The Alice in Scandiland Shop – a change is coming.

If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that a lot can change, quickly and often it is beyond our controlForced change can help to bring new perspective and it’s good to take a step back and assess how things are going and this is what I have done in more recent weeks. 

It will be 2 years next month, since I opened the doors to the Alice in Scandiland highstreet shop and wow, what a 2 years it has been. Initially I didn’t have an official shop website, it’s a lot of work to build and get right and I wanted to concentrate on establishing one thing, before committing to the next. Getting the look and feel right was so important to me, I wanted everything to be instantly recognisable as me, my style, my look, my voice. On June 1st 2019 I launched the website and things have gone from strength to strength. It’s wonderful to know people from all over the world can and do share the love for my business and during an international pandemic, with the physical shop forced to close, having an online outlet has been a total blessing.

This said, the knock on effect of this positive response, during such difficult, restrictive weeks and months, has been the pressure and anxiety of running things on my own. As someone who has suffered with depression in recent years and has battled with anxiety almost daily since Covid-19 took over our lives, it has been difficult to keep a balance between business, home and mental health. I’m sure many of you reading this have felt like they are not achieving what they think they should, what they had hoped they would be at this stage of 2020, but how could we? Our world has been turned upside down, inside out and the ongoing uncertainty of so many aspects of life keeps us on an unhealthy edge, trying to carry on, forced to, but always subconsciously aware we are teetering, wobbling.

I have reached a point now where I am looking ahead, to how I can improve things for both my customers but also, very importantly, for myself. I find I am on my own in my work world and it can feel quite isolating, the often unspoken side to self employment and entrepreneurial pursuits. Trying to facilitate and encourage the growth of the shop, juggle being a mother to 2 little people who have not been to school for 4 months, my husband is the most supportive, self sacrificing man, together we have shared the burden of both continuing to work throughout. Looking at the rest of the year and how things will not be “normal” in the world of retail for quite some time, something needs to change.

So, change is coming and it’s going to be good for all of us…

A few weeks ago I decided to take a leap of faith and adapt the structure of my business. I have employed a South West based Fulfillment company, who will be helping me with online sales, taking in stock, picking, packing and posting. Despite my current workload quadrupling, temporarily, to get this all organised and setup, already I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Just in the last week I have seen a little surge in my ability to be creative, to create new content, to find the energy to continue working towards reopening the physical shop more regularly and here I am even writing a blog post about it all!

It’s quite something, taking a part of what you have built yourself and handing it over to someone else, I’ve felt incredibly vulnerable and inadequate at times this past fortnight, lifting the lid off the top of things and allowing other people to look deep inside, essentially into my brain, which doesn’t always make a lot of sense to the outside world. The focus has been so much about the data and back end of the business and I am very ready to admit this is not my strongest area. I’m the creative one, I want to be creative again!

I have battled with many feelings over the last months, fear for the future, joy that I have such wonderful customers, who have been so supportive and encouraging, stress, because at my busiest, in full lockdown, when I could only open the online shop for 12 – 24hrs a week and would receive an amazing amount of orders in that time, despite the positives of this, how fortunate I was to be in that situation, when others have not been able to adapt their businesses sufficiently/ quickly enough to the needs of an online outlet, during this I felt very alone. Overwhelmed by it all, constantly trying to catch myself up and feeling like, in order to keep one plate up, I had to let all the others come crashing down. I still haven’t picked up all of those pieces.

I don’t want to feel like that again, ever.

So I am outsourcing, I am accepting my limitations and embracing all the good things it will mean for me, my little shop, my wonderful customers and the future of Alice in Scandiland. It is still me, it’s still my ideas, imagery, words, thoughts and feelings, but logistically, behind the scenes, things will be smoother, postage options will be better, I’m going to be able to offer a faster delivery option, a cheaper option for smaller items, I’m going to be able to take a day off and recharge, I could even go on holiday and things can still function.

I hope you will see the change, see me getting back to what I do best, what I hope it is that you stick around here for – inspiration, accessible/ achievable ideas, my shop and the things that make it a bit different, my support for small businesses and the Mentor/ Instagram Creative Workshops I so enjoyed. I’d also love to expand my design work, I quietly work away with a few clients from time to time, helping them to work through their ideas for their home, bringing my insight to the mix and I really enjoy this.

Discount valid til midday 23/7 (apologies for the shortened run time, I’ve had an overwhelming response x)

In the short interim, whilst I transition over to the new system and setup, orders placed from this evening (22/07/20) will not be sent out until Thursday ish next week.

I can’t wait to move into the next chapter for the shop and see where things can take me, for someone who a little over 2 years ago had no intentions of being a shop owner, life has certainly taken me on a ride and I am so incredibly thankful I decided to jump on.


