So this blog post has taken me well over a week to try and write as 2020 has gotten off to an unexpected start here at Braw Wee and I sadly took the decision to not open the doors to our physical shop after the Christmas Holidays.
It was not our plan when we shut up on the 24th December but personal circumstances meant that I had to have a serious look at the business and what I could continue to do. It is no secret that 2019 was a difficult year for retail of all sizes, I could spend ages trying to explain why I thought it was difficult for Braw Wee - there are many many reasons that were completely out with our control. I was also trying to juggle the running of Braw Wee and the start up of Creative East End, taking on our first employees and trying to learn how to manage a team. In many ways 2019 was an incredible year of growth for Braw Wee, we had more workshop participants than ever before, launched our own product range and welcomed so many lovely people through our doors!
So why the sudden decision to close? In November, my partner - Ross - took ill and it turned out to be Endocarditis with him being hospitalised the week before Christmas and having a heart value replacement on Hogmanay. At the same time - I was physically and emotionally knackered - for the the past couple of years, I have worked relentlessly on trying to keep Braw Wee open and then for the past year setting up of Creative East End as a new business.
With Ross taking ill and me It became very clear at this time that I could no longer commit to managing the shop and Creative East End building seven days a week, and that I wanted to prioritise my family and home life again. I was suffering 'burn out' from working constant long days and under stressful conditions for the past year with no sign that it was going to get any easier. Hence, the lack of social media or general communications - I had to just stop and rest, and prioritise my personal life.
Good news is Ross is now out of hospital and making good progress, and I'm now gently getting back to work. I have moved the shop out of the Gallowgate and into a new studio space just 10 minutes away in Bridgeton, which is our next challenge to get unpacked and caught up with enquiries, orders and admin! There will be more workshops and new products in the coming few months. I hope to still have a physical presence at stalls, increase working with new designers and continue to promote other fantastic small businesses!
I'd like to thank all of the amazing customers, suppliers, staff and friends that have supported us over the past 5 years and hope you'll continue to do so while I work out a new way of working. Massive thank you to all those folk who have checked in with me while we've been closed, it is lovely to know that we have built up a supportive community!