Hi everyone- Salam!
So to say I've been on a blogging hiatus (nice word that) would be an understatement. The thing is I'm not a blogger- but I am a talker. So grab a tea and let's talk!
Let's get the 'blogger's shame' out the way before we start- we all know or there is general consensus that if you start a blog you need to keep it going - consistency is key or you'll lose your audience! But the truth is- and in my personal opinion, unless this is your full time job you can't be consistent! So disclaimer- I am NOT a blogger, BUT I will be writing more often with business updates, possibly some decor posts, business spotlights and my start-up journey and tips. I will commit to a minimum of one post a month (let's be realistic) and there will -as ever- be more regular content and rambles on my instagram.
To hold myself to these commitments I bought a diary this year- and I know lots of other people have too, it is definitely the era of goal setting and planning and the positivity is infectious! Happiness Planners, Mi Goals, Daily Greatness, CEO of my own Life are just a few of the bigger brands out there, I got mine for Kikki.K and couldn't be happier :) It has all of the features of the others mentioned- goal setting, habit trackers, motivating messages and reflections etc, in half the size and price!
Unnecessarily long intro over!
So I see the last post was in 2016 (nervous laugh) announcing the opening of The Cave London and being stocked! This was an amazing milestone for a business that I only run part time!
Spending the past 2 years selling with The Cave, building brand awareness through the physical store and working on new products has been an amazing experience and continues to be. I have become clearer with what I want for my brand, the customer experience and saying 'no' to what doesn't work for me. Someone asked on Instagram how you find stockists/collaborators etc- الحَمْدُ ِلله' with the case of The Cave the team got in touch with me a year before they opened the store, and my brand interested them and they wanted it to be one of the suppliers in their new concept store. It was nice to be approached and recognised for my work and I knew (small as I was) I need to stick to my style and not compromise in order to have mass appeal. Sharing a common vision and principles on business is essential as these relationships rely on trust and a common goal of wanting each other to succeed. I will write more on managing and developing these relationships in a separate post.
Going a little further back in time for those who are new to KDEVISION or don't know much about my background- you can read the first post on the blog archive, but I thought I'd add an update on the story since then. In short the business started whilst I was still at uni so naturally I could never give it my full attention, I only managed to work properly on it for a year when I was on my Graduate Enterprise Programme and even then I worked 3 days part time retail in Notting Hill. I was using the money to pay for my design studio rent and other small running costs. Towards the end of the year I remember planning to leave this job and get some more experience in the design sector and something that will encourage my development instead of just pay the rent. I had handed in my notice and was due to finish early December (because one Christmas in retail was mad enough) that December 2014 my Dad passed away (إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ).
I never went back for my last shifts and so the time I planned to spend job searching was actually spent in a state of shock and grieving. Things had changed forever, and so did my plans, I knew then I could no longer afford the luxury of working on my business and needed a full-time job instead to step up and help my family. There really is a divine plan, and that winter over a cup of tea with the head of the Grad programme she told me about a job that she thought would be perfect for me. I remember looking at it and thinking I was under qualified and would never deserve the salary stated. Nevertheless through mum nagging me to check if I had applied and the thought of having to explain to my friend why I hadn't, I completed the application at 11pm working up to the midnight deadline. I got an interview and then the job. It was crazy and unexpected but something that has changed my life since and something I will always be grateful for. Although I can't work full-time on the business, it gives me the financial security I need for my family which was my main goal. It of course will always upset me that Dad never got to see me get that 'proper job' he'd be proud of but he was always so supportive of what I did regardless. He actually visited my studio for the first time before he was admitted to hospital the following week.
Three years on I'm still busy working full-time in a job that is both highly rewarding but draining both mentally and physically. As a start-up consultant I can draw on my own experiences as well as learn more about business and strategies that I can put into my own business- so its win-win.
Through all my learnings I will spend this year really executing my vision and reaching the goals I had set long ago. I will be the guinea pig and document what happens, practice what I preach everyday but never have the time to implement for myself. Less working IN the business and more working ON the business- if you've heard this phrase before but never quite understood it- it basically means (for me), I've been spending all my time just making and selling, but not enough time on the things that grow and sustain you- marketing activities and plan, a business strategy that outlines growth and increasing reach and revenue- again I will write a more detail post on this with tips on how to delegate and automate.
I spent this winter break planning my website revamp and finally cataloguing the new products - I'm really bad at this (making the products in the spare time I have and shipping it to the customer before I can even take a photo!) the online store is really quite tragic. Last weekend I set up my camera that I never use (Canon 550D) with a borrowed lens (Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens) and finally took some photos for the new site and shop:
I quite like the rawness and warmth of it but I will spend tomorrow taking photos of the last of the products and sit with Adobe Lightroom and give them some love.
For anyone still reading I don't know if this is what you expected, but this is the beginning (5 years in) this is a restart for the business with more determination and support. This is also me opening up, sharing tips and reflecting on hard lessons learnt and I hope you will continue to stay and grow with me. Growth means many things to many people- whether you count every like and follower, every sale or just your personal growth as someone starting their own thing and watching other people believe in your vision and love the things that you're creating, sharing or inspiring. Personal growth is the one that will stay with you, and if I can help you with that in anyway that's worth more than a million little red hearts under a post.
Stay tuned- more content is coming, new products are on their way, website revamp is imminent and if I get lazy give me a nudge!
It's going to be a good year.