A New Dawn for Whitley Bay

Beads hit the Bay!

Last week I was standing outside the newly acquired shop in Whitley Bay watching the sign being installed and all I could think of was “What the dickens am I doing?”

Apparently this is what crosses everyone’s mind when they’ve finished battling with the estate agents, landlords, solicitors and the bank. It’s that time where you take stock of the fact you’ve reached the end of that tunnel to find another one running off to the right and the light at the end of it is just a faint glow.

I feel physically sick. Not only do I have my own financial future at its limits but I’ve convinced two lovely ladies to join the joyride with me. Their faith is in me and I don’t want to let them down.

With the UK in the grips of a possible double-dip recession many people may be wondering why I would take the plunge on this venture when I have a fantastic career in Public Relations, two children, a fledgling website to promote and plenty of jewellery to make and stock it with?

Back in February my head was in a totally different place. I was booked in for carpal tunnel syndrome release surgery on my right-hand. Whilst it has an excellent success rate, the fear that it would be just my luck to be one of the few who had a glitch in the surgery or recovery was daunting to say the least!

So my mind wondered to my childhood dream of owning a sweet shop in the country and I began to think I could maybe transfer this nostalgic pipe dream to my passion for making jewellery.
There was a chance, all be it slim, that I may not have been able to realise my dream, if the surgery wasn’t a success as I rely on my dexterity to make my jewellery and charms. So keen not to give up on my ambition I decided that I could sell products needed to create jewellery such as beads, findings and charms plus homemade goods from fellow like minded ‘Mumpreneurs.’ If I couldn’t carry on my passion I would happily sell what other people needed to make their own jewellery and live my dreams through them.

So I had the surgery and it was a fantastic success. I then hit the stumbling block of negotiating the lease for the shop with the estate agent. Being a new business and with no accounts or previous retail history it was proving a real struggle and if I am honest I was close to throwing the towel in.

It was then I got my wake up call. A close relative informed me that they were being tested for ulcerative colitis and wanted to know the history of my father’s bowel cancer as they feared they may have the same condition. The floor gave way from under my feet as I realised that no one is safe from the ‘Big C’ as my Nana used to call it. What on earth would I have to show for my life if I died at the same age as my Dad (47) – that’s only 15 years away, so I decided I had to do something for me.

This was shortly followed by the death of one of the most fantastic ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing; again the ‘Big C’ had struck and took her away at the tender age of 33. That was it. I wasn’t going to waste my life dithering about whether or not I should do something I dreamed about for so long, so I tackled the estate agent with new vigour. One day later I had received an email asking me to instruct a solicitor. 

Shop Front being replaced :'(
 Now it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I’ve had arguments with the council over planning permission and was asked to conduct a tree survey for trees that don’t even exist! I’ve had my lovely but unsafe shop front replaced, insisted on new flooring and sent my husband to decorate and do the shop fitting after he’d finished work.

Despite the ups and downs on the whole it has been a great experience. I have even sold something before opening, with a customer buying an item from the shop window I was dressing.

Myself with Shop Managers
Sarah-Jane and Katie
So now I stand in front of my shop which is now open, with a dressed window and shelves glistening with stock. I have the knowledge that every packet of beads, findings and charms have been counted out, packed and adorned with a hand written label by me.

I have a smile on my face, a glint in my eyes and the hope that I’ve managed to stack the deck in my favour, but only time will tell.

This blog featured on http://www.persuasionpr.com/ last week as a guest blog spot. I'd like to thank them all for their support, well wishes and purchases!

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