Growing up I had no idea what I wanted to be. I was told over and over again how great I was with people, children especially. Never a huge fan of school I l only really enjoyed Art and English. I never really excelled at ANYTHING, always just middle of the row. I got bored easily & always felt desperate to know what my purpose was on this earth. I would often drive my mum crazy asking her what was the point of it all. (My poor Mum).
I had wanted to go to art college and study visual merchandising (window dressing) in my day but my mum had told me I needed a proper trade under my belt. My brothers are builders and my sister a hairdresser. I decided to go into childcare as everyone said I was good at that. I had always thought I would go onto midwifery or teaching but got married and had babies. Now I look back we were still kids ourselves, I had my first son at 21 and second at 23. My husband working full time and studying for a Master's degree I took charge of the babies.
It's funny really because now I look back I see obvious personality traits of an entrepreneur. The funniest thing is I hadn't even heard of that word until I was at l was in my 30's and pretty sure it didn't apply to me. I was a really young mum & I worked around my two boys to make some money.
I opened my first business at 25, a Nursery School with a best friend after we chatted about how disappointed we both were with child care on offer.
As my boys grew older I lost interest in childcare, it's a thankless job & I take my hat off to anyone in education but I felt it was time to move on.
Now in my early 30's I was racking my brains as to how I could reinvent myself, I contemplated going back to college to study Visual Merchandising, I dreamed of opening a shop too. It all felt so far fetched, like a childish whim.
My beautiful Mum sadly got diagnosed with lung cancer , she was told it was terminal with less than a year to live. She was 53 and I was 32. We chatted for hours about what I could do, she really wanted to help me find a passion. My Mum offered to help me financially so I could go back to college or open a shop. But in reality I just couldn't think about anything else apart from the prospect of losing my Mum.
After my Mum died I felt totally lost, the word sad doesn't even scratch the surface of how I felt at this time in my life.
One night Paul went to the pub and when he got home I announced I had bought a 1976 Bedford cf ice cream van off eBay. He thought I was having a break down. (maybe he was right). In search of happiness and finding myself I bought this old van and started working on it like a school project.
I had just discovered Twitter, I had no bloody idea what I was doing but I started telling my story. The ups & downs of life on the road with this old ice cream van. What a journey it turned out to be, the ride of my life (excuse all the ridiculous puns). We got featured in over 100 magazines, including YOU mag & we won Country Homes 'New Business of The Year' 2010.
From the day I bought that little old van my life completely changed direction, although at that point I had no idea where it was all going. But Twitter had become my new found love! I started networking hard, completely unintentional of course. I just wanted to get creative and have fun. I started working with amazing girls in the wedding industry, bloggers, make up artists, photographers etc etc....
We had the most fun helping each other to create beautiful images, pieces of moving art. I loved styling and used to source clothes, hair and make up artists & Shaneen the fabulous girl behind the camera would shoot away!
With no budget for marketing I learnt quickly how to market myself on Social Media & built up a good following on FB & Twitter. We had the best time with ice cream and I found happiness again, still not too sure what my future looked like after a couple of years with the van I knew it was time to move on again. I sold my ice cream business via Twitter. At the time I had so many couples bidding against each other to buy that business, I decided to offer at a fixed price to the couple I felt deserved it most. I know as you are reading this it all sounds mental, but I swear it is all true!
Along this crazy ice cream journey I had met the most amazing women, including wedding photographer Shaneen Rosewarne Cox. We shared exactly the same outlook on life after both losing our own Mother's way too young. Both with nothing to lose and no fear of future we launched a blog together called Breathe Happiness. It was an instant success! We worked really hard and blogged every single day for a few years until I launched my shop and Shaneen got so busy taking photos we decided to call it a day. Our blogging days helped us understand loads about PR and marketing!!
Still searching for that 'thing' that set my soul on fire, I decided to open an online store selling homeware and anything else that took my fancy. Social media had given me the confidence to try anything. I felt like the world was my oyster and there was no reason to not give it a go.
Four years on and the shop is doing really well, we have moved into our own premises. with a gorgeous showroom and office. The networking and love of people has grown too. My passion to help others has finally found it's place in my life with the HUB being at the heart of my business. Collaborating, networking and supporting other women sets my soul on fire! The day my Mum died I promised myself that I would not feel unhappy going to work ever again. So today I am typing this and I am 41 years old, feeling like I have finally found my 'thing'. I have totally and utterly created a work life I LOVE !!!
Social media has been instrumental to making this happen, it gave me a platform to learn and discover who I really was all along & I am really happy to be LIVING my life in honour of my Mum!