T-shirts and baby-food: starting an organic t-shirt business whilst on maternity leave

Baby toes setting up t-shirt business

When I met SPUK founder, James, in the Summer of 2016 and I learnt that he owned a t-shirt business which was barely ticking along, my first reaction was ‘a t-shirt business? that’s so friggin’ cool’ followed closely by ‘you gotto get it up and running again!’

Little did I know that two years later I would be on maternity leave with our first child and relaunching the business, nor did I really have any idea what that, (well either of those things!) would entail.

Once we were up and running again it would involve a daily trip to the post office to send out t-shirt orders and the odd Instagram post, easy peasy right, everyone seems to be running online businesses from home nowadays.

The reality of the last few months has been a shed load of work; from building our website to finding new designers and getting my head around complicated print runs, dealing with our suppliers to sewing on labels in time for a photo shoot the next day. And all during my baby’s naps times or once she’d gone to bed and dinner was in the oven.

Then there was the being-your-own-boss dream v reality. It’s been both liberating, and to my surprise, scary. This is all on me, on just the two of us. Whether or not it fails or succeeds is down to us. With my background in TV producing I thought it would be a doddle, and it’s definitely helped for sure. But throw into the mix sleepless nights and a baby who needs your full attention and suddenly completing the simplest task (still) feels like climbing a mountain.

Running an online t-shirt business today means you have to be a: producer, web designer, artist, accountant, photographer, social media guru, and the list goes on… It took 3 months to get up and running and now we are there and the work hasn’t stopped, but every t-shirt sold makes it all worthwhile. As with all sales jobs, the moment you sell a t-shirt, you give yourself a little high five and then work towards selling the next one.

James and I have many hopes, goals and dreams for where SPUK will take us, but as of last week I have gone back to my freelance job for the first time in 9 months, commuting from Brighton to London. James is on full-time daddy day care. So for now, we will be juggling many balls in the air, including and not least, our second baby, Second Perspective.

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