Loving Life, People and What Next..... 1
Every cloud has a silver lining and when I lost my premises and home to Eva's World and Cafe Be suddenly in early February I was truly devastated. I'd put blood, sweat and lots of tears into keeping it going for the benefit of the community it had brought together. I loved what it became and from the responses when it shut so did many others.
I've spent the past few months gathering my thoughts, getting my head round things, understanding my new life. No ties of going into work everyday. No constant friendly faces to keep me smiling every day. I've had to find myself a life outside of the shop and to my horror I've actually attended playgroups!
( To be honest they weren't as bad as I thought. I think I could even say I enjoyed some them)
So I've been spending lots of time with these crazies and have loved it but how have I managed with the work life balance? Am I now a 'WAHM' ? (work at home Mum for those who haven't heard this before)
Lots of people have asked what I'm doing now. ( Thank you everyone of you who has asked or sent messages, I love that you care)
I've been busy, very busy. I had loads to sort out from the sudden closure of the physical location and then I continued selling things online. I thought I'd be quiet with nothing to do but in true 'Christina' style I carried on plugging away. You've kept me very busy selling bits online still and I'm so grateful.
I haven't found it easy though, in fact I've struggled. Who is this person now? Finding myself all over again at the age of 36 is something I didn't expect to do. I'm not the party animal I used to be before children. ( she's still in there though ) I'm a Mummy and a Wife and I'm back to where I started with the business 6 years ago.
Or am I?
I've learnt a lot about business, politics, game playing and most of all about people. I've been hurt by people I would never have expected to have been hurt by but it's taught me to keep those close to you even closer. Love the ones you love even more. The people that have stood by me and kept me smiling are precious and you know who you are, I can't thank you enough.
I now think about what I've achieved and smile, it's taken me a while to be proud of what I've done. It's not about making millions, a few pennies wouldn't go a miss but it's not about the money in business for me. It's the people. It's you!
I love seeing people, supporting people, making people smile, listening to people and being there when you need me. Being a parent truly is one of the hardest jobs going and if I can help in anyway with that then that makes me happy. I know what I want to do, you have given me a reason to look at reopening. To offer a haven, a safe place, your youth centre for Mummies ( and Daddies, grandparents, careers) and to make you smile. I've found a passion and am currently undertaking a mental health qualification.
Eva's World is now a Community Interest Company and we are working behind the scenes on what that means. I'm invested in the parents of Plymouth, I'm invested in your mental health and wellbeing and I'm invested in bringing together others to support you in your parenting journey.
Sorry if I've waffled but I have to get it out of my head sometimes.......
If you feel you'd like to be involved in what's happening, give me a shout.
Christina, proud Mummy, Wife, Business Owner and happy person : )
Eva's World update...... 24
I've been asked a lot of times over the past few weeks what's happening? Have I found anywhere else yet?
So I thought I'd give you all a little update. After the very sudden closure of the shop and cafe I had to pack up in a few days. I had to let my amazing, dedicated staff know they'd be unemployed, I had to let suppliers know not to deliver again and I had to let you all know that you wouldn't be able to come into Eva's World again.
You would lose your community, your safe place, your cake, coffee and smiles, your support, your comfy pink sofa or your play space where your littlies could play and you could be a grown up for just a few minutes while you chatted with friends or drank a hot drink for once.
I haven't had much time to process it all and there was so much planned for the future for Eva's World and the community it represented . I've had very exciting meetings that were already booked in and I have more happening over the next couple of weeks. We are 'On Tour' and events will be announced shortly.
The past year at 68-70 Cornwall Street has been the hardest thing I've done in my life, I gave it everything I could, I really did. I did it for me, my family, my staff and for you. I wanted it to work, it could have worked but now things have changed.
I've had time to rethink, I've reflected on the hard lessons the last year has thrown at me and I don't want the hard work and immense knowledge that I've gained to go to waste and be in vain.
There will be lots of updates over coming weeks, I hope to be back at some point with a new improved version of what we had. I have so many big plans and hopefully with the support of the city I will get there.
What can you do to help?
For the minute I'm still trading online www.visitevasworld.co.uk please think about us if you're looking for gifts, clothing etc. Share our Facebook page, share the website, leave reviews on products you've bought and keep us ticking along.
AND.......we will be developing a business plan and need your help. Can you comment on this blog post with what Evas World and Cafe Be meant to you? Why did you like coming to us? Why do you think the city needs Eva's World? Anything you think that can make people understand that it was more than just a cafe and shop.
Finally......THANK YOU as always. It has been and I'm sure will continue to be, emotional : )
It will be worth it one day, won't it? 6
It will all be worth it one day, won't it?
I started Eva's World in 2011 and had a big decision to make last year. After building it up to a small shop in the City Centre I had to decide....do I shut up shop for good or go big?
