30 August 2018
I had dinner with some of my neighbours tonight. I told them about the shop and the challenge of finding a name. One couple is heavily pregnant and just weeks away from welcoming their first child. Had to laugh when the mum-to-be exclaimed how important it was to get the name right. Uhm, yah. Kinda like naming a first child? At least I can't scar anyone for life with the name of my shop.
Needless to say, I appreciated their enthusiasm and words of encouragement. It was a stark reminder that, while moving back to Scotland is a big part of why I am doing this, it means leaving London and my friends.
29 August 2018
My 'day job' is communications. I've had more than my fair share of clients who skip over the substance of a project (including actually delivering anything) and go right to creating a name and a logo. Misguided as it is, I appreciate people see it as the fun bit.
As much as I have thought about having a shop over the years, I've never named it. Over the last couple of weeks, as the plan starts to become a reality, I have thought about the name more and more but I haven't settled on anything. It's hard. It feels very permanent so I want to get it right. I'm trying not to rush into it.
But I'm learning that so much of setting up a business in 2018 requires you to have a business name, whether that is registering the company or applying for a bank account. And, of course, you want to find a name that's not taken so you can secure easy-to-remember URLs and social media handles.
I'm not sure this is the fun bit.
28 August 2018
Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I must have been planning my shop for some time. As I start to write it down (well, maybe more thinking about writing it down), the plan has come together quite easily. I've got a good idea of what I want to sell and to whom I want to sell it and, because I'm not in a position to open a physical shop in Scotland just yet, that the first phase will be an online shop.
I know that I will need to continue to work — have a 'real' job — while I develop the shop. For that reason, it makes more sense for me to stay in London for a while. More importantly, I still have a lot to learn. I may think that I have it all sorted in my head, but the reality is I don't have a clue about running a retail business. I'm not even sure I can make a living from it.
I'll be honest: having an online shop doesn't get me as excited as having a physical shop. The physical space, meeting people and being part of the community is the pull, which an online shop won't deliver in the same way. However, what a great training programme! It's lower risk than a bricks-and-mortar shop; there are a number of web platforms on which I can create a shop without building my own e-commerce site from scratch. Don't get me wrong: there's still risk in buying and maintaining stock.
Risk is a constant in my thinking. I can — and will — invest my time, but my financial resources are limited. I suspect this is a stumbling block for many who want to run their own business. Part of my planning and research into running a business will be about the capital required to get started, whether I can afford that, and how I minimise the risk to my personal assets.
27 August 2018
Many, many moons ago, my Auntie Maureen and I were sitting at a train station. I can't remember if it was Perth or Edinburgh, or where we were going for that matter. We started talking about what she would do if she won the lottery. She told me what she would do for her sons. (Sorry, Gary and Colin. Just hypothetical at this stage.) Then she said she would buy me a shop.
I'd never thought about having a shop before. But I liked the idea. A lot. And not just because I could turn shopping into a job.
It stuck with me. I've thought about it many times over the years: sometimes a handbag shop, sometimes a post office/card shop combo, sometimes a gift shop. I liked the idea of curating my own shop, of deciding what to sell, of having something tangible to work with.
As I get older and more jaded about the corporate world (read: behaviours), I've started to think more and more about working for myself. And about moving back to Scotland.
At the same time, while exploring Scotland on holiday, I've been struck by the lack of contemporary Scottish gifts and souvenirs readily available for visitors. It's been nearly thirty years since I worked in the knitwear along Pitlochry's high street, but the same red tartan tat is being sold to tourists today.
And for all those reasons, I'm going to open a shop.
26 August 2018
I’ve started to say it out loud now. It's made it real. I guess I really need to do something about this now.
I’m going to open a shop.