How Becalmed came to be.....
Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Businesswoman.
When I look back this last 13 years I wonder quite how I managed to do it.
I now know where the deep drive came from although it had puzzled me for years. Firstly my love and passion for what I do and secondly I wanted to be independent and entirely self-sufficient.
It all started as a child when my Grandma taught me about the plants she grew alongside fruit and veg in my Grandparents Victorian walled kitchen garden. She detested Doctors unless absolutely necessary and used good old mother nature to look after her family and pets!
(Her huge Newfoundland dogs always stunk of garlic!)
I drifted through life and jobs for my first part of adulthood. I did a degree in literature, worked for cancer research for a few years then moved to France where I was Operations Manager for a holiday company. Big job. Big hours. I did well at it and enjoyed it, backpacking different countries in the spring and autumn for a month at a time each year. After a while I was frustrated with the long hours and whilst travelling around Thailand stumbled upon a scruffy cardboard sign that said “Learn Thai Massage with Baan Nit!” I spent a full week in a wooden shack running with cockroaches with an American chap and a teacher who knew no English. We learnt it all from charts and demonstrations. It was amazing and changed my life, a true 'light bulb moment.'
I then returned to Manchester to qualify (properly) in massage therapy before returning to Morzine in the French Alps and setting up a mobile massage business. It was fab, massaging holiday makers after a long day skiing or cycling/hiking. Plenty of time to myself during the day for adrenaline sports! I loved massaging and making people feel better. I felt myself.
I moved back to England after 6 years in 2007, qualified in beauty and set up Refresh Therapies in Leek, taking my couch from home to home and making people feel better.
During this time my interest in natural beauty products had grown to such that I wondered if anyone else was as worried about chemicals as I was. I launched a market stall on the indoor trestle market and sold natural soaps, natural beauty products and natural mineral makeup. It went really well. I loved helping people who struggled with their skin… eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dryness. Good old Mother Nature usually helped! As my Grandma had taught me. I loved it that my dad used to help me set up and pack away the stall every Saturday. I’d always treat him to a bacon butty as payment.
I then got a little tiny shop in Getliffes Yard in 2009 and expanded my range. I continued with mobile therapies and shop hours! Lots of work but I felt so happy doing what I loved. It didn’t feel like work.
Then I fell pregnant in march 2010. I was thrilled and scared. How would I do shop, mobile therapies and a baby? How would I carry my couch around when I was heavily pregnant? My mum told me to pull myself together and think outside the box. Her encouragement culminated in me being brave and renting a good sized shop on Stanley Street which had 2 floors above to do therapies and beauty.
So I opened Becalmed in September 2010 increased my products to include more natural beauty products including Neal's Yard Remedies and also gifts and home wares. Joe was born on Christmas Eve exactly on my due date! The best Christmas gift ever.
I had 5 weeks at home with him then carted him off to the shop with me. I had a crib at the back and a sofa to sit on and breastfeed him. I managed and my mum helped me for free so I could keep my business going. Then Sam came along in March 2012 14 months later…such joy! By this time there was a crib, a sofa and a playpen at the back of the shop. I also had a couple of lovely therapists who worked upstairs from My Calm,
(The new name for the therapies/beauty side of the business).
I worked my socks off, looked after my babies and coped. Eventually they went to nursery for a couple of days and then school. Time to go again!
In September 2016 after a huge building project I opened Becalmed and My Calm on Sheepmarket. A big beautiful shop space (Becalmed) with even more ranges on offer and My Calm therapies centre, hair & beauty and floatation at the rear of the building behind the shop.
I expanded my therapists and shop staff and was able to finally pay my mum a wage!
I continued to work really hard but always picked my kids up from school and had weekends free with them choosing to do admin at 5am for a couple of hours, or a couple of hours in the evening most days so I could really enjoy my time as a mum.
In 2018 I expanded My Calm into the 2 floors above the shop and created a clinic where I had 3 rooms to rent to other therapist businesses. My aim had always been to be able to offer something to help everyone and now I would be able to fulfil this dream!
I have a wonderful team of staff… Sophie is my assistant manager. I have Izzy (shop), Ali (shop), Lily (shop and hair), Brooke (hair), Kim (beauty), Paige (beauty and holistic therapies), Ewa (therapies), Tanya (therapies) and of course my lovely mum.
Since then I have been running the businesses, managing my lovely team of staff and trying to consolidate the businesses after the growth and investment!
I missed the boat early on with online website sales and was so busy growing the therapies/hair and beauty side of the business that I didn’t have time to do it.
This recent lockdown and Corona Virus crisis has allowed me to finally get a website up and running. In between bicycling shop orders around to local people in Leek with my kids in tow!
I’m really hoping that it will be a success and help bridge the gap in loss of shop sales. I feel that retail may never be the same again and that people need to be able to shop comfortably at home from trustworthy independent businesses and either ‘click and collect’ or have it delivered in Leek, or posted further afield.
So there you go! There are always new challenges but I love what I do so very much. I will continue to work hard and improve where I can and my kids can now process stock, price it and merchandise it. Also they help me get orders ready for delivery and sometimes just scoot around the shop on the stools with roller feet! It makes my heart sing and my head throb!