Hello! It feels quite strange that my first proper blog for a while is about closing my shop. I felt like I wanted to write something about the reasons behind closing, with a bit more space and freedom than an Instagram caption.
So, on 22nd April, I announced that I’m changing the way I run Girl and Bird, and have closed my shops. *Closing* does sound very dramatic, and it’s not entirely accurate I will no longer run Girl and Bird as my full time business, but open for a week at a time three times a year. I’ve got a job lined up for my return from honeymoon at the end of March, and I’m actually super excited to be returning to employment! I’ve added the provisional dates for opening here.
You’re probably wondering WHY? Why would I give up the ‘dream’ of running my own business, that I’ve worked blooming hard on for nearly seven years, to work for someone else? Isn’t it everyone’s dream to run their own business, be their own boss? Won’t I miss the freedom of ‘just taking time off whenever I want to’?
The short answer is, because it’s creating more negative feelings in me than positive.
What I’ve realised over the last few months is that I no longer want to be self employed. Looking back, it’s been building for a few years, but it took some careers counselling to figure that out, and actually accept that it’s okay to make a change.
The main motivation for this change is that I’m really exhausted by self employment: the cycle of unpredictability, ups and downs of sales, constant worry about whether to grow and take on staff, or stay as just me, whether I’m doing the right thing with my products, navigating tax and VAT - and doing it all solo. I know that this really fires some people up - and it definitely has for me in the past. But, for a variety of complex reasons, I just don’t have that passion and desire to do it for myself anymore.
Over a long period of time, I’ve found these negative feelings constricting my creativity, and making it feel more and more like a job that I resent rather than something I love. I never want to resent the thing I spent so long building.
I still love small businesses, I love the community of makers that I’ve found. That’s part of the reason why I want to open for short periods, and probably one or two markets: I want to stay part of this community. I’m not going to be jumping over to work in a faceless corporation, far from it! I’m sure I’ll share where my job move is too soon, when the time is right.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the response on social media: I’ve had so many comments, direct messages and emails wishing me well, and thanking me for my honesty. I know that I struggled to find people who had gone the ‘other’ way to most people - namely, returning to work rather than leaving it! So, I hope that if you’re struggling and feel the pressure to stay self-employed, this might help you know that it’s your life, and if it’s not serving you, then you are 100% allowed and able to make a change.
I’m not 100% what I will do with my social media, but I’m going to go with what feels right. This may be adding more personal updates, or just resharing old favourite images. I’ll definitely be sharing a few snaps from our honeymoon to Cuba!
Anyway. Thank you if you’ve made it to the end of this. I’d love it if you’ve got any questions, just pop them in the comments below. And for now, goodbye!