22 January 2019
It's been an amazing couple of days so far. I've met some great people. Everyone has been lovely, as keen to hear my plans as they are to tell me about their beautiful products.
The fair is really big. The hall is filled to the brim with exhibitors. There are many from outside of Scotland, or who are selling products manufactured en mass outside of the UK, so I've learned quickly to ask about the provenance of products.
Planning my afternoon at the fair
Over lunch, I'm reviewing who I've met so far and identify any gaps in my product categories. It's easy to get carried away! I'm worried that I could end up with commitments to too many in one category and none in others. It's tough because there are so many lovely things to choose from.
This morning, met with a tax accountant to chat through options for how the company is managed. Definitely not my strength! And while there are many things that aren't my strength in this whole adventure, this one could send me to jail so happy to pay for someone else's expertise.
21 January 2019
I've come to the Scottish Trade Fair in Glasgow: my first trade fair as a 'buyer'. I'm a bit overwhelmed. And nervous. I don't really know what I'm supposed to do or what is expected of me. Will the sellers expect me to buy thousands of pounds worth of stock? What questions should I ask? Will I be pressured into buying stock on the day?
First-time 'buyer' takes on a new meaning
20 January 2019
The bank has approved my application for a business account. Phew!
18 January 2019
My original plan was to find a storage unit to store my stock. While not extortionate, it would be an additional cost that chips away from my profit. It would also mean late-night visits to the unit to package up and dispatch orders (should I be so fortunate to get any!). After a long day in the office, that doesn't sound too appealing.
I've decided to clear out my spare room and turn that into Peg & Patch HQ for six months or so. That will give me time to figure out what kind of space I need and, more importantly, whether the business is successful enough to warrant the expense. I'll get rid of the bed and have a clear out to make room.
Apologies in advance to friends and family who were planning to visit.
17 January 2019
There are many steps to setting up your own business. I think the biggest one for me mentally has been setting up the business bank account. It formalises things (and not just because you need to transfer some of your personal money into the account). It's the first time I have asked someone else if they accept that its a legitimate business. I'm waiting for their approval.
I wonder what I do if they decline my application?!
15 January 2019
I've registered the limited company, Peg and Patch Limited. I could have done it before now but, even when you aren't trading, you still need to complete returns, etc. It's easy to do online. Now that's sorted, I can set up the bank account, get a tax accountant, pay corporation tax ... perhaps not the most exciting part of the new venture, huh?
14 January 2019
Good morning! Today is the first time that I'm going to try and 'write' my blog via Siri. One of the challenges of starting a new business while also working full-time is trying to find time for the business. I'm currently driving to work, a rare form of commute if you live in London! I don't miss the full-to-bursting trains, but I do miss having the commute time to catch up on emails, pay bills, connect with friends and family, etc. By enlisting Siri's dictation skills, I can use the time in my car to do a bit of work.
(Post script: Must find new dictation app. Turns out Siri only records for a minute or so. Shame. The second half of today's blog was really good.)
6 January 2019
I've started the new year with determination and focus: I'm opening a shop in a couple of months. There's lots to do. (I think I've said that before.) But I'm taking action!
First, I'm not going to turn on my sewing machine until the shop is launched. That's a big step. I enjoy making things. I've also got a wardrobe full of lovely materials that are crying out to be made into cushions and the like. However, the shop needs to be the priority.
Second, I'm changing my work schedule. In recent years, I've had the good fortune to work flexible hours. Specifically, I do compressed hours, working 10 days in nine. That means I do my contractual hours over a fortnight in nine working days, rather than 10. I've never had the luxury of a nine-to-five schedule — communications isn't like that and the nature of the projects I've picked up has meant that steady, predictable hours aren't possible. Moreover, I have difficulty walking away when there is still work to do. Late nights and occasional weekend working is the norm. Flexible working helps balance things out, giving me a day to put some sort of normalcy and order into my life, as well as spend time with friends or on non-work interests.
I've agreed with my boss that I'm going to try a five-in-four compressed work week. The aim is to give me one day each week that I can focus on getting the shop up-and-running. I'll be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it. Don't get me wrong — I will appreciate having a day to commit to the shop. But, as someone who hasn't kept to a 40-hour work week in her entire working life, this will take a lot of discipline on my part. And there's no shortage of things needing done at work, so it will feel odd to walk away from them, which will be essential if I am going to protect the day for the shop.