I’m Fran. I live in Lichfield with my husband, our 2 boys and our 2 dogs and I work for a private Architectural practice 5 days a week. That sentence is important, so remember it for later.
For so many years I have had the drive to run my own small business. The intention was never to make my millions, but more to make enough to get by and carve my own career path. Amongst the many attempts at creating a business was a new line in baby food, architectural photography, a new design of foot muff (I actually got a registered design on that bad boy), jewellery and a high heel shoe protector!
I have never been academic. I achieved average grades in my GCSEs and only 1 A Level. I got a B in Maths because I copied Ian Stubbs’ coursework (Sorry Mrs C) and parents evening from reception to sixth form consisted of my poor parents being told “She’ll probably do better if she stopped talking”.
But that’s ok, I had a great time in school. I met my 2 best friends there, gained confidence and learned who I am. Wouldn’t it be great if my boys learned that success can be measured in various ways, and achieved from various starting points.
But, with each idea running out of steam, time or money, my hopes of making it on my own began to fade.
Until earlier this year, when I began hosting jewellery workshops in a great gin bar in Lichfield. I had only held a few when they began selling out, and I thought, this is working. Maybe I could look for my own place and hold not just jewellery workshops, but teach other crafts too. Then the familiar excitement of an impending business idea began to take over. Little did I know this was the one that would stick……
Last Christmas I ran a children’s craft club in the Potting Shed restaurant at The Plant Plot Garden Centre in Lichfield. A mom from my boy’s school owns The Lichfield Pantry located on the same site. I mentioned my plans to her in passing and she suggested having a conversation with the owner about the cabins that he was building in the ‘Craft Village’. So I did. During our first meeting, we discussed where my cabin would go and how big it needed to be. Before I had even thought it through, I had agreed to take on the rental responsibility for a large workshop, and accidentally, a shop next door.
Remember the important opening sentence, the bit about the full-time job and the 2 kids?
Well, I thought to myself, 2 boys, 2 dogs and 2 businesses. I’m nothing if not consistent.