Looking back…

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Kirsten says:

    You help people with design work? That’s made my day! I will be keeping an eye out on how to get hold of you for this 😁

    1. Hahaha, thank you ♡ I’m not all that with super technical drawings and photoshopped moodboards. It’s more like having a chat with a friend who may know a few things 🤪

  2. Anna says:

    Such an exciting positive change!! Also strange, I was going to ask if you offer design services too, that will also be great!! X

    1. Thank you Anna, fingers crossed it is what I hope it will be ♡

  3. Sita says:

    This has been so inspiring to read. I own a franchise which has taken up so much of my life for the last 5 years while my children have been little. I’ve always struggled with the balance and havent really had a day off in all that time – not because because I didn’t schedule it in but because I could never stop thinking about work.
    Because it’s a franchise I also don’t have much say about the creative aspects of it which has become a real burden over the years. Lockdown meant my business really suffered but the good that came out of it was that I realised something needed to change as I spent more time with my little ones and realised how out of control I had been with my time. So I’m selling up and returning to teaching, a job I initially left because I didn’t think I could balance it with the children. It may seem like a step in the wrong direction but I’ve learnt that I want to be creative again and also have actual holidays where I won’t need to think about anything other than me and my family. Lockdown has been the hardest and also most inspiring time of my life and so much of what you wrote in this blog resonates. I realise I’ve pretty much written a blog post in response but I wanted to say good luck and it sounds like you’ve made the right decision.

    1. Hi Sita, thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond. I’m sorry you have had it so tough, it’s so hard to draw the line and create good boundaries for ourselves. It sounds like you have already set in place a very positive future for yourself and your family though. Well done. Xxx

  4. Kate says:

    I think this sounds like a great decision for you and well done for finding a way through all of those difficult moments. It takes real strength to do that and there must have been days when you just wanted to stay under the duvet! You’re an inspiration ! Very best of luck xx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Kate ♡♡

  5. Christine Nullmeyers says:

    Hi Alice,
    It’s interesting to read what you’ve been going through, because
    I too have been doing a lot of thinking about how I need to change my work life. I’ve run my shop now for almost 20 years, and although in the last 10 years or so I have been running it in collaboration with two other designer-makers, when I am manning the shop I am physically there on my own. And that is what I realise now I no longer want to have to endure: in all my working life (for the last 26 years that I have been self-employed) I have never had any work colleagues to chat to, share a joke with, arrange social occasions to look forward to. Of course I meet lots of lovely people who walk through the door of the shop, and it’s nice to have a bit of a chat, but it tends to be the same conversations over and over again and only superficial, not meaningful and beneficial to my mental well-being. And not having a partner or children I also go home to an empty house at the end of each day. So one idea I have come up with is to offer my shop premises as a pop-up shop to other designer-makers, especially young crafts people who are just starting out, and could benefit from having a showcase for their work somewhere that is well established. They would also gain an insight into what running a business is like. Making your work is one thing; selling it to the general public is quite another. I would benefit from getting to know some more like-minded creative people. I’d also like to start running some workshops myself, and also invite others to do so, but this I guess will have to be put on hold until the Coronavirus situation improves – who knows when!
    You have made a positive move with your business; when something needs to change, you are the only one who can make it happen. I look forward to visiting you again, once the busy season is over!
    Christine x

    1. Hi Christine, thank you for taking the time to read the blog post.
      I completely get what you mean about the lack of meaningful conversation. I meet some really lovely people, but it’s all just chit chat isn’t it.
      It is somewhat different for me, as I am to active on social media, so I have that interaction too, but no work nights out or a pat on the back from a team member.

      Wishing you all the best with your plans moving forward for your shop.

      Alice

  6. Nicola says:

    I don’t know how you have done it all. Congratulations, good luck and thank you for your honesty about anxiety and depression. I’m sure all your hard work will pay off.

    1. Thank you Nicola, I’m not really sure how I’m still standing at the moment, hahaha! Once I stop, I may never be able to start again!

  7. Fiona says:

    Hi Alice, I’ve followed you amd your shop for some time now and have often wondered how you managed it all on your own for so long. Well done on realising that you need help, I can imagine it’s not an easy decision to hand over some of the control but your work/life balance is more important. Long may you and your wonderful shop thrive. ♥️

    1. Thank you so much Fiona ♡♡

  8. Margaret says:

    Well done you. Alice you are making amazing choices. You’ll flourish now that you have help and time above all for yourself. We all need it to enhance our creative flare. Love your honesty.

    1. Thank you Margaret ♡

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