Turquoise Flamingo will turn 5 years old tomorrow. I opened my online store in 2010 on the 1st of January. It was that winter when it snowed heavily for about two weeks and that very first day, I sold dresses to two customers in Cork. I remember jumping around like a lunatic when the emails came through and the best part about that for me was the fact that they were names I didn't know, just random customers purchasing from my shop. I was awfully excited. In the months that followed, sales were slow and having an online store on my own platform was quite tough to get traffic, unlike Etsy or Ebay. But I ploughed on anyway.
By September 2010 I had a plan to open a store in the city and nothing was going to stop me. Not lack of funds, knowledge or hangers. And so, in just one week in December I transformed a little unit on Washington Street into my own little vintage haven. Needless to say, I was awfully excited yet again.
The shop stayed open for just over two years but it was clear to me that no matter how well I did and what little projects I had going on the side, I was never going to beat the bill paying and make a realistic living from it. And a girl's gotta eat, especially with a little baby on the way so I decided to close up and move back online.
This time though, I chose Etsy. And I haven't looked back since. Etsy helps you out in terms of traffic and therefore sales so along with a loyal following from Cork, my store has grown quite a lot and 5 years on, I send parcels to countries all over the world as well as just down the road on a weekly basis.
This blog over the years has become a place where I've shared my business ups, downs and ideas and I've always loved nattering away on this space. When I moved my store back online in early 2013, I decided to become a little more personal with my blog. Sharing photos and stories has always come easy to me anyway and having a cute little girl to show off was even more of a reason to get personal here. Family holidays, Nancy's milestones, outfit posts, DIY projects and Oh Me, Oh My DIY! workshops have been mainly the posts I've shared and a few times I got a bit deep and meaningful, whether you liked it or not!
I've always strived to make this place one that was colourful, creative and inspiring and tried very hard to keep away from negativity. This past year, there has been a lot more media coverage on mental health and I liked seeing more people openly talk about things like depression and anxiety online and in person. Especially Irish people, because we're just generally more private when it comes to these subjects and if there's one thing that really helps a person going though a difficult time, it's talking about it.
So here goes. 2013 and 2014 have been great years for Turquoise Flamingo but the past two years or so I have not been so great mentally. Just a few short months ago, I got to the point where I was having panic attacks every few days and just keeping quiet about it. While writing a lovely, upbeat blog post one day, my mother called around while Nancy was napping and after a few minutes into our conversation, I just broke down and told her I was suffering from depression and anxiety. The very minute I said those words to her, I felt that little bit better. I had been in this difficult place a good few years ago too but this time, it felt a lot harder. So along with the help of my doctor and my family I have been taking steps towards helping myself feel better everyday. It's a slow process and one that can't be hurried. Just like physical health, you work at it all the time.
I'm sitting here now on New Year's Eve and little Nancy is in the room next to me playing with Louis after our dinner. We're visiting my family before staying at a friend's house later to ring in the new year. I've spent the past week meeting old and new friends and at midnight tonight I can say Happy New Year to loved ones and wish my small business a happy 5 year anniversary. Life is really good.
Sometimes, I just need to step back, breathe and try to take it in as best I can.
People recommend you make a five year plan for your business, I didn't do that back in 2010 and I'm not going to make one right now either. Turquoise Flamingo has grown with me and I've grown because of Turquoise Flamingo. I just have my own five year plan - to be happy, grateful, loving and honest.
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy & Successful New Year.