One positive thing to come out of the shit show that is 2020 is that lots of people have decided to open their own businesses. It could be running along side their jobs or because of redundancy, the world is fast becoming the entrepreneurs oyster. It is fantastic to see so many people giving the big 2 fingered salute to their day jobs and seeing them seize the moment and take charge of their lives. No longer do we want to make the fat cats rich. We want a slice of the pie and you know what we fucking deserve it, so go us.
Running your own business is not as easy as it sounds and takes some serious serious graft. I have followed lots of different Facebook and Instagram accounts whilst building our business. Some I have loved, others haven't really been my jam but a common theme with the big accounts is that people just believe they have popped out of the woodwork and become an overnight success. The truth is that's bullshit. These women - I mainly follow women just because I prefer their delivery, Gary Vee being the exception - have worked their tooshes off to get here. They have put the hard work in and it has paid off. It might have been years before their break came but 9 times out of 10 it is a journey not an overnight success story.
It is a tough journey and at times I have wanted to just fuck it off like what's the point! It is a rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis. Some days great other days proper shit.
When Nina and I finally decided to go for it it was so exciting. We decided to put money into an account every month so we could start building our business. We ordered samples form different wholesalers, researched our inks, looked into the equipment we were going to need. It was daunting but it got us buzzing. I remember designing our logo and coming up with our name. Originally we were going to concentrate more on the kids side hence going for Nipa threads, however as we got going the adults just seemed to take over. Luckily Nipa still worked well for us as it is Ni from Nina and pa from Paula.
When I look back now to some of the things we did back in the beginning it makes me chuckle in a real wholesome way. For example we spent ages testing our inks and practising screen printing and how many swipes we needed to do for each colour ink and for each different colour garment so the ink really stood out. We had tables and charts and notes galore. I feel really proud of how seriously we took everything because we wanted everything to be perfect. Bless us!
I think it is so important to keep that excitement at the forefront of your business because that is what spurs you on and keeps your vibrations high and makes you want to put in the time and effort. It is however, incredibly difficult to keep that positive and exciting momentum, especially when things are not necessarily going your way.
We have worked our arses off to get Nipa Threads off the ground but there have definitely been times when I have wanted to just go fuck this shit. When the orders are coming in it is fantastic. We felt proud that people liked our slogans and felt connected to us as a brand. We loved our products and we made sure all our garments were a beautiful quality and made ethically. We wanted to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible so we researched researched and researched some more to find vegan non toxic inks and to make sure all our packaging was recyclable. We put a lot of time into sourcing the right products.
Unfortunately what goes up must come down and we have learned that business as well as life, works in a circular motion.
When sales are slow and engagement on social media might not be where you want it to be, it is so easy to get into the funk. Getting into the funk is a piece of piss but getting out of it, well fuck that's another story all together. We are lucky to have each other as we spur each other on. Our funks seem to happen at different stages meaning when one feels like shit the other is the cheerleader and vice versa. In all honestly I might have just given up if I wasn't in a partnership.
There are many different elements to running a business but I hadn't really thought about the social media element and just how much fucking time you spend looking at your wanky phone!!! It is exhausting and it is the one part of the business that I fucking hate if I am truly honest. I'm referring to networking rather than posting on our page and group. It can feel rather arse licky sometimes. I am definitely someone who would rather network face to face. Make connections the old fashioned way. I hate being friend requested by some random that I haven't even engaged with and then you accept and they don't even talk to you! What is that all about.
Then there are the like for likes. Oh that winds me the fuck up. I know we need to network and all that jazz but I want to connect with like minded people who I resonate with, have the same sense of humour as, not just because they have liked my page. "New like from me, like back" no Janice I'm not going to like you back for the sake of it because I am not your ideal client and will probably never buy from you or interact with your page so what the fucks the point!!
We are too focused on the likes rather than the engagement. Nina and I are building our following slowly but surely. Each new like is someone who loves our brand and engages with our posts. More to the point they are our ideal client and therefore I know I don't have to worry about offending anyone with my language because they love the word cunt too!!!
We are a sweary, no bullshit, authentic brand and I know that is not going to be suited to everyone and that is A OK. I know exactly who I am and what I am about and I think that shines through in our social media, in our lives and in our blogs. There are plenty of women out there like me and they are our beautiful bitches, our ideal clients and our mates. They join our tribe for the bants, the chance to be authentic themselves and to know that's it is alright to say cunt. No fairies are going to die!!
Our slogans are a reflection of Nina and myself, sarcastic and cheeky with a side of sass. We are truly authentic and when you run a business that authenticity is so important. Don't strive to suit everyone, strive to suit you and your ideal client.
I would rather be someone's cup of tea than everyone's pint of piss.
Having your own business is rewarding but time consuming, all encompassing, stressful and sometimes just a pain in the fucking arse. But if you are willing to put the work in then go get your dream. Just be prepared to work for it because it doesn't just come go you you have to go get it.
One thing that I have learnt so far on our 16 month journey is that you do you, no-one else, just you. Work at your own pace and don't let social media get you down. If you need a day off then bloody take it. If you are feeling the overwhelm turn your phone off and go do something you love. This is YOUR journey and you need to enjoy it.
I can get serious overwhelm when I see all these amazing peeps smashing it. I am so happy for them and cheering from my keyboard but it can make me doubt my own ability and our business. Should we be there yet? Why are we not making as much money as them? God they have such a large following? Oh my god she made how much in one launch? Then I have a nice long word with myself and remind myself that we are doing a fucking fantastic job and we really need to pat ourselves on the back rather than feeling blue because we are comparing ourselves to others.
I love what we do. It is hard work, yes, but I enjoy it. I love going to NT HQ having a boogie, working, laughing, maybe crying sometimes. Swearing a lot being able to cunt off our kids with no judgement. The good comes with the bad, that is life but it is how you deal with and overcome the shitty parts that stand you out from the crowd.
If we can do it then so can you.
Follow your dreams. Mwah.