Why I Decided to Open My Own Shop

I just wanted to make a blog about why I began this journey. Just to tell you a little bit more about me.

I have experience in the retail industry working as a Till Operator at Wyevale Garden Centre and have been to many craft and Christmas fairs since I was 18 years old – selling things I’ve made and my grandmothers cosmetic products which she makes from beeswax. These I can honestly say, have been some of the most enjoyable experiences of the last five years. One of the most memorable being when I went with Nan to The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Builth Wells. It was busy, exciting and a sort of hard work that I didn’t mind at all. The passion to sell and make my customers happy has always been important to me. 

But the last five years have also been the toughest for me. I found myself in the Caring industry as I struggled for money and had no real goals at 19. I worked hard, enjoyed helping our clients with their needs and took pride in what I did. But after a few years of back breaking slog and difficulties with employers, I was no longer happy. I took a career change and became a ward clerk – something different to get that enjoyment back. Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple, I just wasn’t in the right place. So stepping back, I really looked at myself – asked myself “Where was I happy?” 

Well, that’s when I remembered about my retail experience. I would never have left the Garden Centre if they were able to give me full time work. But I knew I couldn’t just go to a supermarket and start stacking shelves. I have skills and experience that I need to use. I thought I’d start a business selling wool and yarn but I didn’t see myself being able to leave the hospital with just that. I don’t have my own flock and it would take me many years to build up to a point I could have. Although I still want to have my own flock one day and fulfil my creative goals, I needed to find something I could really make a difference with. I needed a Thing, something to be proud of.

That lead me one to my other passions – sustainability and the environment. I’ve been telling anyone who would listen for the past year that I want to build a house out of straw. I’ve been looking into composting toilets, solar panels and turf roofs. Anything and everything to do with eco friendly living and sustainability. Although I’m, and my partner, are a few years off being able to afford our own bit of land and building the house – I’ve been trying to live up to my future goals as best I can. Simply by walking to work, turning off things that don’t need to be on, buying from sustainable sources and buying free range and local. I’ve never dropped litter, I occasionally find myself picking up rubbish from the beach and we’ve always had our own chickens for eggs. 

Like many people, I’ve always enjoyed a documentary with David Attenborough narrating. So like many of us did back in 2017, I sat down to watch Blue Planet 2 with the rest of the country. I didn’t expect it to completely change the way I looked at my feeble attempts to stay environmentally friendly and at the waste I was creating from just everyday life. I immediately began looking at how I could change this for the better. As I detailed in my previous blog – I stopped buying shampoo and conditioner bottles, bought a metal safety razor, invested in some beeswax wraps and made a habit of saying no to plastic cutlery and other disposables. 

What I couldn’t do was completely cut out plastic from my food shop. It was near impossible. Fruit and veg was easy as Chris Thomas & Son sells a wide variety of loose produce just down the road from me. But everything else? Plastic – everywhere. I said to myself many times as I wandered around supermarkets “If only we had a zero waste shop in Carmarthen,” Then it would be easier, right?

Right. 

I saw my first Zero Waste shop in Narberth. I was so excited by the find – it was perfect. I loved everything about it and I went away with a stronger desire for there to be one in Carmarthen. That’s when my passion for retail and my passion for the environment collided. I had my Thing. This is what I was meant to do. 

Then it was just a matter of how. How was I going to do my Thing?

One of the first things I did was look for help. I contacted Business Wales so put me in touch with Big Ideas – an organisation that helps young people set up their business with lots of extra support and events. I’ve met my advisor, been to a business workshop and even a networking event – which was great fun and very positive. They’ve given me so much support and guidance. 

Now, I’m figuring out my budget, writing my business plan, looking into crowdfunding and searching for the perfect place to set up. I’m always thinking of what I could do next and how I’m going to best serve you, my future customer.

I honestly cant wait for the next step in this journey. Even the smallest details fill me with excitement and I sometimes have to rein it in so I can actually get work done. You’ll have to forgive me if you ever catch me doing a little dance. 😉


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