The new Joy and Joe babywearing gallery! Our background story
A saying by Abraham Lincoln goes thus ‘the best way to predict your future is to create it’.
Approximately 7 years ago, when I started my business from our family home conservatory, if anyone told me then that one day, we will be in a nice building where customers can pop in to try our products before they buy, I would have given the person another look. When I started my business, I mainly wanted to create a work life balance where I can run a small business and still be involved in the care of my children fully. I was young mum, quite bewildered with all that was going on with my children’s multiple special needs diagnosis. It was quite overwhelming and I couldn’t see myself in a typical 9 to 5 standard job because I didn’t want to miss the children’s therapy appointments and all.
So, working from home was absolutely great for us until we began to expand and we saw that the slings were taking more space in our home than we anticipated. We also wanted to separate the business and family environment. Working from home can be isolating and having to work from a professional business environment gave me a chance to enjoy that functional working environment that I felt that I missed out on when I worked from home. I have this flair for house hold chores so working from home meant that I was often distracted by the need to engage in one domestic work or the other.
So, the transition started. Our first office was situated in a regenerated textile mill in Bolton and it was a breath of fresh air. Moving to our first office massively improved how we worked, we had access to a receptionist who was able to receive our parcels from the courier companies on our behalf. We also had a professional working environment where we were able to meet with our contractors in a professional space without invading our own privacy. Plus, as a special family, we needed space in our family home for Joy and Joseph’s disability equipments. We particularly don’t want our home cluttered with baby sling stock so that the children can have an ample space to play and grow.
Not forgetting that the highly sought after documentary happened during that time so our office was an answer to our prayers, expansion wise. During that period, we noticed that we occasionally had customers phone up and ask if they could pick up their parcels from our premises rather us post to them. That way, they were able to save on shipping fees, that was the light bulb moment for our first brick and mortar store.
However, we didn’t feel prepared enough to take this leap. Fast-forward, when we bought our family home in St Helens, we later found a business premises in the bold business centre and it was just around the corner from where we lived so managing the business was a breeze.
After we started trading from our bold business centre office, we noticed that some customers pop around to ask to see Joy and Joe slings and there was an occasion where we not in the office. I can remember saying to Mayor that it will be great to have a place where anyone looking to try before they buy, can actually come around to touch and feel the products before making a decision.
We also organised our first St Helens event and that was xmas party! The event was great and we are very grateful to everyone who traveled form far and near to grace our occasion. Something struck us that day and this informed our decision to relocate our office. The internet was really slow at our previous office and no matter how we tried to rectify the internet speed, there were many times that we resorted to working from home so the office just become a storage space at the time and we didn’t want that.
Dr. Mayor who is the technical backbone of Joy and Joe just bravely made a phone call one day and I can remember him looking at me with his eyes brightened up and he said, I think I’ve found the perfect space for the Joy and Joe HQ. The space is bigger than where we are currently and also, we get to have two offices instead of one. So, from the moment we booked a tour of our proposed office space, I sensed that it was going to be a waste of creative space if we simply put desks, chairs and shelves within the two offices. So, we decided to convert one of the spaces to our new shop/boutique or gallery and then the other space will be our work space.
The beauty of this arrangement is that the bigger space is our work space so we are not under any pressure because we have a massive, comfortable space to work from. With our gallery, we love that we have a presentable space that customers can come into, roll around inside our world of woven and stretchy slings goodies, decide to buy instore if they chose or buy online or simply come over to feast their eyes on some colourful British woven slings.
This is our story about how we arrived here! The above is certainly a summary but I hope you still get the gist. Mayor recently reminded me that when we wrote down our goals for 2017, I actually put down that I will like to have a shop space where people will be welcomed to come into, to touch and try on our slings. I suddenly remembered that indeed this is an answer to our prayers. It is only the first quarter of the year and our dreams for 2017 are already coming true. Can you remember that we stated that the makeover of our stretchy wrap was also something that we also wanted to achieve? No point having a great product that cannot excite your customers when they set their eyes on it. We at Joy and Joe are the complete package and we always strive to deliver a friendly world class customer service.
I felt emotional seeing the final result of our handiwork. If like me you’ve suffered massive setbacks to your self-esteem, you will understand why this is such a big deal to us and the Joy and Joe family.
So, if you are local to St Helens/Warrington/Liverpool/Manchester, please note that you are highly welcome to pop over to see and feel any of our products in store after our opening ceremony scheduled for the Saturday, 22nd April, 12noon to 3pm. The future is here! Or should we say near ;) This new space can't be our final stop! We are still aiming to go higher. We can’t wait to welcome you to the new Joy and Joe babywearing gallery situated in the Catapult centre for creative industries.
Hello, my name is Bisi, babywearing consultant (SoB CIC), mother to two cheeky & very special kids (Joy and Joseph). Our 3rd baby has been christened Joy&Joe baby wrap slings! and we loveeee babywearing :)