Wow, I never thought that starting out in business would lead to me knocking on the door of No.10. Quite literally, as I had left my phone behind; please let me back in!
It’s been such a crazy week that I’ve only just had chance to reflect on that wonderful day and ‘put pen to paper’.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the Small Biz 100, as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday celebrations. Even luckier still, I was asked to exhibit at the launch of the campaign held at No.10. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but my shop/s are a huge part of my life. I’ve invested so much time and energy that now they’re simply an extension of myself. To be able to take a little piece of this to Downing Street was going to be no easy task.
Over the years, I’ve managed to persuade my suppliers to part ways with some pretty interesting things. Most notably, my big Skechers shoe, which you may have all seen last year (see photo below). I have also been given a dissected Loake shoe, (I didn’t, wouldn’t and couldn’t do that myself for anybody thinking about giving it a try!), a very flexible Anatomic shoe and plenty of other trinkets that shed some insight on the world of elevate your sole. You may have noticed that I also enjoy talking in finite detail about all my shoes, so I’d have to take some of them too!
Armed with a lot of photo’s and more business cards than you could shake a stick at, I descended on London. In my car. At about 6mph. I always find grid-lock traffic soothes the nerves, especially when surrounded by the lovely considerate drivers of London! Leaving the house at 5am, I arrived nice and early at 11:30!
I was straight to it, walking through the doors with no time to look around. My phone was turned off and placed into one of the cubby holes; I was escorted to the lift and up I went to the room in which I’d be exhibiting. After a couple of tense minutes of ‘I’m not sure where your going’, I was directed into a room with a lovely group of other Small Biz 100. They were definitely pro’s, all set up in a matter of minutes as I was fumbling around with an oversized Skechers shoe, looking forward to a bacon butty. It never came; instead quail eggs with smoked salts amongst other delicious ‘light bites’ expertly served by the highly skilled staff of No.10. That would have to do!
There was a fantastic atmosphere with people from all walks of life, each that had found their very own niche. All had one thing in common and that was a passion for small business. From model tractors to kids smart watches, there was ingenuity and enthusiasm at every step.
It came to 3 o’clock and I realised that I hadn’t really taken advantage of my surroundings and took myself on a quick tour. From the Olympic torch to the Prime Ministers’ portraits there was a treasure trove of goodies on display. Unfortunately for me, I ended up setting off an alarm! Luckily, it had happened before( or so I was told!); they were a friendly bunch anyway and just laughed it off.
All in all it was a fantastic day, surrounded by likeminded, ambitious people and I’d like to wish them all the best of luck for the future. I was fortunate enough to meet some very prominent people including MP Margot James (Small Business Minister) and the chair of the FSB Mike Cherry, who were very receptive about the need to reduce business rates.
As always, I was keen to champion my home town of Prestatyn and the tremendous collaborative effort that has made us twice finalists in the GB High Street Awards. It was the confidence gained from this that allowed me to set up my new business in the beautiful village of Rhos on Sea. Another town with fantastic ambition, I recently enjoyed the fantastic Christmas Fayre and look forward to getting more involved in the years to come.
I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As always I’d be really happy to hear from you using the comment section below.