The road for Where Inspiration Blooms hasn't always been easy. We started our business back in the summer of 2018 (2 mums with 6 kids between us!) and for the first 18 months we focused on getting it established and trying to spread the word about all of our workshops and courses. There was many a workshop filled with friends to keep numbers looking good and not alarm our new community of teachers.
Fast forward to the October of 2019 and we were on a roll, every class was selling out and at last the promise of paying ourselves minimum wage looked possible.
All was heading in the right direction and we had hearts full of the promise of a successful business. Then on 5th March 2020 all sales stopped. Covid. Refunds that wiped us out completely (we had previously managed one month of salary on £250 each!). No government support as we hadn't been trading long enough. We were devastated.
As some of you will know we popped up with mini festivals when we could during lockdown breaks and we managed to get through, reopening fully in January this year. The worst was over and we were already rebuilding our business and very quickly returning to the previous levels of workshop sales... all was well... or so we thought.
In mid February the water at The Barn, our beloved home, was cut off. We were advised by our landlord that there was a dispute over a water bill and that it was unlikely the water would be turned back on soon. We sourced a water bowser, as many of your will have seen..a big ugly blue tank on the side of the building...but a necessary evil for us to keep on trading. We 'kept on swimming, kept on swimming' and for a period of time felt relatively safe. Then in May the electricity went off...mid-class. We were advised by a very sympathetic sheriff of the court wielding loads of official papers that this was due to an unpaid bill for an amount that made our eyes water... and we knew at that point our time at The Barn was doomed.
Our regular guests will know that we had plans to move to a local farm but we needed to raise some grants to complete building work and refurbishments. Once the electricity went off and we were faced with the immediate crisis of having to find a new venue asap we knew that dream would need to go on hold. Neither of us have the energy or willpower to take on a major project right now. The owner of the farm is one of the loveliest women you will ever meet, she understood, she helped us with a plan that will mean we can go there in a year or so...she even gave Jules some herbal medicine to stop her sobbing!
We are both completely and utterly shattered, quite broken emotionally and very much in need of some time to recover, to lick our wounds, to spend time with our families, to get Jules' blood pressure below medically acceptable levels! Running a business is hard, we always knew it would be and neither of us ever shy away from hard work...but the amount we have had to deal with in the last 2 years has taken its toll.
And so a wonderful calm and amazingly positive vicar called Ruth has come to our rescue. She literally has been our guardian angel... she heard of our plight via social media and offered us her parish's church for Bucks Art Week and the annex to the Holmer Green Church Centre for our business. A timely miracle some may say...
And so... off to Holmer Green we go. To a space that we both already knew, to a location that when we first met was less than a 5 minute walk from both of our houses... fate? irony? who knows!
The Studio, as it will now be known, is not The Barn... we won't have acres of land to manage, we won't have deer munching our beautiful flowers...but we will have an authentic Caroline-designed space in which to create, to warmly welcome you back, with delicious home made cakes and locally solar-power roasted coffee and we will have a space to heal from our journey. One of the founding mantras of our business has been healing and nourishing through the arts, craft and nature and The Studio will give us all of that.
So finally a thank you from us both, for sticking with us and supporting us over the last 2 yeas with your amazing messages and offers of help. If we had a pound for every kind message or offer of help we'd have earned a heck of a lot more than we have running workshops. This little community is a really good one, you guys are really kind and we both very much hope you will come to the new Studio so that we can welcome you with open arms (and no drama) once again xx