My mother, bless her, is Dean Ray obsessed. We all got his album for Christmas and again for our birthdays. She loved him so much that she wanted to show her strong support to his budding music career by purchasing every copy of his CD that she could get her hands on. She would also share every post on Facebook that featured him. From YouTube clips, to photos and songs. She was undeniably his number one fan (or his number two fan... but that's another story.) But why did this irk my goat so much? Not the fact that his music wasn't really my cup of tea but because she had never once shared a post from my business.
My Mum wasn't the only person that didn't understand what my business was all about. I would often catch up with friends and ask them how their work or job was going without ever receiving the same question back. Did they think I was just a stay at home mum... with a hobby? I would have loved to express the excitement and challenges that comes with owning your own small business but the subject never presented itself.
I started my business in 2013. Designing, creating patterns, sourcing fabric and sewing over months. In January the following year I launched my brand Scruff Candy. I was only making children's accessories but soon enough the demand was so overwhelming I needed to expand my range. I started hand painting and screen printing my designs onto t-shirts and jumpers. I had many sleepless nights. Months upon months where I wouldn't go to bed until 4am only to be woken at 7am with a baby. Sewing at all hours of the night, screen printing in nap time, labeling and tagging garments. Emailing stockists and customers. Dealing with trademarking, copy-writing and people stealing my designs. Doing my own social media, accounting, administration and every other title that comes with running a small business. I was a one woman show until 2015 my brand had grown to such a size that I was no longer able to keep up with the demand all by myself. I had outsourced 100% of my hand made sewing pieces to local ladies and was having hundreds of product professionally manufactured elsewhere. I was still busy packing orders, doing post office runs, and the other work that goes on behind the scenes. Then we had a baby and moved states. Which meant we have tapped the breaks slightly but the business still runs daily. This is certainly no hobby. It is my job. It is the career that I have chosen and will continue to do even when my children are in school.
My career path may not be traditional but it still brings money into the house. Over my 4 years in business it has allowed our family to go on holidays, buy our car, renovate our kitchen, dress our children in fabulous, alternative clothes and so much more. It actually provides an income for us. I pay my tax. I am a registered business. I have deadlines. What more do you need? I love my job but it is not done just for the fun of it.
If you know me personally, you know that I am all for the small. Supporting small business. Always at markets supporting local farmers. Buying quirky brands that no one has heard of before. If you are my friend and you, yourself have a business I can guarantee I have purchased from you at least once if not more. Because I believe in supporting each other. If you don't have a product based business I have offered support and guidance and believed and encouraged you to pursue your dream.
How often do you see Rebecca Judd or the Kardashians promoting a product and bam everyone has it. Yet when a friend starts their own business its not on your radar. Why is this? Trust me when I say your experience will be so much better. The customer service you will experience is so much more personalised from small business. Whether it be a personally wrapped parcel from the woman that actually hand made your purchase or a written note. Or the guys at the small coffee shop actually knowing your name and what your order is before you get to the counter. You don't get this from chain stores.
You may have heard the saying "when you purchase from a small business an actual person does a happy dance." This is true. We do! Because we so appreciate that you decided to spend your hard earned money with us and not the big guys.
So before you visit your chain store for your next purchase please consider you local small business options. You are helping an individual rather than a huge corporation live their dreams.
To those that have supported me from day one, that continue to support me and those that have just discovered us thank you from the bottom of my heart. To my friends and family that have "liked" my business page, engaged with it and shared my promotions you are seriously the best. What seems like just one click to you blows my mind and means the world to me.