Leaving your full time job and waving goodbye to a stable salary is one of the most terrifying things anyone can do. Ali Gibbons of Lou and Belle shares her experience of taking that major leap and why there’s no such thing as a work/life balance.
Lou and Belle is Ireland’s newest luxury gifting boutique for babies and children. Stocking a range of baby clothing, interiors, toys and keepsakes, Lou and Belle pride themselves on their unusual selection of gifts guaranteed to create surprise and delight for their recipients.
I have always wanted to have my own business, my Dad has his own business and I always liked the idea of creating my own brand. Upon returning to my corporate job after my second daughter Stella, and the pressures that brings, I knew it was time to make the move to start up on my own.
My business may only be seven weeks old but I’m enjoying the challenge. I am very much still at the beginning and the biggest challenge is wearing so many different hats everyday from marketing, to customer service, to picking and packing to finance etc. etc. Every day is very different and there is certainly never a dull moment.
There are many difficulties with starting your own business but being a mum has helped me so much. There is a massive desire from other women to support women. This has been so encouraging to be surrounded by people who are willing to help and give you the hand up you need at the beginning to establish the business. It reminds you that people will always be there to help, to inspire and to encourage.
I think it's important we empower girls from a young age and tell them that they can do anything. I would always encourage my daughters to pursue their passions and dreams.
I'll always tell them to hang onto the things that make you happy as a child and keep them with you as you grow up. As a child I also wanted my own shop but lost that dream as I grew up, I am so grateful I have found it again and acted on it.
We should always encourage our kids to follow their dreams, but it can be incredibly daunting as an adult. Quitting my job and giving up my salary has been a major move and as a family we have made huge financial sacrifices to do this, but we have gained so much, I get to be at home with my daughters whilst trying to build a business.
Having a supportive family (especially grandparents) that can step in and support has been crucial for me. It's not a perfect situation but I am so glad we’ve taken the leap to try it.
The perfect work/life balance is a unicorn…it doesn’t exist. It's all about trying to have some time in the week for family time and time for you.