Almost 10 months ago I had an idea. A pretty big one, that was pretty life changing and realistically couldn’t be actioned over night…not even over a few weeks. I did know it was going to take months…but 10? No way!
All throughout my life I have been around fabric and sewing, making stuff and generally being creative. My Mum used to be a full time dressmaker and she even ran the local craft club, each week doing a different craft until there was no craft left unturned. So I’ve always dabbled in making stuff. When I was 6 years old I finished my first stitch sampler and I still have it up on my wall today! A few years ago one of my aunts said to me that when I was a kid you could have just given me some old toilet rolls and boxes, paper and glue and I would be entertained for hours making something up. I even used to sew lots of buttons onto scrap bits of fabric just for fun.
When I got to the age of exams and picking subjects and being academic I sort of got ushered into subjects like chemistry and biology and maths. And although I still liked sewing up little handbags and purses for myself and went to drama club every week the academia soon took over and by the time I got to university I didn’t have time, or at least didn’t prioritise being creative over my studies.
The thing with me is that whatever I do, I do it whole heartedly. I don’t like not being good at something or not knowing what I’m doing so I’ll really work on it until I feel in control again. So when I was studying Physiotherapy at uni and then working in the NHS I really let it take over my life. When I left uni I edited a physiotherapy book, which then got published, all at the while going to work full time. Then I started going on lots of courses to get more qualifications including learning acupuncture and it got to a boiling point and started to feel like I was missing something and that I didn’t really love it enough to warrant dedicating every waking minute to it and feeling as stressed as I did.
So I took a lifestyle choice to work part-time and spend more time getting back into the things that I used to love. I did an online e-course called ‘Do what you love’ and I started to realise what I really valued in life and what was important to me.
Then in July last year (2011) a few things seemed to happen together and I had an idea. My husband has owned a beautiful, if a bit shabby, building that used to be a social club in a lovely little suburb in Birmingham called Moseley Village for some time now and it got to a point that we needed to figure out what to do with it. It’s been empty for quite a few years and the elements are taking their tool on the old girl.
Then a life that I dreamed of flashed before my eyes and I suggested that we open it up as a haberdashery and fabric shop and inspire and teach other people to be creative. Being creative again had made me feel so different, and really changed my perspective on life and I wanted other people to get the same happiness and enjoyment as I did out of learning how to make something for yourself.
We then started making the necessary actions to get the wheels in motion of this dream. Get the architect to design us a scheme, apply for planning permission, commission the tradesmen to do the work, get all the renovations done, buy the stock, plan the workshop classes and open the doors! It really does sound so easy and simple when you say it in one sentence like that.
You’ve all seen Grand Designs on the TV right? They visit these people over, sometimes several years, and they are still messing around with different things, all the hiccups along the way and you think…what is taking them so long? Can’t the just get on with it? It would never take me that long…I’m way more organised than that! Of course its easy to see a situation from after and make judgement, I’ve done it many times myself but I am now learning the hard way that sometimes no matter what you do, things don’t quite come together as you’d hoped.
From the architect designing the scheme to getting the council to approve the planning application, it took 6 months! So you get to 6 months and you finally have the answer you wanted and you get excited, but it lasts about 2 weeks. Then you realise you have to get building regulation approval and you have to make sure your neighbours are ok with what you want to do and you need to actually find someone to do the building work for you and suddenly another 4 months pass and you still haven’t started work.
It feels like I’m treading water, stuck in the mud, climbing up a hill but the ground is loose and I keep slipping back down again. I’m trying, I really am but I’m just not getting anywhere fast, that’s what it feels like.
But in the distance I can see it. I can see what I’m dreaming of. Entering this amazing old building with all its history and seeing and the gorgeous, colourful and bright fabric, yarn, buttons, ribbons, trims, threads and notions. All sitting pretty and organised, neatly stacked on the shelves. I’ve got the biggest smile on my face thinking about being surrounding by all this amazing stuff and people coming in to my shop and getting excited about all the treasures and being inspired to make something or do something.
I will get there, because I love fabric and yarn and all the bits and pieces that go with it and. I am so passionate that by bringing it all to other people and inspiring them will make a difference to their well-being. I suppose it’s the physio in me, I really want to help and make a difference to people. Now I’ll just be doing it in a different way. And also I don’t like to let things lie…I’ve started so I’ll finish! Its just taking longer that I thought it would, but I know that when it all comes together I’ll be amazing and I’m really so excited about that!
Our time scale keeps changing but we hope to be open by September 2012 and in the meantime I’m going to open an online shop (planned for launch in July 2012) where you can all get a taster for the special collection of products I’ll curate to be the stock in my bricks and mortar shop.