Saturday, 14 June 2008

Where has the time gone and its our birthday!

Last week we celebrated the second birthday of our website...

I thought it would be quite nice to do a post about where my business came from and when it all began.

Where it started...

I always remember being fascinated by shops, interiors and shop displays when I was a little girl. I have fond memories of going to one of my mothers friends gift shops where she would let me re design the shelves and displays, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She used to say what a great eye I had for detail. It only dawned on me the other week that it runs in the blood too. My grandad came from a family of shop owners, mum still talks fondly about the shop they had when she was a little girl.
When it began...

I always wanted to own a bricks and mortar shop but didn't want to make the jump from my career (teaching assistant in a primary school) or life style. That all changed when I became pregnant with Ella and once she was born I started to crave that idyllic dream. I started to fall in love with floral fabric, painted furniture and vintage finds. Its not really a surprise, my love of period properties came from regular trips with my parents to stately homes and castle. So it was only a matter of time really. It did and still does at times feel strange how much my style and love of interiors has changed. I went from buying modern interior magazines to discovering The English Home magazine. Country Living magazine had always been present in my parents home, they still have many original magazines from the 80's. But it became a magazine that I started enjoying... I felt rather detached from some of my friends as they were all very ' Modern'. Another reason why I love blogging is finding so many people who love the same things as me :)

Once Ella was born we decided as a family to relocate to Kent. His mother had a couple of antique shop there and was very eager for Jeremy to join the family business... He had been brought up there, so the idea of moving to Kent really appealed to both of us. The stunning period houses and glorious countryside made it very appealing too. To cut a very long story short, Jeremy left his Job in computing to join the family business and work down in Kent. This was when the idea was born.

To complement the period furniture and vintage accessories in the shop it was decided that we would set up a business selling gift and homes accessories in the shop which Jeremy managed.

And so my dream was born...

The shop was in Rolvenden Kent and was in a lovely old barn! It was such fun buying stock and choosing lots of lovely things to complement the furniture and vintage accessories. Unfortunately our home was still in the Midlands and in need of decorating and updating before we could put it on the market to move to Kent. So I stayed at home with Ella while Jeremy worked in Kent for four days a week... so silly when I think about it now. I used to plan the displays of our stock and Jeremy would go back to Kent with a drawing pad and instructions on 'how to display the stock'. When we would stay with his mother I loved moving stock around and having a go at the practical side of the business.

Unfortunately it became very difficult living apart and we started to become rather phased by why we were doing this... Jeremy also missed his old job, he should of been born with a computer attached to him hehe! Well to cut another long story short I decided in 2005 to start planning a website. I wanted to be able to be actively involved with running the business and yearned to take it to another level.

After endless planning and designing the website was launched in 2006. When you run a business is is amazing how many skills you need to master. The first was designing the website and actually building it... I loved having the creative freedom and ability to do this, not to mention doing something with all the endless hours when Ella was asleep in bed and Jeremy was in Kent. Let me tell you that using Microsoft Front page is no easy task, but it did allow all my creative vision to become a reality. Every area of the website was down to me so I had to learn pretty fast. Lots of computer programming books were not my thing, I'm a visual learner, so everything was done by trial and error. Even our logo took over nine hours to do, I was using a professional editing programme and had no idea of how to do it. Lets just say that I giggle every time I look at the logo, to do the same thing now would only take a couple of hours.

I still have all of my original planning books and the website looks exactly how I had envisaged. I also discovered a love of photography and gain great enjoyment when photographing new stock.

So that brings me to the here and now. The website has grow and evolved tremendously and it is a real source of pleasure... pain some times though. It amazes me how much I have learnt and the drive that I have... I also discovered what a perfectionist I am but when running a business this can only be a good thing.

The best part of running the business is getting emails from customers saying how lovely it was to receive the parcel. Oh and all the shopping for new stock, this bit really is great fun!

I have so many plans for the business to grow and do plan to have my very own bricks and mortar shop in the future. But for now I am very happy doing what I do.

I hope I haven't bored you to death, and this was the seriously edited version. Following your dreams can be very daunting at times but also leads to immense pleasure.

Oh and before I forget, any order placed during the moth of June will receive FREE* delivery so if you do fancy having a look, now is the perfect time.

I will try to do more blogging but alas life is always getting in the way. It will be my first blogging anniversary next week so I better get on and plan what I am going to do for the give away.

Bye for now, I hope you are following your dreams too!



Claire said...

It wasn't boring at all Faye - you can see how hard you have worked on it all and your site is lovely. I am a few steps behind you on the business front and it's so nice to see yours as it shows me what it could be like. And that cake looks delicious!

Vanessa said...

Oh I loved founding how it all began!

Vanessa x

prettyshabby said...

Hi Faye,I think that you've made a lot of peoples dreams into a reality and that takes guts and determination..I found it really interesting to read how country chic began, you have a gorgeous website and I wish you all the best with the business in the sell so many lovely things that are on my wishlist and I would love to take advantage of your free postage..but I've just spent out at the Malvern show...buying chickens!! maybe next month then..

Pipany said...

Hello Faye. this is the first time I have found your blog (through Steph at Curlew Country) and I love it! Going to have a lovely read through now xx

Country Cottage Chic said...

Congratulations! That was lovely to read - it's always so nice to hear of someone following their dream.

The cake looks scrumptious too!!!


Curlew Country said...

Happy Birthday Faye, good luck for the future and lovely to learn how it all started.
Have a lovely weekend.

Miss sew n sew said...

I enjoyed reading about how it all began well done for following your dreams and congrats on your birthday your cake looks beautiful!

Pretty Practicals said...

Hi Faye, Happy 2nd Birthday!