I was pregnant at the time and Adam had proposed the previous year so we were planning a wedding too. I knew it would be hard and the risk was so much more. I'd worked self employed at Uni whilst building up Eva's World so if I needed to pay bills and the shop hadn't made enough I just bailed it out with my own money. But this time it was for real. No Uni, no other job. The shop had to work!
I stopped my Uni work which I absolutely loved doing and then decided I'd go big!! I didn't have a bank loan, I didn't have spare personal money I just had great friends and family who helped with all the hard graft to get our new shop open.
I'd done it, I'd made the decision to go big. We had a good Christmas in the shop but everything was put into getting the cafe open. I'd researched before opening but my god did things cost a lot and soon add up. Our planning application took a lot longer than expected too and not having the cafe open was putting a huge strain on the business. A shop in January having to fund the entire building was not fun. We fell behind with a few bills and I had a few 'are we going to survive' wobbles but managed to get the cafe open in February this year.
I had a small team working hard to help Cafe Be and Eva's World grow. Our customers were happy and we grew our offering by adding baby sessions in our upstairs room.
So....everyone sees people in the cafe, babies and mummies arriving for classes and happy customers posting pictures on our page showing off their beautiful Eva's World purchases. I hear comments almost daily,
"You're doing so well Christina"
"You must be so pleased with everything"
"It's fantastic what you've done here, it's just what Plymouth needs"
"It's so lovely that you offer a place for people to meet each other, you've created a wonderful community"
Don't get me wrong, I love everything that I've created but it's been and still is the hardest thing I've done in my life. I've felt physically sick every day through worry about whether I can pay the bills. Who do I pay today and who do I piss off today? A question I still have to ask myself every day. All the while hoping that my hard work will eventually pay off. It's got to right?
I try and get things done, I try and get through my to do list, I try and keep on top of everything but with a new baby and a six year old I never accomplish what I set out. I like to think I'm a good Mum and that comes first, it always will. But when I need to pay business rates, do they care that I haven't pushed the business as far as it needs to be because I cuddled my children and told them I loved them today?
I've put myself and my family through so much stress it surely has to pay off. I don't spend enough time with my Mum, my family, my friends. My husband watches a film every night while I 'try' and get work done on my phone in between feeding our new baby. He supports our family 100% and has been my sounding board, my knight in shining armour, he's fed us and paid for everything. I'm an independent woman so find it very hard to be in this situation and don't tell him enough how much I appreciate him and everything he does for us.
I question myself daily, did I make the right decision? Should I have just shut up shop? I can honestly say I don't know the answer at the moment. I know I have a great team of people in and out of work who will continue to work hard and see how far we can go. For the time being I'll keep plugging away and hope everything works out.
For anyone reading this, thank you! Thank you for reading and thank you if you have supported me or the business in any way, no matter how small. Some of you have supported me in more ways than you will ever know. You've got me through hard days, you've put a smile on my face and you've bought cake and coffee and lots of it. So thank you for keeping me going and when you buy just a little bib, a knitted octopus or dinosaur or a baby carrier be assured that you are making a difference. A difference to whether my hard work actually will be worth it one day.......
How much is in the coke bottle? 2
It's been counted and took a lot longer than we thought!
It took a few years of just popping small change in ( everything under 20p) and I have to say it's a great way of saving.
The total was £580.08!!! All going into the wedding fund for our wedding on the 12th August.
The winner is Natasha Elsley with a guess of £528.97. Please contact us to claim your price : )
Our exciting news........ 12
When I started Eva's World in 2011 Eva was a 1 year old and this photo shows how excited she was to get the business started (she is the boss after all).
I started off running Eva's World from home and attending events all over Devon and Cornwall.
I made a lot of baby gifts in the form of Baby Boucakes (baby items made into flowers and based around nappies) like this twin boy/girl cake, made to order. These will be coming back very soon too!
Then I took the plunge and got a shop in The House That Jack Built on The Barbican. I met some fantastic customers and some amazing colleagues who are now great friends : )
After a while in The House That Jack Built I decided to move into the City Centre to focus on local customers. This was a great move and because of the amazing local support and fantastic customers I have it's a pleasure to go to work each day. I opened the current shop at 146 Cornwall Street on the 1st September 2014.
It's been amazing and I've even met Mr Bloom along the way....
So....I'm nearly there and ready to share our exciting news!
Eva's World will be moving or should I say expanding? Our new premises will not only be home to a bigger Eva's World Shop but we will also be bringing you a fabulous Play Cafe where you can come along and meet friends, feed your baby and enjoy a drink and snack whilst there is somewhere safe, secure and engaging for your little ones to play.
So where is it?? We are moving to the old Ann Summers shop further up in Cornwall Street to bring you Eva's World in a more central location.
We are VERY excited about this and will keep you all updated on progress.
Leaving you with a huge THANK YOU for all of your support so far, it wouldn't be possible without you and some current photos of the new space. (I love a good before and after photo journey)
(A bit of a blurry one)