A very personal account.
Ayup, yer boggers. It’s three years to the day, since we won the Inspiring Retail competition, that spring-boarded our little online home-run business, to a thriving destination shop in the centre of Nottingham. When Ian and I applied for the competition just a month before, we never thought we’d eventually end up winning it.
So much has happened in the last three years, but winning the competition gave us hope, because for the first time since I was made redundant (in the march of 2014) someone actually saw the potential in our business model, and deciding to become self employed, instead of working for a soulless corporation didn’t seem like such a big mistake after all.
I’m not going to say it was easy. When I was made redundant in 2014, I was probably at my lowest point emotionally. I had given everything to my previously job, lost relationship after relationship, and felt terrifically undervalued as a human being by the end of it. I also thought that I didn’t have the skills I needed to find another job, so becoming self employed seemed like the only lifeline. Surviving on Beans on toast, and the odd graphic design job here and there, I really thought “This is it. who’s going to employ me now?” I felt like I’d sold my soul for 4 years, and gained nothing from it.
I referred myself for a series of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is probably the best decision I have ever made, as it allowed me to see things differently, and discuss my problems with someone unbiased. It was certainly the turning point, and I would recommend it to anyone. There is a huge stigma attached to mental health issues, and I, myself have been guilty in the past of thinking people should just “gerroverit”, but it only takes one significant life event to make things not OK. and things were definitely NOT OK.
A week after we met, I went to pick up a kitten I’d bought, (because I’d resigned me-sen to a lifetime of spinsterhood, surrounded by cats.) Now, we’re a little family unit, and she’s as much a daddy’s girl as anything! She’s a bleddeh tinker!
I’ve always been a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of girl, and spontaneity doesn’t phase me, whereas Ian is a lot more level headed, and I think that’s why we work so well together. When we won the shop in Broadmarsh, I knew it would work, and I was excited about living each day as it comes. Don’t get me wrong, you need a good business plan in place, if you’re to succeed, but not going through with the shop, after being given such an opportunity, was not an option. I knew we had to make it work, and it nearly killed us!
We opened 1st December 2014, 3 weeks after winning the competition. Luckily I had suppliers in place from my previous job, and, as it happens, all those skills I’d learned manufacturing personalised gifts, transferred very well to this job, which is why we manufacture 80% of the products we sell on site now.
Two good years in the Broadmarsh centre, allowed us to open our current shop in St. James’s Street. A lovely quirky little shop, just next door to the Malt cross, and Handmade Nottingham – another wonderful example of an independent gift shop. We love being on St. James’s Street, along with several other independent businesses. It suits our brand, and has upper floors which we use for studio space and manufacturing.
We never know what each day will bring, but we have built such a wonderful following on social media, and even have our own ‘Bogger Talk’ group on Facebook, dedicated to speaking proper Notts! I only wish I could clone myself, so that I could achieve all the ideas that are floating around in my head! Any small business owner will tell you, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Right now, whilst I’m typing this, I’m acutely aware of the fact that Ian is running around like a blue arsed fly, collecting stock together for a market we’re doing on Sunday!There is always something I want to do, and never enough time to do it, which is why this monthly blog, has become a quarterly rant, and my mailing list members are lucky if they receive an email twice a year!
Any-road, I love running Dukki, and chatting with you Boggers on Facebook (please like our page!) and we hope to be able to continue it, for as long as the economic climate allows us to! If you find yourself in Market square, just nip up St. James’s Street and see us. We’ll always welcome you, and the ‘kekkle is allus on!’
If you’ve got this far, then well done! I’ve rambled on forever, so I’d better go and get all the other jobs done that I’ve neglected.
Ta-ra, me duck!
Our upcoming events: Barton’s PLC ‘Not the Camden Market’ Sunday 5th and 19th November, Chilwell High Rd.
25th-26th November – Rufford Abbey Winter Market.
Late night shopping ’til 8pm every Wednesday in December. We will also be open on a Monday throughout December annorl!