But I lacked support. My confidence was at an all time low. I’d left uni, as a primary school teacher, and believed that’s all I could ever do. I knew I was good at teaching, supporting and transforming others but I had no belief in doing these things for myself.

At the time I was trapped in an abusive marriage, to a man who belittled any ideas I had, shouted down my opinions and made me feel worthless. I knew I had to leave to have any chance of living the life I longed for.

Me & my boy!

Being a single mum, with a young son, struggling to put a roof over our heads meant holding fire a little longer to take the leap into the unknown and be my own boss, but that didn’t stop me planning my future, every night once my little one had gone to bed!

change was coming…

Fast forward a couple of years, I was in a new, way way more, loving and supportive relationship. Inevitably the stress of the previous decade caught up with me (uni, married, baby, divorced, lived in 6 different houses, redundancy…) and I was completely burnt out. My partner (now husband!) encouraged me to put my years of plans, hopes, dreams into action and encouraged me to turn my passion for vintage clothing into a business.

Opening day of my boutique

VJ Vintage was born! From my home, with just my phone & laptop I bought and sold vintage clothing. Soon I was travelling far and wide, often with kids in tow, always sleeping in my gazebo or car, attending festivals, markets and events. It was great fun! A real adventure. I met some amazing people who taught me so much about running a business, turning a passion into a profit! My business was super successful, something that was recognised by my local council, that was looking for a business to incubate as part of a retail project.

In 2016 I opened Vintage Treasures, my bricks and mortar women’s wear boutique! What a learning curve!! I knew loads about running a market stall, putting on big town centre wide events, hosting fashion shows, styling magazine shoots, but absolutely nothing about running a retail unit! I loved the challenge, it was so exciting, but also hard work!  

Speaking at Arise Summit
for Women 2018

One things that struck me, whilst meeting the many women coming into my shop, was that so many women had a side hustle- a creative outlet they longed to become their full time gig. I also met many women whose confidence, like mine had been, was rock bottom, they were settling for a life they no longer felt fulfilled by. Being a nurturer by nature, I sprung into action, using my shop premises as a safe space to nurture and support these women. We created shelf space for their creative projects to be sold, giving them the chance to bring their products to market. I ran training sessions on social media, pricing, marketing etc to build their business confidence. It was so much fun, a real community! I was honoured to be asked by my local JobCentrePlus and college to run a training course for vulnerable young women, giving them the confidence and skills to get them back into work.

a voice for women….

It was around this time I was asked to be on the board of directors for the Business Improvement District in my town. A BID exists to boost the local town centre and it’s businesses. They run training, networking, events and marketing campaigns. In the beginning I was one of two women on their board. It was tough getting my voice heard! Not just as a women but also because those men saw me as ‘inexperienced’ and ‘idealistic’, they couldn’t grasp how I ran a business fuelled by my passion, not my profits. But their closed-mined views didn’t stop me from speaking up, showing up and being a cheerleader for all my fellow women in business in the town!

Unfortunately the High St on which my boutique was based was, like most, struggling. The project in which I was involved lost valuable funding meaning it no longer became viable for me to have a high street premises. Initially I felt a devastating loss. The prospect of closing a business, that was built on your hopes, dreams and passions is TOUGH. I knew I’d worked to hard, made too many connections, built a fabulous community to just shut the shop doors and walk away. Someone once told me businesses are often built out of a time of ‘crisis or change’- a point when you realise you can’t carry on with what you’re doing- and then that business will be most successful when you realise its time to PIVOT!

So here I am pivoting! Culminating years of experiences, skills and expertise to continue with something I’m hugely passionate about- leading other women to success. If you’ve read this far, thank you! If you’re a mum running a creative business from home, wanting to understand how to figure out the priorities for your business, as well as feeling confident in your business knowledge, even though right now you’re feeling totally overwhelmed you are in the right place! I’ve got ya! I know exactly how to help you, and I want to see you succeed. By succeed I mean have a profitable business built on your passions.

Head over to my ‘work with me’ tab to find out your next step!

be bold, find balance, be more flamingo! v xxx

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