Once upon a time there were 2 knackered mums who bonded at a local children's centre. They bonded over their dry sarcastic sense of humour and their need to talk about anything that didn't involve nappies, night feeds, weaning or being pissed and shat on by a small human. These mums wanted to sit on their bums whilst their little ones explored and gained some independence, as they had no energy to follow them around the place!!
These mums, you guessed it, are Nina and I. Thanks to that children's centre we struck up a firm friendship which later blossomed into a beautiful business partnership.
I have always wanted to do more than just work for someone else but have never really known what. I have been working for the same company for 15 years and even though I love my job I want to be more than just a payroll number and more than just someone who is lining the pockets of an already wealthy board of people. Once upon a time I started a blog just before I had my second baby but that didn't really amount to much. Looking back now that was definitely down to confidence! I enjoyed the actual writing part but put too much pressure on myself and suffered from terrible imposter syndrome! I was comparing myself to well established bloggers which was bloody ridiculous! Then I was all, why would anyone care about what I'm saying? Is my writhing good enough? This topic has been covered 3973 times what is different about the way I am writhing about it! I also wanted to do video skits but never had the guts! Now I make a cunt of myself on a daily basis on videos and don't give a single shit about it and that's what I call progress!
The whole debacle was exhausting so I quit. It's a real shame actually because if I had just kept on going I could be one of those well established bloggers that I was comparing myself to in the early days, but then there would be no Nipa Threads and I know where I would rather be.
Nina has a degree in fashion and I love fashion so what better direction to go in than, you guessed it, fashion! We toyed with a few ideas but what we found we were really good at was coming up with slogans that we thought were hilarious. We just hoped other people shared our sense of humour! We were both in agreement that we wanted something for ourselves. Something we could focus our attention on rather than just being in mum mode 24/7. Once all our boys were in full time school what would we be doing with our time? Well I personally would probably have put on a decent amount of timber thanks to my love of a chocolate hob knob and my dislike of the gym! Nina felt the same so it was a no brainer that we spread our wings and ventured out into the big wide world of business.
Originally we were focusing on kids clothes especially as we weren't particularly enthralled by the kids clothing we were seeing in the shops. Like seriously what is it with all the vomit inducing, over sexualised clothing out there. The boys stuff is blah with a side of bore off whilst the girls stuff looks like they are getting them ready for a performance on Tik Tok! There is a whole wall of pink and sparkly numbers than a dark corner where you can find some shite about loving diggers.
We started ordering in samples of t-shirts and sweatshirts and were brainstorming the slogans we wanted to print onto them. Then there was the actual printing. Like I said before Nina has a degree in fashion so she was the knowledgeable one and knew all about screen printing, inks, squeegees and emulsion and it was fantastic to learn so much from her, I hope I was a good student ha! To be fair she is still teaching me as Nina is incredibly creative and picks things up really easily whilst I'm a bit more, well not!
The next step was to look into inks and screen printing equipment. The researching stage was fun but the thought of spending all this money was scary and you have to spend money to make money right? We didn't want to get out any loans so we started putting money away each month to go towards our start up costs. Ordering samples was getting expensive and it was a real ball ache when you didn't like the samples so didn't then want to go with that supplier. It is a freeking minefield out there and it was rather overwhelming. One day whilst perusing the internet and with my guardian angel nested firmly on my shoulder, we came cross an advert for Printwear and Promotion Live up in Birmingham. It was a convention for people in the exact industries we wanted to get involved with. So we booked our tickets and got exited for our road trip.
Off we trotted up the bastard of a motorway which is the M1and headed to the NEC. It was one of the best days ever. Daunting and slightly intimidating at first as we had not a single fucking clue what we were doing, but by the end of the day we had found our favourite suppliers and had a good idea of exactly what direction we wanted to go in. We were actually on our way towards being a slogan clothing and accessories brand - how fucking cool!!!!!
It's funny how things change form how you envisioned them. We still wanted to do a kids range but a lot of the slogans we were coming up with were more adult orientated. We were flexible with our visions and decided to be a kids and adults unisex brand. We give you the slogans baby and you choose your favourites. Having the option of choosing your own colour combinations meant that our customers also had control over their finished item and we thought that was a fabulous unique selling point.
Building our business has given me confidence I never knew I had in me and I love this person I am blossoming into. Just because I stopped giving a shite what people thought of me or what I was doing, I now have a freedom that is taking me to new heights and it is fucking AWESOME. For the first time in along time I believe in something. O believe in myself, Nina and our business. I believe that if we work hard enough and have the passion we really can take ourselves to wherever we want to get too.
It is imperative that you put the work in though, this shit doesn't just materialise out of thin air, YOU have to make it happen. This was the mentality I had when we first launched. Post a few things on facey and insta and people will come flocking surely?!?!? Nah mate not on your Nelly! You have to make people want to shop with you, want to buy from you. You have to build and network and get the fuck out there to find the thing they call your ideal client!! When you start you own business working out who it is you want to serve is one of the most basic yet important aspects. Don't be afraid to not be everyone's cup of tea, being niche is awesome and you know exactly who you are talking too.
It is things like ideal clients and your who your audience are that we had nooooooo fucking clue about! We were fumbling around in the dark trying to appeal to everyone and we are certainly not for everyone!! We had a lot of work to do and we needed a plan of action and goals and objectives and all these wonderful words that I have heard banded around the place but never really taken any notice of. It was time to stop winging it and start behaving like actual business women, and badass ones at that.
In my next blog I will talk about how we got our shit together and found our feet and our way in the crazy CRAZY world of the online business world.
For now, see you beauties later x