This week it was 7 years since we moved into our first warehouse. 7 years!
I've spent a few days remembering and I'm also celebrating! It's such a huge move and I'm so amazed and excited that we are still going, and in our third warehouse which is 4 times the size for that first space.
It's important to look back and appreciate the road you have travelled. Potholes, road bumps and the stretches of open roads with the wind in your hair!
Over the years I've had so many people ask me when we knew it was time to get a warehouse and I thought, while I'm remembering this amazing day, I'd share with you what happened for us and how it happened. Maybe it's just an interesting story to read, and maybe you will recognise yourself and it will help you when you are thinking 'is it time?'
That day we moved, I remember it like it was yesterday.
It's such a huge step in the life of a small business. As you can imagine it was scary, fun, exciting and exhausting.
But let's go back a bit..how did it happen?
Well firstly it didn't.
I remember talking to some small business friends and being really upset because I needed a warehouse but it was all too much. The rent! The idea of being out of the house all day, every day, after working from home for 3 years.
So my first bit of advice is patience.
I'm usually the first to say I have zero patience. I want it now! In this case the fear won and I didn't do anything. I was fine at home, with the garage, and two rooms, and stuff everywhere. That was until the Christmas rush!
Being a toy store, it's natural that we have a big few months leading up to Christmas. that means more deliveries, more stock, more orders going out, and more space.
After Christmas I knew I could not do another Christmas at home.
So the second bit of advice. There is a point where you know - it needs to happen.
Not that I was ever ready. I really wasn't ready. Financially or personally. We couldn't really afford the rent, my son was still little and I wanted to take him to school and be home for him. Yet I knew, we simply would not be able to continue to grow and thrive if we were stuck in these rooms... and my family might end up killing me if I didn't clear out.
I was still unsure, but the need started to outweigh the fear. Look forward, move forward. It's a small business thing - always looking for the next step.
Sometimes it is big, sometimes it is small.
And part of the cost of working from home is losing those rooms. so we factored that into the cost of the rent for our first space and the family agreed that it was well worth it!
So we looked around and found 'the cave'.
A small warehouse space at the end of a long corridor which had no windows. It was stinking hot in summer, bad lighting, low ceiling and I loved it.
Well at first I didn't love it - I wanted the bigger space with the windows, but that wasn't to be. Forward a few years and I moved into the bigger unit I had wanted. Always dream of the what you want next.
So, we became part of the Kensington Collective. The small business space a few suburbs from my house. I wish every small business had access to a place like this. Many small businesses use storage spaces which sound similar, even down to having no windows.
The reception was manned, they accepted deliveries when I left early to go to school pick up, Couriers picked up even if I wasn't there. And it was filled with amazing people. Amazing people.
It didn't hurt that it was in the most beautiful building in the world. (slight exaggeration, it really was amazing though.)
The little monkey loved visiting, and 'helping'. We had photo shoots there, I hired staff and we had a lot of room for the next Christmas which was bigger and easier with all our new space.
Then a few years later this space was too small and we moved. That's another story.
Helle owns Lucas loves cars. Working with toys since 2012, she has played with toys for a long time and is very picky about which toys make the list. Like a spoilt child, she will have a tantrum if the toy doesn't work and will play for hours if she finds it engaging and fun. Or until someone tells her it's time for lunch.