This time 2 years ago, I was on a mission to make my business take over the world. I thought that I needed to have an all singing and dancing e-commerce website and be exhibiting at all the big trade shows. I wasn't quite there so everything I was doing was intended to make my business grow. It was growing, slowly, but there just didn't seem to be enough time or money to do everything that I thought I needed to. I took advice from my business minded friends. Some of which told me that I need to be paying PR companies and be making jewellery for rockstars all over the world, and some that were perfectly happy with their sole trader businesses that just about made them enough money to live on. They had no desires for world domination, or even UK domination, they make enough money and they have something that's very precious and makes them very happy - time!
This really made me think about what I was trying to achieve. Back in 1997, when I started my degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing, I had no real career plans. I just chose what I enjoyed doing.
Trying to make a business, especially one where there is so much competition, into something massive is very stressful and hard work. I also had to juggle this with family life and felt terribly guilty every time I had to spend time away from my children to attend selling events. So, it was time for a rethink. I didn't really need or want to be running a business that was taking me away from my children every weekend, and if I did get to the point where I was supplying 100's of shops and galleries, I would probably have to start getting my pieces made elsewhere, going against my business ethos and personal ethics.
It's funny though, because having made the decision to not worry about "growing" too much, that's exactly what has started to happen, but it's now on my terms. A lot has happened in both my business and personal life over the last couple of years, that saw me spending far too much time keeping other people happy and made me think that what I did wasn't very important.
I now know that's rubbish. I've spent years, developing and refining what I do and I know that I'm good at it because my growing number of clients tell me so. I have no intention of letting this business grow to the point where I have to outsource work or go against my environmental principals. My business is just about me, doing what I enjoy to support myself and my family.
Of course I'll still happily sell to any rockstars that would like to buy from me, but I won't be personally delivering it to America or selling any of my ranges to high street shops to be mass produced in China. Every piece of "Anna" jewellery is handmade by me, and that's how it's going to stay.