In my last blog I told the story of how our slogan clothing brand was established and a little background on myself and Nina. It’s always nice to get to know a brands story so you can feel part of their journey. Whenever I see a brand on social media I always click on their about bio as I like to read how they started, and you always get a feel for the type of person they are so you know who you are giving your hard earned cash too. A good about page is really important so your audience can get an insight into you, your passion and your purpose.
We have learnt so much in the small time we have been in business and I wanted to share some of our highs and lows. We like to be real at Nipa Threads. We like to be honest and its not all roses and unicorns out here in the big wide world of e commerce. It is fucking hard graft and I think I was probably a bit naive going in, especially about social media and the art of networking. It’s great to reflect on what we have done though. The good, the bad and the downright fugly!!
Going back to when we began our journey it makes me laugh to think of some of the things we did before we actually made our website live. One thing that sticks out, because it was such a fucking ball ache, was when we printed all the different ink colours on to all of our different coloured garments so we could show our audience what the colour combinations looked like.
Well fuck my actual life, it was a painful experience that I can laugh about now! It makes me want to give our past selves a big squeeze and be like you go on girls, look at you with all these grand ideas.
We didn’t really know what we were doing but we wanted to test out our printing skill’s and experiment with the inks we had chosen to use, so we set to work printing stars on to every fucking garment colour we were putting on the website. Not only did we print all these stars, we then photographed them to add to the slogan pages which took forever and a day only to take them off a year down the line! The idea was a great one, but it made the pages look messy and we just didn’t really like the look of it.
Then there was the time we spent fuck knows how long working out how many swipes of ink we needed to do in order for that ink to stand out on a particular garment colour!! When you screen print you use a squeegee to pass the ink through the design on your screen and that in turn prints that design onto the garment. We wanted to make sure all our prints were bold and bright so we drew ourselves up a chart and began counting swipes of the squeegee for the best results. WOW!!
Both things I have mentioned above were seriously time consuming and it would be easy to class them as a waste of precious time. I don’t believe anything is a waste of time when it comes to working out the best practices for your business. We didn’t end up using our findings as we changed a lot of the garments we were originally going to use so the experiment was redundant. However what it did show me was that we were passionate about what we wanted to do. We were passionate about producing quality printed garments that people would love to wear and that still makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I can chuckle at us now but that’s the thing when you first start your own business, you have trial and error. You have to just move forward with ideas you have because they could turn out to be fucking awesome or they could turn out to be a shower of shite but until you try you won’t know. It is about experimenting and not being afraid to fail. Not everything is going to work all of the time so just fucking go for it, if its wank just move on to the next idea and don’t be disheartened.
I have had to learn pretty quickly to get myself some thick skin now I’m in business. When things are going great and sales are rolling in its exhilarating. Hearing the kerching actually makes us do a little dance and that is not bullshit. It is the most amazing sound and my whole family get excited to hear it. When things are quiet though it can really affect you, well it affected me. The doubts start rolling in and the imposter syndrome creeps to the forefront of your mind. I started saying things like what’s the point? Which is some real feel sorry for yourself shite.
It is hard to stay motivated when you are putting work in and nothing is happening. Before I had a strong word with myself, when things were not going according to my plan, I would just go into despair mode. Do people not like our slogans? Do we not offer enough colours? Why aren’t people buying? These were all the nasty little voices echoing around in my brain. Now when we are having a quiet day we work on other stuff like filming content and trying to work out just how the fuck to work Tik Tok!! We tidy and organise the office, do another stock check or re do our printing screens. We have learnt that when things are quiet it can be a great opportunity to work on aspects that may otherwise get sidelined.
We had a decent start and our first year of business saw us grow steadily. Our socials were gaining momentum as was our confidence. I never in a million years thought I would go live on Facebook or do videos daily for our group. But here we are with me making a cunt out of myself on a daily basis for my tribe and you know what I actually love it now!
Then corona came knocking, what a bitch.
During the first lockdown I took a downward spiral into a huge bout of can’t be fuckedness! Our business had been doing well despite the state of the world, our spirits were high and the gratitude was flowing, but something in me just became very dark. I was comparing myself to strangers on the internet and it was not going well for me. Seeing all these well established business women absolutely smashing life made me feel really inadequate and intimidated. Not working with Nina was taking its toll and I felt so guilty that she was doing all the work, I was just the post biatch.
I am a cheerleader by nature. I love cheering people on and being positive but something inside me just went the other way. I was resentful and cunty and just not in a great place. We were only a year into our business and I did not want to be feeling this way. Obviously lockdown was a massive factor in the way I was feeling too but I didn’t want to use that as an excuse. Once restrictions were lifted I would turn up to work with Nina and I just wasn’t myself. I started to feel like I was dragging Nina down with me. When you are a partnership it is so important to be aware of how your feelings and moods can affect other people. I felt like I was casting a big grey cloud over us and I needed to sort my shit out. So I did! I became emotionally aware. Aware of my strong emotions and especially aware of how they could be making those around me feel. I can’t pin point what it was that I actually did but I think the awareness that I was a proper mardy bitch was enough to make me feel shit about my behaviour and sort it out. Thank fuck for that I hear Nina cry.
We are not even 2 years into our business journey and so we are still finding our feet. I feel so much more like an actual businesswoman now than I did last year and I hope that feeling continues to grow as we grow. I still have to pinch myself when I realise that I run my own slogan clothing and accessories brand with my badass partner. It still feels like we are in the early stages but I suppose we are. One piece of advice I would definitely like to share is that it’s not a sprint but a marathon. I am a naturally impatient person so I want everything to happen now now now. When things don’t work like that that’s when the negative Nancy rears her butt ugly face to torment me. Things take time. Building an audience takes time. People trusting you enough to buy your product or service takes time and that is ok. Realising that is not always easy but its imperative to keeping yourself away from that cunt Nancy.
Self doubt and self sabotage really really suck cock. If I didn’t have Nina I could have given up. We are lucky to have each other and we build each other up when we feel crappy.
Social media. Just fucking wow!! How many platforms?? Thank god Nina looks after Instagram and I look after Facebook because how you would have time to be putting different content out on both I have absolutely no clue. Then there is Tik Tok which we are just starting to get our heads round. And reels, and Pinterest and setting up and sending out emails. This shit is fucking relentless and that’s the understatement of the century!! That is on top of the physical part of our business, the printing of our slogan clothing. You’re knackered just reading that aren’t you? Oh and then we decided to set up a Facebook group because you know we didn’t already have enough to do for fuck sake.
It was very much a learning curve for us both. Suddenly we were using social media to help build our business rather than just being social butterflies, which I wasn’t particularly good at in the first place if I’m totally honest with you.
Then there is the networking which is a whole different kettle of fish I tell you. Theres me in the beginning a naive little bunny thinking if I put content out there people would flock to me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA what a load of bollocks that is. You have to go find you audience. You have to nail down that ideal client before you even think about being able to talk to them!
I won’t go into your ideal client shenanigans now as we will be here until tomorrow, I’ll cover that in the next blog. Know this though discovering exactly who you’re ideal client is and what audience you want to reach is probably one of the most important things you can do for your business.
If you are thinking of starting a business because you think it will be an easy way to make money and not be anyones bitch than that’s great, but let me truth bomb you, its bullshit. We work our arses off. Yes it is all for us and our families but it is damn hard work. Enjoyable yes, as long as you are passionate about it, but its no walk in the park so just be prepared to put the work in to go get your dream because anything is achievable with a fire in your belly and a drive to succeed.