Taking one HUGE leap of faith! How I got here.

So yes, I have very recently taken one HUGE GIANT ENORMOUS leap of faith. I am not going to write about how easy it was or how lucky I am etc because I honestly feel like I am not even in the real world right now. What a crazy and unexpected position to be in, this wasn’t really in my plan and yet somehow life has journeyed me here and I am feeling the most happy that I have ever felt. So I wanted to touch on how I got here and why. This is partly to get some bits off my chest and be able to look back at this 2-5-10 years down the line when i’ve made it! (jOKE) But seriously this will forever be a pretty significant time in my life, regardless of what is around the corner so I need to be able to express my gratitude and give myself a pat on the back for having the faith to believe in myself and my work.

I am not sure that any blogger/influencer/instagramer would have ever said a few years ago that they could make their online platforms their jobs, I certainly had no idea that there was this other world online where people made money. My Instagram up until 2-2.5 years ago was a place that I uploaded pretty filtered pictures of our day to day life, the good the bad and the ugly all wrapped up in a pretty picture with an honest caption. There was no hashtag gift or AD. My love for shopping small had started to land me some pretty exciting direct messages, companies that I was shopping at had started to see changes in their sales whenever I tagged them or spoke about them and before long word had spread landing me a pretty prestigious title of ‘independent business ambassador’ I was being sent gifts if I liked it or not from dozens of brands that had my address from past sales. (I think this is often something people forget when they get offended by gifted posts, but brands love to work with profiles on social media because it actually works!)

Not long after this I started my blog, I could write honest reviews, share stories of motherhood, document trips and create content for businesses that wanted to work with me. It didn’t take long for me to realise that it was very hardwork, a few baby grows don’t pay the council tax bill but I felt very uncomfortable with the concept of charging smaller businesses for my time. After all I was an ‘ambassador’ how could I take money from real people like me, who just wanted to be able to work from home and spend more time with their kids. But I too was a small business, I just didn’t realise it at the time. They probably needed me more than I needed them, I was providing a service that they wanted and they would see results BUT still this way of working didn’t sit comfortable with me.

Larger brands started to approach me and this was fun, I could accept campaigns that I felt suited my life and made sense for my followers. Still there was a nagging feeling that I could do more than create content, I had built some very special relationships with brands online. I had gotten to know the face behind the products, the sons, the daughters and the meaning behind what drove them. Studying Fine Art at University meant that I could relate so badly to makers, creatives and designers, I felt lost in my own career but I could see their visions so clearly and loved to support them. I was very confused shall we say when it came to myself but I knew that my platform could be so powerful for others.

Deciding to create an event of the back of this was not something that I had thought about before, when I say it was an overnight thing it was really was an overnight thing. Its as if a light bulb had gone off and it all suddenly made sense, it was the way I could incorporate EVERYTHING I had going on. It was the creative challenge I needed, it gave brands a way to use my platform and the work involved with the planning would be a much fairer way to accept payment in exchange for my time. I just needed it to work out in real life the way it was playing out in my head! September 3rd 2017 I held my first event, a tiny room with just 23 sellers and absolutely no idea if people would be as interested in this concept as much as I was. I knew it had potential because there was nothing else like it but boy oh boy I didn't realise in just a year a so that I could be in the position I am right now, sitting at a desk in my home with no other job except being an event owner (mum & wife too, of course) It will be 2 years this Summer since the lightbulb went off, I now organise events that showcase up too 100 brands, attract thousands of parents across the UK and really do have an impact that just cant be seen on social media alone. Am I blowing my own trumpet? Yes perhaps I am but believe me its taken up until quitting my fashion job to realise that what I have created is a success. I don’t take compliments well but slowly the feedback the event is receiving is giving me the confidence to shout out loud and keep taking these leaps (that scare me but are worth it), I am for the first time in a long time, able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Being a mama fulfils me is SO many ways, If I had to give up everything for them then in a heartbeat I would but I am my own person and I have passions that run deeper than being a mum only. I feel like I have found the balance between both, its my love of being a mama that inspires my events and shaped the concept behind them but also my creative mind that plans them & styles them the way I do. I was worried at the back end of last year that perhaps It was selfish to leave a stable job with steady income, how could I take that risk when there was 2 little people involved that relied on me? But if you never try then you will never know, I hope they feel inspired by us one day, both parents that went it alone to do a job they were good at. All I know is we want to be happy and give them the best life in the process, I am about to collect them from childcare shortly. No rushing from a busy city centre, no sitting in traffic and no being the last parents that collect. For both me and Daniel its all we could ever want.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING THIS. I am so sorry I have been absent from Blogging for a while, but I am still finding my feet. I am so keen to take you on this journey with me and would love to answer any questions regarding the decisions I have made in the last few months. Theres been a reason for my silence on the blog and that is because I have been busy planning how we can move the events into different areas. I AM THRILLED TO SAY WE ARE COMING TO BIRMINGHAM with the plan to pick up another location soon. Watch this space!

Ainsley GrayComment