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It’s been a month. At this stage of life and planning, I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but hoo, boy.

I didn’t have much momentum at the start of the month because I was still hanging with family. And then my house flooded. And then work-work became rockier than usual. So while I rationally know the month has 31 days, honestly I feel it’s had three, maybe four, useable days.


Anyone who follows creatives online knows being physically creative is probably the smallest part of what we do. It’s the creative admin (and the life admin) that gets in the way of doing what we love, and only that. And building a brand, and company, a range, is pretty much full-time outside the creative output my vision needs and my soul craves.

I honestly get the model from centuries ago of patrons. Sure you had to be male to have a patron (the exclusion of women is absolutely systemic, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not, or it’s recent), and you had to create with them in mind some of the time, but not needing to build a ‘brand’ or bootstrap your next tranche of work, and not worrying about a roof over your head sure enabled these white men to be powerfully creative.

And please don’t at me with #notallhistoricallyimportantininvertedcommaswhitemenhadpatrons. I know that. But enough did for the narrative to exist and propagate.

Because the month has been so fragmented I have spent no time at all being arty-farty. No time with pen or paintbrush in hand, whether it’s been for Ellen Elizabeth or for personal pleasure. I miss it, so I will sure it’s back on my list for February! (And yes, I have lists, even for things I like doing!)


It’s funny thinking about the experience I have through work-work and what new concepts it has introduced. And then I wonder why some of these concepts are ‘owned’ by certain industries and why there’s a mythos around them.

An example is bootstrapping. It’s a term I was unaware of until I worked in Software as a Service (SaaS). Essentially, it’s when you don’t have external funders like private equity or venture capitalists. You use sales to fund the next round of growth, and you don’t have a mega loan from a financial institution or family.

And look, I don’t want to upset the bro-boys out there with their big ideas, but dudes …. My dudes. That’s just called starting a small business. Your parents probably did something similar. And women? Women do it all the time for so many reasons.

Women around the world do it all the time because they can’t get funding.

Women around the world do it because the men with the money don’t see the value in their idea.

Women around the world do it because the people who do see the value in the idea don’t have the money.

Women around the world do it all the time because their idea is seen as a side project, something to keep them ‘busy’ while they are a stay at home mum. As if that isn’t a full time fecking job.

Women around the world do it because childcare is often so expensive returning to the workforce doesn’t make financial sense for the family.

So your ‘bootstrapping’ is just what several generations did before you and women do all the time.

They have an idea, and they know feeding their soul bringing it to life helps them.
They have an idea, and they start small.
They have an idea, and want to reach people with this idea.
They have an idea, and they launch and test and iterate and refine.
They have an idea, and figure out a way, in spite of all the obstacles, how to make it work. First small, and then with an aim to grow.

Bootstrapping isn’t a ‘tech’ approach or a ‘change the world’ approach - it’s simply a word that means you start within your means and grow within your means.

‘Bootstrapping’ as a ‘startup’ is simply starting a small business.

So yeah, I am a ‘startup’ ‘bootstrapping’ my first range and more.

It absolutely means I can’t bring all my ideas to life. It does mean I need to cull and focus and have strong attention to detail. It does mean I need to pace myself in the development phase to make sure I have a strong production phase.

It does mean I am constantly questioning whether I should look at a wholesale business more than a retail business.

It does mean I worry about return on investment and the timing of the next season. Should I be investing in shares instead of bootstrapping a label?

So amidst the maelstrom of thoughts about the type and size of business, I’ll just be here building something.

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