I remember my first job when I left Uni. I was working for Allen & Overy, a top city corporate law firm in their library and information department. It was a junior 9 to 5 role and I was one of 4 selected out of a couple of hundred applicants. I was pretty pleased with myself. I had just moved to London and the year was 1995. I was 21.
Roll on a few weeks and I quickly realised this was not what I wanted to do with my life. It was a real shock, commuting into London in a skirt and tights and shoes with a heel. I was very uncomfortable. I looked at all the people, all the sad faces, and I thought - ‘is this my life now?’
I couldn’t handle the 9 to 5. I felt trapped. The weekends were a treat but the feeling on Sunday night was one of doom and gloom. I thought there must be more to life than this. There must be.
Roll on a couple of years and I was lucky enough to get a small business experience in my twenties. My family started a franchise in Pierre Victoire - a French Bistro. Remember it?!
I worked with my sister and her husband as we set up and ran a restaurant in the middle of Manchester City Centre. I worked there for 2 years. I loved the job although it was the hardest thing I ever did. Talk about the need for fast learning! But I loved the independence, the creativity and the hard work that you needed for running your own business.
It was a long time until I had that small business experience again. After leaving the restaurant, I took a series of temping jobs and ended up back in the 9 to 5 grind.
Sometimes you have to do what you have to do until you can reach where you want to be. And often you don’t quite know where you want to be but you know where you don’t want to be.
I think knowing where I didn’t want to be has driven me this far. To 9 years of this small business. There have been many many times I have thought ‘this isn’t working’. I still think it now. But the thought of what I have achieved - and the alternatives - keeps me driving forward.
And the longer you continue, the more you build and the more you have to lose. I can’t imagine life without Jin Designs now. It’s a part of me. But I am aware of how temporary everything is.
If I look back to those days at the top of the building of One New Change in London, looking over St Pauls Cathedral, thinking about where my life was going, I thought those days would never end. But they do end. And here I am now. Years older. Sitting here looking at Pebbles and knowing that this is all temporary.
So hold on tightly to your Jin Designs Mugs! They won’t be here forever. Having said that, the fine bone china could well outlive us all!
Thanks for reading this and following my journey. I’m really grateful to you. Next year is an even bigger milestone. But let’s take each day as it comes. We don’t know what’s around the corner. Hopefully I will get a chance to share my 10 year thoughts with you.
Designer / Founder
2013-2022 and counting…