Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Amy is a mother and business owner who took a chance on herself and came up trumps read her candid account of how she became self employed and the challenges that she faced.
Who am I and what do I do?
My name is Aimee and I am a mum to two children. I run Retro Romance Boutique. Online second hand homewares and furniture shop, specialising in vintage and retro goods.
What inspired/motivated you to create your business?
I have always loved old things. Most of my furniture and what I fill my home with are all second hand, from one place or another and I love a bargain. I think I get if from my mum. She always furnished her home with a mix of antique, second hand and new homewares. My dad was even known to bring stuff home he had found in a skip.
I always dreamed of having a business that would allow me to source second hand beautiful objects and sell them on for others to love. I always wanted to own a café, where people could come, relax and enjoy some good food surrounded by beautiful objects that they could also purchase. However, I never considered myself cleaver or organised enough to own my own business.
Years later my business was created out of pure desperation. I had to leave my job as my youngest son was struggling at school. I worked full time so dropped down to part time but it still didn’t seem to help. I was constantly getting calls from the school and I was starting to realise that my son may have additional needs. It all came to a head one day and I left my job.
Daniel was later diagnosed with ADHD. I came to terms with it and all my time went into understanding his needs and how I could support him better. I did, and things got better but when the time came for me to get another job, I couldn’t. I was getting knocked back from so many jobs. The only explanation I can think of is that I had gone back into full time education a few years before and i had to leave. I worked full time, had to leave. Then part time and i had to leave, so my CV did not look good and made me look unreliable (maybe it wasn’t that, I don’t really know) I did a few jobs here and there but nothing permanent and I was really starting to sink into a deep depression. At one point I worked for a friend helping her with her own decorating business but that didn’t work out. It got to the point where I really didn’t know what else to do. I remembered, while I was working for my friend that we had worked in some beautiful multi million pound houses. They had the big hi spec kitchens and expensive John Lewis furniture but they also had little vintage touches. A second hand vase or and old drinks trolley and it made me realise that there is a call for finding second hand beautiful objects and getting them out there for others to love. Four weeks later and lots of help from my friend Mel, Retro Romance Boutique was born.
What advice would you give others wanting to start a business? Or rise up through the ranks?
My advice to others wanting to start their own business, is go for it! If you have a passion for something then you are half way there. Don’t worry about whether it is viable or not. Start researching. If others are doing it, great what can you learn from them. If no one is doing it, great you have a gap in the market. If you really don’t know where to start, Wenta Business Centre run free start up business courses in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They run courses on anything from help with social media to tax and bookkeeping. Obviously don’t go out and get yourself a £10,000 loan without researching your idea first but believe in yourself and have a passion for what it is you want to start your business in and that is half the battle.
What have you learnt on your journey as a business owner?
I have learnt not to take things too personally. Not everyone is going to like or understand what I do and that’s ok. I don’t like the minimalistic streamline look but others do, so I look at it that way. I have also learnt that there will always be good days and bad days in business. Sometimes it’s my fault and sometimes it isn’t anything that I have done wrong.
What has been the toughest challenge being your own boss? Being in such a high position?
The toughest challenge for me is constantly having to be on the ball and to be organised. I am not an organised person and I’m quite scatty. I have to really plan my day so I make sure I get the most out of it or I will procrastinate. It’s not 9-5, its evenings and weekends I could get and order at any time and I like to get them out as soon as possible. So I could be packing boxes at midnight sometimes.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
I think the best thing is doing what I love (I know everyone probably says that) but even though it’s not 9-5 and I can’t ever really switch off, I love what I do. That allows me to have more head space for my kids when they come home from school. Instead of being grumpy or inpatient because I’ve had a rough day at work, I’m a lot calmer, which in turn makes them calm. It’s also such an amazing feeling to hear that Cha- Ching noise pop up on my phone when I make a sale. Not just because I’ve made money but because it means someone somewhere loves and wants what I have found. It’s a proper buzz.
Seven random facts about yourself
1. I have two kids
2. I am 34 years old
3. I have been going grey since I was 21 years old
4. I love red wine
5. I love gardening (it’s so good for my mental health)
6. I started my working career as a visual merchandiser
7. I once studied to become a Social Worker
You can follow Aimee over at www.Instagram.com/retroromance_boutique
To celebrate women in business I've launched a series called #FemaleBossFeature
Each week I will introduce a woman in business who will share what they do, how they do it, what they've learnt and share a piece of advice for those wanting to start their own business. To get involved please contact me here.