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Three Years In Reflection – my lessons in business (read to the end...)

As Christmas fast- approaches and the good old Facebook memories start popping up you can’t help but feel nostalgic. Thinking back over the years, I feel an enormous sense of pride at how far Sawdust has come as a business and the changes in myself as a person.

We are in our third year of trading now and things are smoother and more systemised than ever. I wish I could have seen the business at this point back in those early, panic-stricken, days.

I always think back to the humble beginnings when things were very different. When I first made some pocket hugs during Lockdown and was inundated with orders to fulfil it felt like a fluke. It also gave me my first taste of things to come (little did I know it though) when orders went missing in the post and I had to compensate customers out of my own pocket as my profit margins were so small. I was blissfully unaware that managing those orders and working around delivery problems and timescales was to be my first lesson in business.

I had also been making small bespoke items for around our home which were then commissioned by our friends and loved ones. Now we deliver hundreds of items a week across the UK. Getting to that point, however, was no walk in the park.

When I decided to focus on the business full-time I had a limited idea of how to run it smoothly. I started off making everything myself and as the orders were rolling in, I would print them every evening and take them down to the workshop in the morning. They were filed in the infamous ‘red folder’ and I worked through them as best I could. This way of working was unsustainable, I quickly enlisted help in the workshop and turned my attention to getting a system in place. I had to learn how to systemise high volumes of orders.

We renovated the office space in our unit and invested in enough stationery to keep Rymans in business for a year (there’s just something about a new set of highlighters, isn’t there?) Folders were labelled, postcode areas and routes designated and soon things started to run smoothly. Or so I thought.

My next lesson would be How to Overcome Hurdles.

We were faced with van breakdowns, a break-in at our unit, flooding, a smear campaign by a rival company, and bank accounts being frozen, to name but a few. There were no clear answers to any of this other than to not give up. I wanted to, most days, but the support of family and my undeniable stubborn streak just wouldn’t let me. The highlighters wouldn’t save us this time. Only tenacity and dedication saw us through this really difficult time, accompanied by swear words and gin.

And now?

I would like to think we have now left those days behind us. Challenges crop up, of course, but now we have so many things in place to deal with them they don’t cause the stress that they used to. I am confident in the business and always working on ways to improve things. I can finally take breaks and step away from the business to work on myself and bring the best version of myself to the business which is vital for its success.

So, what’s next for the business?

I have always been avidly supported by my partner and our little family of pups and her are what keeps me driven and grounded.

Next year will bring us our very own little bundle of joy that we are proud to call our son. We could not be more excited

Stay tuned for the next chapter where I will be stepping to my brand new role CEO of nappy changing.

It turns out the biggest lesson of all was that dreams really can come true.

Have a wonderful Christmas guys.


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