Abby is the owner of Juicytots, an online store selling design-led homewares, gifts, and clothing. She’s mum to Harry, Lily, and toddler Ruby.
Why I started my business: I continued to work in retail management part time after the birth of my son Harry in 2000 and daughter Lily in 2003. I did find that working for a high street retailer was fairly un-family friendly though because part time managers have to work weekends, extended trading, late nights, Christmas etc. When I was pregnant with Ruby in 2006, it became obvious that my current childcare arrangements would not be able to continue, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to return to my old role. This forced me to rethink my work arrangements, which was the push I needed to try something new.
Toughest Challenge: Time! I know I could do much more with the business, if I had more time. However, it is important to me not to miss out on the precious early years. I work late at night most days and taking a holiday can be difficult. Juggling the desire to work with the needs of my family can be tough. My husband is very supportive but travels away with his own job, so I am often on my own with the 3 children during the week which can be tiring.
What I enjoy most: I love visiting the trade fairs, seeing all the new products and deciding what to buy. I also feel proud of what I have achieved and that I have done it all myself with no financial assistance from anyone else. I’m hoping to grow the business so that when Ruby starts school I can really go for it and hopefully open a bricks and mortar shop at some stage. I loved it this year when I had my first proper Christmas off work in 17 years! ( i.e. didn’t have to work Christmas Eve or Sale day on 27th Dec!)
My advice for someone thinking about starting their own business: Do it! What do you have to lose? Better to try and fail than look back and say, what if?
Do your research and build on something you already have knowledge of. Try not to get carried away when meeting new suppliers – I always go away and think and I never order at a trade show as I feel the bright lights and exciting atmosphere can cloud my judgment. I am quite impulsive so this is a good tactic for me. Contact HMRC and go on the free course they run, Becoming self-employed which will help you to keep accurate records, whether you plan on doing your own self assessment or getting an accountant.