Debbie Battersby talks about why she recently decided to become a member of The Keepsake Co
I qualified as a Primary teacher in 1992 and worked very happily in education for a good few years before my children came along. I downsized my role within the school I was working and became part-time, still enjoying the challenge and creativity of working with 30 little people. Once my third daughter arrived I knew almost immediately that I wanted things to change. Slowly and surely I began to realise that I was hankering after being my own boss! The idea terrified me as well as thrilled me…I’d been working in education for a long time, always part of a team and I felt I knew nothing about going it alone.
I moved house and changed jobs, becoming a schools adviser. I carried on working part-time and I’m still in post now, loving working with schools and nurseries but a short while ago I decided it was time to make my dream of my own business become a reality. My husband retired and the need to earn a good salary for my family fell solely to me…this change coupled with the looming possibility of redundancy for public sector workers meant it was time to take action.
I began to consider all my options and it was through a chance conversation with a colleague where we ended up talking about what we would do with our redundancy money that I suddenly realised my dream would be to have a little shop selling gorgeous things. So that’s where I started. I live in a market town with fabulous independent shops so I decided the long term goal was to have a bricks and mortar shop but the short term plan was to open an online shop. I began my research and the first piece of advise I received was “know your market” so as a mum of three, with loads of friends with kids, having spent 20 years working with mums, dads and kids I just knew a children’s shop was the way to go. I began to build pinterest boards full of lovely things I would like to sell and spent hours thinking what my brand could be…it took me ages to see what was actually right in front of my eyes (literally on my pinterest pages)- everything I loved was either handmade, fair-trade, locally produced or ethically sourced. So that became the basis of my brand…beautiful, ethical gifts for babies and toddlers. I still felt something was missing though and despite my hankering after being my own boss I began to realise that what was absent was my “team”! I wanted to show my pinterest boards to somebody, I wanted to get excited with someone about what shade of green my hand-knitted baby bootees should be, more than that I had questions about stock levels, marketing strategies, what on earth was SEO all about, all manner of things really. It began to dawn on me I needed a professional friend, a mentor, a support system!
I carried on researching my brand and almost by magic I came across The Keepsake Company and Victoria Casebourne. I had considered and rejected a straight forward franchise as not being for me but what Victoria was offering was different. The Keepsake Association offered the support, mentorship and team spirit that I was looking for and the range of beautiful keepsakes fitted perfectly with my developing brand.
I’ve only been a member now for a couple of months but already I have a logo, tagline, (almost) completed website, a focused marketing strategy all supporting my rapidly developing brand and range of ethical gifts and baby keepsakes! I can post comments and pictures on the Facebook page and get instant feedback from all my lovely keepsake pals. I can email the Keepsake Company team with just about any query and get an almost immediate response. There are master classes, 1:1’s, tutorials, lectures, training sessions…in fact every form of support you can imagine!
I feel like my dream is rapidly becoming a reality and soon that “little shop selling gorgeous things” will be alive and kicking. I couldn’t have got this far without the Keepsake Company and the continuing support and advice I’m receiving. Thank you Victoria and all the team and here’s to the future!
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