On this day in 2019, after our amazing launch party, *slightly* hungover at 12pm, we pressed the live button on our website. I will never forget the feeling of seeing our first ever orders come through and the love received the days leading and after the launch.
Our poster for our amazing launch party on 11.04.19.
A room full of people at the launch party.
The past year has been a year of so many ups, so many learnings, so many beautiful clothes, so many new friendships and relationships and a fair few downs. I have learnt so much about business in the past year, but most importantly I have learnt a lot about myself. I have made many business decisions that I would make again and I have made a couple I would rethink next time round.
Being a small business with limited resources, most weeks I have a huge list of problems to solve and a long list of barriers to knock down in order to move froward and for my vision to come to fruition. Some days/weeks, feel like as soon as 1 is knocked down, another 5 pop up. But as I have come to realise, with challenge comes creativity and if you want something bad enough, you will look at every possible route, in every possible angle and find a way to get what you want.
Our first press feature on I Love Manchester. Such a proud and 'pinch me' moment.
One of the biggest things I have faced is self-doubt. Your mental well-being takes work. You can convince yourself of some horrible things and at times you feel like you should just give up because you aren't good enough. But with every devil on the shoulder, there's an angel on the other and mine is more resilient, stronger and a little bit stubborn which beats any negativity in every single aspect. And so, I will never give up and I will continue to work as hard/harder than before.
On a day-to-day basis I work alone, which when you go from a very social, big, lively, fast-paced office (I miss you all) it can have a massive effect on you. I'm sure many of you are feeling it at the minute due to COVID-19 changing up our working days, but I have been doing that for a year with my only face-to-face connections through a working day being when I order a coffee at a coffee shop or when I have a meeting (which I always thoroughly look forward to and try to spend a lot of time networking). But when you have a scrambled head full of SO many ideas that it feels like your head is going to explode, and no one to bounce them off, it gets very overwhelming.
This has taught me that my support network is stronger and more beautiful and kind then I ever knew, and I have also learnt that sometimes those who you think support you, don’t really support you. When you are tackling a dream that isn't going to come easy and takes a lot of sacrifice, you need a different kind of support, so massive thank you to everyone who has been really there for me.
Josh and I after our first day of having a live website and seeing our first orders come through. We were very tired by this point.
I have learnt a lot about sacrifices. Including having to sell the most beautiful vintage pieces I will probably never find anything like again...but it has to be done for business. I have been so poor, unable to buy new clothes (my joy in life), unable to do little things like get my nails done, buy new makeup when it runs out etc. and I have dragged my hunny Josh down with me and I will never be able to repay you (well hopefully one day soon) but you already know, that none of this would have been possible without you and that really is priceless.
But aside from the sacrifices, I have gained so, so much. Including freedom. I am able to manage my own precious time as well as the freedom to manage my own ideas and creativity. I have gained the start of a beautiful wardrobe (with so much more to come) and I am gaining a gorgeous Wild fan group. I feel like I have had my energy levels topped up and I'm raring to go every day. I am living my dream. Just the thought of what I am working towards is amazing!
One of the greatest feelings is seeing someone wearing your piece and absolutely loving it. The process to create a collection can be long and this is usually where the hurdles pop up rapidly, so seeing it finally come to life and have people fall in love with a dress or a top or whatever it might be is unbelievable!
The gorgeous Maddie wearing the Jagger Animal Print Dress.
I have learnt that EVERYTHING costs money, and when you are trying to make beautiful clothes, with no compromise on style, fabric or embellishment and then you need to shoot it and then market it on socials, and then store it and package it, it can become very expensive, very quickly. Never mind the time spent on one dress which isn’t included in the price other wise we’d be in the luxury market. So a million thank yous to every single person who has placed an order. It feels so bloody good and I definitely do a massive dance when they come through.
There are weeks where I work 40 hours in a weekend, before Monday has even come, and the working days don't end till 2/3am but then there are days where I lose my head and end up being very unproductive and have to set myself a small goal of one task to completely to keep myself going. I am at my happiest when I am busy working away (apart from when I’m on a tropical island beach drinking mojitos). But it is all part of the process, which sometimes I forget and get myself all worked up about when 'success' doesn't happen over night.
Model, Tara Griffin, wearing the Joni Print Maxi Dress at the premier of Good Omens.
I have been inundated with messages over the year from people telling me how I've inspired them and that means everything to me. I never really thought about what I was doing at the time, when I quit my job, as inspiring because it was just something that I wanted so badly and I couldn't go on being unhappy any more. But if I can inspire one person to find their happiness, then that is amazing!
Another highlight of this year has definitely been having our first festival season being able to wear our collection. Did you read our last blog about our fave festival memories?
When I made my decision to hand my notice in at work, after I had taken all advice from my family & boyfriend (which was JUST DO IT!) I still took 2 weeks going back and forth on all the pros, cons and risks. And although the risks list was pretty long, nothing could outweigh the pros. And now, a year into having an operating business, I can say, it was the best decision I have ever made.
Our second press piece in Northbound Magazine.
Since starting The Wild, I have been more creative and more loving in everything I do and I appreciate EVERYTHING so much more. I wake up in the morning full of excitement for the day, with loads of new ideas and then end up finding it hard to sleep due to thinking about how I can make everything happen as soon as possible. Or some nights its due to worry and frustration when no ones placed an order that day, or an Instagram post that in total would have taken me hours to produce only got 45 likes.
It really is hard to put into words everything I have experienced this year and I am sad that we are unable to celebrate the way we had wanted but I am SO excited for our future and everything that is to come. I promise to make each collection with love and compassion and I cannot wait for you all to see what is in the works! I hope you will all join me for a celebration once this is all over.
Harriet and I for our first press photoshoot - looking forward to many more of these to come together.
The past year would not have been the same without some of my favourite people in the world. Thank you so much to all my family and friends that always believe in me, you have helped me get through when times have been tough, I hope I am making you proud. Thank you to my Mum for dropping everything to come help me pack orders, when I stupidly agreed to look after a dog on the opening week of The Wild, which turned out to be the craziest dog in the world (I needed the money okay?).Thank you to Harriet Castle for starting this journey with me and supporting me at every step, and for being the bestest friend, always there for me, always believing in me and always offering to buy me a glass/bottle of wine when times are tough. Thank you to my amazing bestie Amelia Drogan for photographing our first photoshoot and making everything come to life. I am so excited for our next shoot together and the many more in the years to come. Thank you to the gorgeous Francesca Tomasso for being ever so beautiful, inside and out, and for modelling our collections and make them look fire! Thank you to Betty Rowbotham for designing our amazing logo that I decided we needed at the very last minute. Thank you to Laura Morris for being the first order to come through and for supporting me constantly throughout the past 12 months, your love has kept me going more than you know. And thank you to Josh Elliott for absolutely everything - you have taught me so much and given me opportunities I never imagined.
Now cheers to the next year, and the many more to come!