Monday, 21 August 2017

Hiatus and the Journey!

It's been a bit quiet here over at Lesley's Girls...yes we know over the years we have said that a few times...but never have we been this quiet.  The Vintage Vixen in charge, Janine, explains what has been happening and what may be in the pipeline next....

Having thought long and hard on and off over the last two years, over whether a personal blog post was the way to go explaining the change in my life and how it has inevitably impacted my business, I decided that its high time I did- and after a little chat with Hatty from Whats Your Tale Nightingale following a small (ish) quantity o her special home brew wine she advised me I should.  Aside from that over the years I have shared stories on my holidays, my reasons for starting Lesley's Girls, the loss of my mother as a child, stories about parties, the balance of being a mum and a business woman at the same time and more, so this blog was never purely business it was always a blog about the life of a vintage loving girl, her family, as well as vintage shopping (obviously!), and so it should be inevitable that I share this part of Lesley's Girls journey too.
Memories of Lesley's girls over the years...
So on with the news of two years and what the hell we have been up to!

Deep breath for the first bit of news- the big one and hard one, and as we are currently small business headed up by myself this was the initial catalyst to all that follows..... two years ago I split from my husband and partner of ten years.  It was entirely my choice and was in part due to how much I have personally changed in those years being so young when we first met.  Having children, getting older in general and inevitably changing career to running Lesley's Girls and building businesses was obviously a small part of that change. Starting a business is a huge thing to do and it changes you both emotionally and physically, you grow in confidence (you sometimes loose confidence and faith in your decisions), you question things, look at life differently, want to take risks and grow. It would be ridiculous to say that was the only reason for my decision, it was not at all, but it is neither appropriate to discuss other reasons on here so I won't.

I am still living in my rickety but gorgeous little Victorian house you may have seen before in many other blog posts about my party, the garden and our home bar blog posts, but now it is alone with my two gorgeous and ever growing and changing children. It is hard looking after them and the house on my own, and no one really managed to hit home to me how hard going it alone would actually be! But I know I am incredibly lucky that they still spend bags of time with their father, and I have work and a strong friendship group who support me. So I have also had some time growing into being Janine on my own again. As a 30 something year old woman in the world with a new desire to continue to grow, as opposed to the naive 20 something year old looking to create a life without knowing what she wanted or needed, or that new mum desperately trying to remember what she was supposed be when she wasn't being a mum, at the same wondering whether she had ever known that at all. And do you know what, these last two years although have been hard, have definitely given me that chance to do that.

That's the hard bit over.

Back to Business....but not as usual

Lesley's Girls has still been there in the background, ticking away with online sales but as I said it certainly wasn't the same as it was- especially as we officially moved out of our bricks and mortar base in GO4 Market cafe in December (which was a great place to be and helped me and the business in more ways than I can mention).  It was a tough decision, and a lot more emotional than I thought it would be.  I had been involved since the start with the market cafe, and more so in the last year of the 3 and a half years I spent there because I was on the board supporting the social enterprise which ran the market cafe.  It was one of the hardest decisions I made with regards to my business and luckily we had planned a break for a happy couple of weeks post Christmas in Costa Rica in the sun which successfully distracted me!
We got back in January and pretty much straight away I moved in to offices in the hub in the cultural quarter of Colchester to run my business...or should I say businesses! These past 18 months I have also been building up my second business- Dotted Fox.  Where I combined the work I had long been doing for other businesses tending their social media and websites, with my other work strand of work- events management (which includes Secret Vintage World) and then on top of that we set up a Wandering Cocktail Bar!  This business has taken up a huge amount of my time and allowed me to explore new ideas and ways of working, and I am loving every minute of it!  But every time I was helping other people grow their business, tending their websites I could feel a pang of guilt over Lesley's Girls and the sense that I have neglected it so sorely.  It was for that reason I finally decided it was time to write this post and return to breath love and life back into my first business.

Back to the hub where my office is....it is in the old police station, where a relative of mine once worked, it then became a bar- where I spent some of mis-spent youth drinking tequila and dancing until the small hours.  And now it is the office where I work- so I already felt I had connections with it.  And since moving in it really has become an inspiring building to be in, full of industrious and friendly people and businesses. I love it here.  I share my studio with Sim, a musician, an entrepreneur and marine biologist (yes apparently one person can in fact be all three of these things- who knew) with never ending ideas and enthusiasm. He is inspiring and full of energy which I will never know where it comes from, has a vivacious love for life and its incredibly supportive of everyone he meets....he also happens to now be a larger part of my life since his is now my boyfriend too!
Although there is a part of me wants to apologise for not being about on the blog or tending to the Lesley's Girls world which I have spent so many years lovingly caring for and building...in part to my customers but mainly to myself, and I yes I do want to apologise, but I'm not going to.  I'm not sorry. Not even in the slightest.  Oh I missed the shop, I miss blogging, I miss searching out little vintage bits and pieces, finding new lines from the repro designers, I missed my customers.  But really I needed a break, and as a small business where the buck stops with me and a somewhat tumultuous two years I decided to give myself a breather and then come back refreshed.

The Future

So I promised I would tell you what the future holds for Lesley's Girls- well we have a number of plans!  But to start with these plans we have decided to sweep the decks and so are having a huge clearance sale on current stock- the sale is to be launched this week and you can catch us popping up about the place in the next couple of months in person too with these clearance items.  Once the sale is in place, we will be beginning the next tranch of our mission....which involves a little trip (or two) to London.  All will be revealed soon!

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