A year ago I was sitting in a corner office as Director of sales and marketing for a global brand, poring over ‘More’ every day and lapping up every single word of ‘Second Acts’. Each day I would wonder if I might have the courage to change my life. Every day I wept secret tears as those other marvellous women got on with living their lives to the full.
If you have known how unhappy I was in my job you would have told me to quit right then and there. I would have told you the same. The politics, the long hours, the in-fighting – that was what I hated. But I was too scared to leave. I didn’t know what else to do. I was throwing away so much – it had taken me twenty years to get that office!
But… three months ago I walked away, after nine months of fretting, dreaming and planning. I have always spent my evenings painting murals, recovering armchairs, stripping tables… I believe we can all have a beautiful home – even on a small budget, and in a way that isn’t damaging to the planet. I don’t think this means we have to sacrifice style – it just means using a little more imagination. I believe this so strongly I surrendered to its call.
As a first step I set up a blog – as a sourcebook of ideas and ways to have a home that Doesn’t Cost the Earth. Secondly I started creating desirable objects from unwanted items: a bench recovered in a coffee sack (don’t scoff – check it out!), pillows made from vintage silk maps – and three months in, I’ve already made a few sales. Thirdly I’m consulting to help women ‘shop their house’ and see potential in items that are a little tired and just need a revamp.
I’m now working on forming a partnership or plan to create a long term business.
The toughest thing about all this was that I didn’t have a network in the interiors industry. My networks are in business. What to do?
Create one. Every week I call about five people that I’d like to meet in the industry and ask for a meeting. No – I’m not someone who finds that easy, but you know what? People have been very kind and open. I’m met almost everyone that I’ve called. This is not only creating my network, it’s actually healing some of the disillusion that my last role left. I’m gaining a little more faith in humanity.
And I am just realising that I’m not actually throwing anything away. All that wonderful experience and knowledge still exists and I’m building on it.
This is only the start of my story. I hope I can share with you the next phase as I reach it. In the mean time, check out my blog. I’d love your comments and suggestions.