After 8 years and 10 months, I have decided to say goodbye to dots and spots. It has reached a natural conclusion and I long to do something different, be around people again, be part of a busy work environment.
What started out as a little creative ‘playing’ in my studio whilst still teaching back in 2008, became a business bigger than I ever intended.
(How young do they look here!)
Something to ‘fit in around the kids’, soon became something ‘the kids had to fit around’.
I gave up teaching and after a truly successful five years of designing and trading at the big London shows, we stocked just over 400 Independent retailers in the UK, including large orders to Dobbies Garden Centre’s and Harrods to name a few. However, we started the business just as the recession began and with increasingly difficult trading times, coupled with Jeff's unexpected redundancy in 2013 and subsequent ‘full on’ new job, we made the decision to scale the business back, rather than take the risky decision to employ staff and move into bigger premises etc.
So, for the past 3/4 years the business has taken on a steady platform, selling through our own website, NotontheHighStreet.com and selling wholesale to some loyal independent retailers. Over this time we have not been designing new products, as we didn’t want to take any financial risks on big print runs and Jeff doesn’t have the time or enthusiasm to add new things to the website etc. The orders are easily picked and packed with plenty of spare time on my hands.
I’ve dabbled helping out in my friends shop, which I loved but sadly it closed. It did make me realise though how much I enjoyed other people’s company, I miss being part of a ‘place’, a busy working environment.
Since moving house last year, I have used the extra time to manage the extension build and decorate our new home but with my dots and spots unit still over in Shepton, where we used to live, 25 minutes away and with the desire not to fill this house with dots and spots ‘stuff’ and move it all over here, the time has come to say goodbye.
We have given notice on the unit for the end of April. We will be holding a *CLOSING DOWN SALE* over on our website throughout the month of March, with 75% off everything starting on Tuesday the 7th March and in April, will possibly sell off other bits, cello’s, packaging, postal tubes etc before we ‘give up’ the unit at the end of the month.
(Poor Jeff - one of the many Ikea flat packs he's put together over the years!)
Want a bargain, want good quality items for fund raising projects or to sell on yourself, then ask?
( firstname.lastname@example.org ) We do still have larger quantities on some items (notebooks in particular) a few 'full' boxes of tape and are more than happy to discuss a sensible price/offer. Live locally or have a van and want IKEA Billy bookcases or the old IKEA 5x5 Expedit, now called Kallax shelving units, then ask.
New job – who knows!?! I need to do something to bring some money in and still fit in around the children but with Sophie learning to drive and hopefully soon passing her test, I won’t be restricted by the school run for a year or so. I have no idea what I want to do, I’ve done a little supply teaching recently but I’m not sure I want to go back to it. I would be frustrated as a classroom assistant but I don’t want the responsibility/workload of a full on teacher and I hate the short notice of supply. I just know that I want set hours, a regular income and to be around other people.
It won’t be long before Sophie will be off to university and I guess Sam will soon follow. Jeff’s job in term time is all so consuming, so ‘now’ is a time to find a ‘little’ something for me. I like to be busy, I like to feel I am contributing to the family pot, I like to know what I’m doing and although dots and spots gave me reasonable flexibility, it was also so very in-flexible and unpredictable, as you never knew how busy or quiet you would be.
Family time during the Summer holidays and Christmas were often our busiest times, so I am actually looking forward to the 9-5 routine, set hours and holiday time, weekends on/off, a payslip at the end of each month, no surprises.
No customer enquiries late on a Sunday evening, no ‘just popping to the post office’ en-route to somewhere else to drop off mail sacks, no worries about money coming in or going out, no chasing late payers or saying goodbye to £1000's because someone goes under. No dealing with customer enquiries whilst on holiday, no more waiting around for couriers, deliveries, lost parcels and hassle!
So it is with a little sadness that I say goodbye but also with a big smile on my face, for what I have achieved and for what is ahead. I’ve just got to find the right thing.
I would like to thank you all for your encouragement, support and custom over the past 8+ years. I have loved sharing the ups and downs of running a business here on the blog and have loved engaging with people over on Facebook, Instagram etc. The website and Facebook page will close shortly (end of April) as all the loose ends are tied but the blog will still continue in the vein of recent years, more as a personal diary for me to look back on.
I do have to say a few thank you's but will write another post - too many for today.
So farewell to dots and spots x