Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The End

Today I closed and I am feeling both proud and sad. Proud because I have a full-time job which is challenging and stretching me in an industry I never envisioned being clever enough to work in. But a big lump of sad sits on the pride. I closed the website because I have to accept the end of an era. 

My husband and I have the most splendid daughter. My neighbour uses the word splendid and it always sounds so good when she does. This may be due to a combination of her enthusiasm and accent but hearing her say it never fails to make me smile. Our daughter is splendid! For the past ten years she has been the namesake of Miss Gracie. I was a stay-at-home mum, the type who never wanted to be anything but - and my little girl is my world. 

I conjured up Miss Gracie when she was barely two. The little hair bows that suited her so perfectly, they were like a bow topping a present - the hair bows made her complete. Wearing pretty dresses, overalls or jammies she never seemed to be without a hair bow. Then came the compliments and mums asked where the hair bows were from. At the time there were few hair bows to be found in the UK shops, this was prior to the joys of Etsy and Not-on-the-High-Street, I had retail experience so it made sense to start a small business.

For the first few years of Miss Gracie my daughter and I took orders at playgroups, then the school gates and then we launched our first website. It was perfect - I was a Mumpreneur.  I met a circle of mumpreneur friends and learned the basics of marketing and social media. Our daughter grew up, her role changed from model to cartographer sticking pins in the map to see where in the World the hair bows travelled to (Australia and Japan were the furthest), to inventory manager (I like to think this aided her colour recognition and maths skills) and then she was capable of manning the till and labelling orders. She still wears the occasional hair bow but with a new found sophistication. 

Miss Gracie was something we did along side playdates, homework, Brownies, quiet afternoons, swimming lessons, birthday parties... all the things you do at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years old but not at 13. At thirteen our daughter is away from home near twelve hours a school day and my husband and I are at work. Full-time work. New schedules. A new era. 

I am sad to close Miss Gracie because it ends my era of being stay-at-home mum, my little girl being little and having those days when you wake up with a little person and wonder what shall we do today? But I am proud of us and happy. We did it. We had a wonderful time, we made new friends and we learned allot. We enter a new era, we'll do new things together and my daughter is more splendid than ever.

Over the years we named the hair bows after our pals. Thank you girls for lending us your names, your smiles for our photos and for wearing our hair bows:

Yan Yan
Mei Mei

and thank you to "Mr Gracie" who built our first website and learned more about hair bows than any grown man ever should.