I never thought I’d see this day. For many years, I have entertained the idea of starting my own business, without really taking the plunge. “I’m not much of a business person…” “It’s not for me”… “I can’t handle the workload, the accounting, HMRC demands, etc.” Well here I am today, doing all of these things, and totally winging it.
This is by far the most stress-inducing venture I’ve ever embarked on, but I’m convinced I’ll look back one day and smile. I’ll be happy that I took that leap of faith. Because honestly, faith is the only thing that made me go ahead with this.
Ultimately I’d like this to be a God-given testimony of how I went from being absolutely petrified of starting, to being 100% confident and secure in my newfound freedom.
Just to give you a bit of background… I had this idea back in 2012 to create a baby and motherhood blog. I even started it on WordPress, named it, wrote a couple of posts and hit the ‘publish’ button. It never really picked up, but it was there, for all to see, albeit for a short period of time – maybe a couple of months altogether.
When I eventually decided to make the blog private (I can’t remember what made me do this at the time – lack of time, loss of enthusiasm?) the name never really left my mind. Cerise Indigo. I loved that name. There’s no way to romanticise the story of how I came up with it. Cerise in French means cherry, and as a colour it is a dark pinkish red, which I absolutely love. Indigo is a beautiful shade of blue, which to me represents water and life. It was a different, more modern take on the ‘pink and blue’ aesthetic so commonly used in the baby and childrenswear industry. The Hawaiian meaning behind my name Waiki is “gush of water” so I guess that kinda links it to my name too.
Whilst my 2012 baby & motherhood blog may have died down over time, the name Cerise Indigo, I was sure, would never depart from me.
So over the years I thought of ways to revive and make use of Cerise Indigo. By that time it wasn’t just a name; it was an idea, it was a dream. Maybe start a childcare business? I looked into childminding courses while I was on maternity leave with my first born, enquired about it and just as I was about to start, my second child came along. Maybe start a clothing line? That came to mind to, very early on. But I had no funds, no one to turn to, no knowledge of the industry. It was a complete mine field for me as a mother of two with very little income and no room for ‘experimenting’.
But again, Cerise Indigo never left my mind. So earlier this year, after witnessing the rise of e-commerce this past decade, how different online business models can be mastered in a short period of time and with a small capital, I made the decision that Cerise Indigo would definitely be an online baby and children’s boutique.
I told very few people about my idea. I didn’t want to talk publicly about yet another online venture of mine for fear that people roll their eyes and think “What is Waiki trying to do now?!” But some encouraging words from a couple of my friends gave me the push I needed, so I went ahead with it.
And before I knew it, I was creating a brand, building my very own e-commerce website, getting to know my suppliers, officially registering my company, buying marketing materials and setting up my home office.
All this in the space of a few weeks, literally. Today I can’t say I’ve fully grasped the amount of work and headache it will take to become successful, because I’m going into this with more faith than know-how. And this is something I’ve taken on while being on maternity leave – God knows what it will be like once I return to full-time work in a few months. But one thing I do know is that I’m taking small steps to leave a legacy for my children (which has always been my desire), no matter how big or small it ends up being – this is one thing I’ll never regret starting.
Now for the more practical side of things, I could write a long blog post about what it entails to actually start a business, how to do it, how not to lose your mind, your money and your drive… But that would be a little premature (and borderline pretentious) of me. I’m literally just starting out, so this is all new to me. I’m still learning the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur, I’m still learning the best way to deal with difficult suppliers, customer retention, and all the other obstacles of this industry. And the end goal is to eventually have my own clothing line, rather than curating from other designers. This will take many years, so I’m nowhere near the finished line.
I’m still at the stage where I’m using my daughter’s bedroom as my photo studio, and my living room as my headquarters. Hashtag humble beginnings.
What I can do however is encourage you to just start. If business has been on your mind for a while but you don’t know where to start, do some research – there are so many business models you could opt for, some of which don’t require much capital upfront. Nowadays with the rise of social media and e-commerce you could literally brainstorm your ideas today and start your online business tomorrow. And I’m not here to entice you into signing up to some e-commerce platform – there are no affiliate links in this post and I’m not sponsored by anyone. This is coming straight from the heart, and I should in fact say – from one procrastinator to another!
And when it all gets a bit too overwhelming, when you can barely cope or feel like giving up, remember why you started.
Lastly I won’t sit here and tell you that if I can do it, you can do it too. God I hate this phrase, I honestly think gurus should be banned from saying it. But nevertheless I’d like you to be encouraged by other people’s stories of ‘taking the leap of faith’, stories of success (and failures! there’s always something to be learned from that too), and take the small steps you need to take in order to achieve your dreams. There’s a reason why I keep a business diary of absolutely every little thing that goes on behind the scenes – from buying cute stationary to my first sale, I’m recording everything! I can’t wait to look back at this little diary this time next year, and the year after, and the year after… and when that day comes, I will give all the glory to God.