warning: this is a bit of a waffle….
This time 3 years ago I was, what you’d call, an entrepreneur. Or a mumpreneur. Hehe.
In a fit of fear at expecting our third child, Rob and I decided we needed to ‘do’ something with our life, and so we took a step to put us fully in control. We decided to set up our own baby boutique. Yay! We threw ourselves into it, and within a fortnight we had a premises, a list of brands we’d like to stock, merchandising ideas and a shop name. All we needed was some funding. This was offered to us by family.
So, this was it. We were setting up our very own business. Together.
Due to me and Rob being a bit silly with credit cards before we had the girls, it was decided that the family would take charge of our business account – simply acting as our accountants (their words). Doing us a favour, so we could focus on running the shop, they would take care of the books and banking etc. Our names were on NOTHING with regards to banking accounts or the lease of the shop. What could go wrong? This was our family ‘helping us out’.
In June, we had the shop keys. Rob and I, with no help from anyone else, painted and decorated our shop and it was….amazing. Then our stock started arriving. We had Oh! Baby London, Bonnie Baby, Toby Tiger, Haba Toys and loads more…. It was such an exciting time. The girls confirmed we’d made the right stock choices as they loved EVERYTHING we had chosen.
Rob has been a retail manager and merchandiser for 10 years and he made the shop look just beautiful. Honestly, it was amazing. I cried.
Then, we were open. We were an active business. We were selling the things we had chosen and loved. To other people. For real money.
I can honestly say, as a family, we had never been happier. I worked 3 days a week, Rob worked the other 3. This gave me a rare break from the girls and gave Rob a rare opportunity to spend time with them. It was the perfect balance. The shop was running like clockwork. And baby number 3 was just two months away.
Then came the storm. After a family disagreement, which was blown all out of proportion, the family that helped us set up pulled the rug from under our feet. They told us we were going bankrupt. After just 3 months! That’s not what our figures showed – we were doing better and better each week!!! We demanded to see the books and were refused.
Then it dawned on us that our names were on NOTHING regarding the business. Like I mentioned, no bank accounts, no leases. How naive of us. But it was family. We trusted them.
We were told to leave the shop, as we were ‘only employees’ and as a parting message, we were told there’d be a stock take to make sure we didn’t steal anything!!! As the stock belonged to the ‘family’ not us!
Baby number 3, by now, was weeks away. Rob had to go and ask for his old job back and got it – thank God. We’ve just plodded along ever since.
The most gut wrenching thing about this, is that this shop is STILL RUNNING!! Selling the same brands as we chose. And being run by the ‘family’ who kicked us out!!!
It still eats me up.
How do you bounce back from this? I am still bitter. Especially when, at the end of the year, that baby number 3 ie Frankie, will be going to school…and I have nothing. Rob hates his job, I’ve got no idea what I want to do or which direction I want to go in. And OUR shop, which we provided the sleepless nights brand researching, painting, setting up and loving (I did love it – it was my 4th baby) is still going strong, by people who ‘stole’ it from us.
Where do I go from here? Do I just need to get over it? I suppose the answer is yes. But I find it hard. Very hard.