Are you thinking about starting your own business? Are you feeling a bit scared? We were too. Don’t know if it’s going to work. Nor did we. Don’t have enough money to start? Snap! Today I’m going to begin a regular series of posts tracing some significant moments in valentte’s history.
It’s been eight years since Justina started Valentte. We were a couple back then and lived in a shared house in London. We were crammed into a tiny bedroom with everything we owned stacked up around us. We had no money, no experience and certainly no idea how to make skincare or home fragrance.
We lived hand-to-mouth with no savings, no credit cards and no ability to borrow. Justina worked two jobs, H&M selling clothes and in a café as a barista. I had lost everything when my sandwich business went bust and was taking my first steps in the online world, building blogs — earning virtually no money.
She had always dreamed of starting a soap business. I encouraged her. She created some bath bombs at home on our kitchen table. She learned the process on YouTube. Bought the ingredients online and made her first batch. She was compulsive, obsessive and a perfectionist. Any tiny flaw resulted in the batch going in the bin. Each discarded batch was more money that we didn’t have wasted. We had no luxuries and chose to invest in the business over everything else.
She persevered and eventually had a few finished items that she decided were ready for sale. We visited the Greenwich market and nervously asked for a pitch. They agreed and let us trade a trial on Tuesday. The cost was £10. It felt like a fortune. On top of which they had given us a long list of requirements for dressing our stand, fabric, lights, point-of-sale etc. It had to look professional, or we wouldn’t be allowed back.
We scraped the money together, bought the stuff, mostly from Ikea and off she went that first day. She crossed London, on the bus and tube, carrying the stock and equipment in big, heavy blue Ikea bags over her shoulders.
I will never forget the moment midmorning when my phone rang, and she had made her first sale of £4 for a bath bomb. I have never felt such joy. I cried. I was so happy for her. It was her only sale that day. But it didn’t matter. She had started, and our journey had begun.
We had no idea where Valentte would take us, or what the future would hold. But we always believed and that’s my message to you too. If you have a dream to start something, then you must do it. Don’t wait for life or your situation to be perfect.
You will never have enough money, knowledge or whatever else you think you need. You must be brave and take the leap. When you get to the edge, your brain is always going to tell you to step back. But I say to you just jump! Long before others believe, you must believe it’s possible. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.