A journey into building a business as a woman.
It seems quite poignant to be launching my new website on the weekend of International Women’s Day. It has been a long journey of self-doubt and self-reflection that has not been an easy path. Launching a new business with my own designs and my own start up funding feels like (apart from my children) the biggest achievement of my life, so far.
As a mum of two I have always been tough on myself wondering if I am a good parent and if I am being a good role model, friend, and inspiration to my children. The words that they have shared with me on how they feel about me starting up a business around something that I love has had a positive effect on them.
Juggling all the jobs that mum’s have to do and then working into the small hours to get things done sometimes felt like a thankless task. I felt at times I was getting nowhere. Picking up the phone or sending an email with no brand, no voice, no experience, was tough. Really tough.
With a desire to succeed and with the support I received from my loving children and my partner Richard, I kept going knowing that something good can come from hard work and tenacity.
Over the two and a half years it has taken me to set Pure Velo up I had searched and met with many companies. Some manufacturers that I met along the way are in such a volume game that they were not really interested in the small fries. It was as though they all only wanted the biggest and most successful companies to knock their doors while they sat back and made no effort to support the newbies.
I the early days I initiated work with a company that I began to feel wasn’t listening to me, gradually they started steering me in a direction I didn’t want to go. Over a few months the tables started to turn to their agenda not mine. There was much open negativity about my ideas to bring something new to women’s cycle wear and nothing felt right anymore. I felt lost, I doubted myself and my vision for Pure Velo. I felt that I could not carry the stress of dealing with people that were so negative about my ideas. Yes, they were different but that was the point. My strap line had always been, Fearlessly Feminine. Pure Velo was, and is about women cycling in a kit designed with femininity in mind. Not a kit designed for men with a bit of pink or flowers added to make it look more feminine.
My partner Richard asked if I if the original idea still burnt bright inside. I was sure and determination kept me going . I would not be lead down anymore dead ends and I needed to trust my gut feel. I knew I had to get out there and surround myself with the right people if this was going to be a success with the outcome being the product I had envisaged.
In learning to trust my gut the world of Pure Velo changed. I found a major boost of inspiration during a trip to a trade show in Europe where I met some wonderful people. In particular a lovely lady from Italy who gave me so much time and information and most importantly understood my vision. I knew after the very first conversation that this lady’s company would be the one to bring my garments to life. From here on the businesses that I started to engage with became reliable suppliers helping piece together everything required to complete a new range of cycling clothing. The search for companies that I felt understood me and made me feel that I was as important to them as they were to me was over. I finally felt I had the right people around me; my kind of people. These people were women and they made the difference.
My supply chain is now made up of many companies. Some are large corporates, such as the logistics companies, who you would struggle to forge a relationship with when you are a small start-up business. But the key components to Pure Velo, such as the company that manufacture my garments, my accountant, my seamstress’, and the peers that I go to for advice and guidance on every level, are all women.
I still have days of self-doubt and worry about how my designs will be perceived, will they sell, will people dismiss them for being different. Never has my confidence taken a knock from the women I have worked with though. The patience that these women have given me and the little extras where they have gone out of their way to help and support me is a blessing. I feel privileged to be working with such supportive, kind and inspirational women who have helped in giving me the confidence to keep going on my journey and bring Pure Velo to life. Long may that continue!
One woman can make a difference but together we can accomplish great things.
Choose to be fearlessly feminine.