My business is turning 4!
Can't believe the business I started after I finished university is turning 4! I'm going to reflect over the past four years and talk about some of the things I've learnt along the way.
Four years when did that happen!?
When I was younger my parents owned their own shop and I saw how much work it was and how tied down to it they were to the point the first ever holiday I went on was when I was 14, I always thought this isn't for me, my parents worked hard to give me and my sister a good life, but the older I got and with the help of the modern world I realised it was all possible to own my own business without being tied into a shop!
With no idea what I actually wanted to do, all I wanted to do was make, making is what drives me and honestly I can't imagine not creating even at low points in my business when I thought 'I can't carry on like this anymore' the idea of stopping making never felt like an option, it keeps me sane.
For someone who is typically quite shy I found it difficult to put myself out there, my business has helped me gain confidence in who I am, I'm more determined than ever to not settle for less than what I want, a few months ago I was giving a friend some advice and she pointed out that the confidence I had in myself and my products has grown and that I'm no longer willing to get walked over, it helped me realise how far I've come. When I first started I didn't have much confidence or the knowledge it took in running a business like mine, just the lust to make money from making.
I am someone who learns from doing, I've made many mistakes and there have been so many times where I have said to myself "why didn't you do this sooner" "you would be so much further along if you'd have done that or done it that way" but I think mistakes are an important part of learning and those mistakes have helped me get where I am. If you see those mistakes as a learning opportunity it helps to not be so hard on yourself.
A lot can happen in four years, when I first started Rhian Kate I was working part time and a goal of mine was to work for myself full time which at the time I couldn't even imagine but I've done it! I've been working for myself full time for just over 2 years now, I still have a lot of learning and growing to do within the business but I'm so proud of the business I've created. Since becoming full time my mental health has been so much better, I'm able to take time off when I want, I am in charge of my life and my business. For me running my business helps me create the life I want, I don't believe in a competition of who's worked the hardest or who's worked the most, does doing what you do make you happy? That's what I believe in. Running a business doesn't always make you happy don't get me wrong but for me it out ways working for someone else.
Some days you just need to take it slow or just need a time out so having the freedom to work as much or as little as I want is a definite positive, like any job though you have to put the hours in if you want to get paid. My goal isn't to build and empire it's to build a life that suits me, a life I choose and that's what's important to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have regular customers who love my work, I love making and creating something that people are willing to spend their hard earned money with.
Four years ago my products weren't up to the standard I needed them to be so I worked hard on making them better and every year since they have just gotten better and better, the jewellery has changed a bit since then I used a lot of acrylic and aluminium, I refined the pewter to what it is today, I said goodbye to the aluminium pieces and still make acrylic pieces but said hello to silver, brass and copper and for a while tassels (I hand made each one to the point I couldn't stand the sight of them anymore). For a while I found it hard to let go of the idea that all my products had to have my signature material being pewter, since I let go of that I idea my business and my products have thanked me for that, as I have been able to learn more skills and be able to produce products that aren't limited to one style but you can still see a clear style through out my products.
Within the last year I've really started standing my ground for what I want for example many stockists will want to have stock on a sale or return basis, so they take no risk, if it sells they take a cut if it doesn't you get it back, sounds simple right? It's NEVER that simple it's so much work and all the risk is on you if it doesn't sell you have stock just sitting there. It's so hard to keep track of what they've sold, what you've been payed, what haven't you been payed for basically it's a massive headache, so I made the decision no more, when anyone has asked for stock on a SOR basis I've said no I only do wholesale (in a more polite way obviously) because SOR does nothing for my sanity and it's so much more work than just selling it wholesale. I used to just say yes to SOR because that's what I thought I had to do just to make money or get anywhere with my business but now I know better I can just say no and that's perfectly okay. This was a massive learning curve and one that's helped me because I do have lovely wholesale stockists and my sanity is still in check.
When I first started so many people were concerned I wouldn't make it because I earn't very little and they all had their two pence of how I should be running and what I should do instead, one person told me I should go get a job that earn't me more money and work on that full time, save up loads of money and then do my jewellery business, which in theory makes sense yes but that would mean that growing time, that learning time that I needed wasn't there, this wasn't a hobby for me, it was me putting the ground work in to make Rhian Kate to what you see it as today, no way was I giving up on that to go work in a job I probably wouldn't enjoy (I hate being bossed around). It hasn't been an easy journey getting here but I'm here and I LOVE my job.
Cheers to 4 years of business and many more coming my way!