So just over 2 years ago me and my husband, Matt, had just got married and our only child had started school. I then found out I was pregnant again and in the midst of all this things were changing.
Matt had decided that his stable job was no longer what he wanted to do and had recently took up the hobby of vintage shirts and sports memorabilia. I worked as a Civil Servant, a very secure job and I loved it.
We had made links with a dated, old framing shop nearby and realised he was selling the business. After long talks, advice from others, agreements and disagreements we decided to purchase the business – a huge gamble that we were unsure would work.
On 7th May 2016 our second son was born and 20 days later we were actual business owners and now in debt with a whole lot to learn and fast with a newborn baby.
How? Why? What? These were all questions going round in our heads. Our whole family dynamics had massively changed in a matter of weeks, but we did what we do best and battled it as a team.
The first few months were difficult Matt had to learn a new trade and I had to work out how to run a business down to bank accounts, recording data, procedures etc. Me, Matt and our newborn baby would go in the shop and work our backsides off to ensure this venture would not fail. Matt would be in the front of the shop whilst I would be breastfeeding in the back of the shop facing a wall so that no potential customers would come in and see me. My whole maternity leave was spent helping to build the business without a break.
Twelve months later (2017) I was due to return to work. As my work hadn’t arranged it properly it meant I had to go straight back into work full-time, no keeping in touch days were organised just straight in at the deep end. Safe to say this was hugely difficult for me as well as my family as I had been with them the whole time. I was separated from my youngest who I had spent practically every waking moment with.
He was put in to nursery full-time. However, what I found straight away was that I didn’t have the same passion for my job that I had previously had and my youngest, since going to nursery, was ill more often than not. This meant that I often had to leave work early to pick him up. Everyone at work was so good but it ate away at me that it must be bothering them that I appeared to be at home more than actually in work and that I had practically used all my annual leave up on looking after him. I realised very quickly that the majority of my wage was spent on nursery fees and that I heavily relied on others to collect my eldest from school and I hated it.
Meanwhile, the business was going from strength to strength with now having a number of high-profile customers and bigger contracts with artists and companies and with the power of social media we were busier than ever. Good thing right? Well it’s a good problem but there was just too much work for Matt to do so, I would do what I could in an evening when the children had gone to bed but jobs I couldn’t do at home and could only really be dealt with in the shop would fall behind, as Matt’s main responsibility was to get the work physically done.
So in March of this year, I decided to take a twelve month career break to focus on being a mum and also freeing up time to help with the shop and its growth. As part of a career break you are not able to gain paid employment unless this is approved by your current employer. I found out rather quickly that actually having no income was not what I wanted and again needed to rethink my position. What did I want to do? What could I do?
So here we are, I work for the company as assistant, ensuring that everything runs smoothly so Matt can focus on his job and I get to be a mum to the best of my ability, everyone’s a winner. The business is doing really well and have supplied items to many auctions and framed for many famous footballers and celebrities and hopefully over the next couple of years our business will continue to grow.
Our circumstances are forever changing as with many families dynamics and probably always will but now I have an idea in mind that is actually working.
Have I found my right place? Who knows, do we ever know?
Want to find out more about White Wall Gallery and Framers, you can find out more using the links below.