For as long as I remember I have wanted to start an online shop; working in Consultancy always made me feel like a bit of a business cheat. I wanted a product, a brand, something that would enhance people’s lives, something I could build a mini-empire on.
I started my first online store back in 2012 and ingeniously titled it “Elfie and Hux”; a cute name, I thought, and one I didn’t have to think hard to come up with as the sleep-deprived mother of a newborn and toddler. I got as far as purchasing the domain and setting up the website before running out of steam, probably because of the aforementioned sleep deprivation.
Fast-forward six months and, as a newly single mum I needed to generate a level of income for the children and I to live off pretty sharpish, so all thought of an online store disappeared in favour of survival. I hustled, I single-mumpreneured (that word – cringe), I went back out to work, managing to re-build my pre-kids career in Marketing, first in-house and then freelance as a Consultant.
But I still wanted to follow my creative dreams a little bit more. I still hankered after that online shop but wasn’t sure what to stock in it, whether to follow my passion for skincare and try to build something related to that, or perhaps start a food-focussed site.
The idea to create feminist merchandise didn’t come to me until a little while after I’d had a couple of tshirts printed for myself. Discovering my own female strength and power in the world of single parenthood, I’d mocked up a couple of my favourite slogans on to tshirts for myself (‘We Should All Be Feminists‘ from the brilliant Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Ted X talk and book, and ‘Women Need More Sleep Than Men Because Fighting The Patriarchy Is Exhausting’ from an article by The Cut). I didn’t realise how wide their appeal would be until I started wearing them and getting feedback.
The dream was still there and I’d had a fair few enquiries into my tshirts, so mid-last year and in a fit of optimism, I gave up all my corporate work in favour of this blog and my ideas (including a shop). It was scary to forego a reliable monthly income but I’d reached a point where I couldn’t motivate myself to work for other people’s dreams any more: I wanted to chase my own. Make my kids proud. Create a product, a brand, that I would be happy slogging away at in pursuit of success.
And so I did!
That shop launched this week, a store stocked with products I designed myself and created in cahoots with people I really like. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to do this – working with other female-ran businesses is very important to me – and considered all the other priorities I had when creating and selling products that would enhance people’s lives. I wanted to make sure everything was as high-quality and ethically made as possible, while still retaining affordability.
In the creation of the business I’ve worked with brilliant Stephanie Orr, Lydia Berman and Lydia Berman, and have looked to my inspiring friend Hayley Southwood for cheerleading and inspiration. It’s been an incredible labour of love, one I’m so happy to have set out into the world.
In my store you’ll find a range of tshirts, tshirts and mugs, with tote bags to come shortly. Each and every product is tagged and wrapped by my fair hand, with thank you cards and little surprises in each package.
I really hope you love them all as much as I do!
I’m giving away a bundle of a ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ tshirt (in S, M or L) with a mug and postcard bundle (worth £40): all you have to do to enter is go here and subscribe to the mailing list.
A winner will be drawn at 12.01 on Thursday 24th May and the competition is open to UK residents only. Winners will be notified within 48 hours.