This week was my official last week at my former job as a Digital Merchandiser at Burberry. Having spent the better part of a decade in the fashion industry I am hanging up my boots and flying solo.
I spent my teens working in retail stores and spent my earnings on the latest fashion to wear. I spent 3 years at University learning how to make and market clothes. I spent my summers interning, nearly 5 years at Jenny Packham and then another nearly 4 years at Burberry, mostly in ecommerce.
I’ve been to fashion week shows, to Paris, Hong Kong, China. I’ve worn beautiful shoes and sipped free champagne at the after parties. I have created, collaborated, procrastinated, stayed up all night, learnt from scratch, asked questions, worked outside my habits, learnt to speak up, felt inferior, felt inspired, felt knowledgeable.
The last years in the corporate world were wonderful, I felt like somebody. BUT, it was all consuming. This was my life, aside from going to the latest restaurant, the new rooftop hangout, the best brunch on a Sunday.
Then everything changed. We moved to suburbia and my daughter Alba was born.
I want to see her grow up. I feel like I’ve achieved everything I wanted to in my “fashion” career and now we’re moving on. Of course I will miss the shiny offices, the heel bearing associates, my dear friends, the gossip coffee runs, feeling like they make it look on the movies (some days it really did feel like that). But I can’t sit there at my desk and spend almost every penny I earn paying somebody else to bring up my child. I won’t miss the incredibly long hours, the stress, and I can’t even contemplate the guilt, running to the nursery to pick up the last child there. Nobody ever sat on their deathbed and said “I really wish I had seen my kids less”.
As well as this, there has always been a constant niggling voice in my head telling me to start my own business. Ever since I started working, I have always dreamt about working for myself. I just needed time to come up with ‘the idea’.
So now we are doing it. The Modern Nursery, Alba and I, one Instagram post at a time. Right now it’s working for us. I can manage my own time, I work when she sleeps, every time she sleeps. Often until 12/1am in the morning, and then I get up and do the 3am night feed. Ask me again if it’s working when she’s a toddler, when there is more than one, when it becomes not ok to only really see my husband when I take a night off. Right now it works, and I am genuinely happy, fulfilled, inspired and hopeful.
This new road is about two things. It is about us. Building a family life that we are comfortable with. Whether you work 5 days a week, you’re freelance, a stay at home mum or a night shift worker, if it is working for you then Go - You! That’s the main part of the struggle.
It’s also about me. As a mum, it’s OKAY to say that. If I spend the next 10 years working for someone else and feel disgruntled then I will wake up at the ripe old age of (insert unthinkable number here) and be jealous of all the people that got off their backsides and did it.
Make it work for you. Make it happen.
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