It seems a while since I last updated my blog and I felt like it was time to do a review of the last 6 month journey for Simply Style. To reflect on where I have been, where I am now and where I am headed moving forward.
To think about the highs and lows of my business journey and what to expect next.
I guess it is fair to say that time goes by faster now that I have officially hit the big 4-0!!!!!! - they really don't lie about that. Days seem to blend from one to the next but although this is partly due to time flying by thanks to my ripe old age, it is also due to time flying by when I'm having fun! And there has been lots of fun over the last 6 months.
September was filled with hazy days and the last of the summer shows. Happy customers browsing products, perusing colours, chatting about life and generally enjoying the shopping experience.
October and November (from my perspective) were about lugging stock, battling the wind with craft tables and pop up banners and trying to keep warm in windy marquees. It is amazing how the colder months can make life harder for setting up shows! But the customers still came and still loved our products - and we loved the customers for still showing up to see us - often in their wellies! When all was said and done, the hot cups of tea and general traders banter coupled with our amazing customers made everything ok!!!
December was filled with excitement for Christmas and excitement that our website was picking up thanks to all the hard work from team members to promote it. Listening to a selection of classic Christmas carols and Michael Buble on repeat at pretty much every Christmas Fair may have left us feeling slightly jaded at times - but the added bonus of mulled wine and mince pies more than made up for it. As always, the customers were lovely and the atmosphere at shows was electric. Everyone was out to find their Christmas gifts for loved ones and the #billybelts were a firm favourite as a gift box set.
The lull of Christmas allowed for a much needed break. Time spent with family, exchanging gifts, eating way too much and just generally relaxing. I was still following up on orders and popping into the office from time to time, but I really enjoyed time with the kids and the husband....and the cat!
I wasn't sure what to expect as January arrived. My first proper January as an established business. I had been warned about the post Christmas slump and people not wanting to spend. I was warned to expect a slowing of sales. But our SImply Style customers are loyal. And the trickle of orders continued right through January. I was so pleased...even perhaps relieved after having been warned about "Slow January". Rather than doing the shows, I got to attend trade shows and look for new products and new brands. Having established my tag line as "New Names - New Brands", I wanted to use the early months of 2020 to do just that: find new brands to add to the #simplystyle collection. January provided the perfect opportunity to do this and I was excited for the new ranges I had chosen to taken on and impatient for stock to arrive so that I could start sharing the beautiful new products with Simply Style customers.
So, a year (and a bit) on from starting the business, what are my thoughts as we approach the mid way point of February? Have I had any doubts? Where do I see the business going?
I suppose my first thoughts as the New Year arrived regarding the business were "it is really working!" There is something incredibly reassuring about testing a concept (a little kernel of an idea that came from my brain!) and finding that it just might actually work!!! Starting from my kitchen table at home, the business was growing and reflecting on where I was at the start of 2019, I still can't quite believe how far I have come as 2020 has arrived. To be able to say that I now stock a range of products from 6 different suppliers with more in the pipeline in the coming month or so is just amazing. I still take my time to make sure I am stocking ranges and brands that I love - that is really important to me. I feel I haven't lost a sense of what is important in the business.
Any doubts? Occasionally I suppose: "Am I doing the right thing?" "Am I investing in the right products?" are regular questions going round in my head. But I think it is good to keep evaluating what you are doing - it helps to keep things fresh and challenges you to be a better version of your business self. Above all, the doubts are quickly quashed from the support of #friends and #family who continue to validate what I am doing and genuinely seem to love the products I am choosing. Their support is invaluable to me.
And finally - where do I see the business going? Forwards. Always forwards. I hope to continue doing what I love - searching out amazing products to share with our customers and getting to meet customers at our shows throughout the year. Oh - and maybe taking
on a little help this year - especially for those blustery winter months so that my tables don't fly away - or me!!!!!!!!