Nice to have you here again and reading my weekly blog! My name is Brechje and I am the founder of All-time Favourites! I want to become the largest large bag brand in Europe with ATF, that is my mission, that sounds a bit ambitious, but it is true. And yes, that demands a lot from me as a female entrepreneur! What Samsonite is to suitcases, All-time Favourites should be for big tote bags. And every time I say this out loud, I think "Mr. Samsonite started small, didn't he?" But of course you don't become the greatest by yourself and that involves a lot of hard work.
This week I had my bi-weekly meeting with my business coach, Ole, again. We always go through the figures first. The numbers are always very nice at this time of year because these are the months, summer + holidays, when we sell the most tote bags. When that's done, he asks me how I am doing, what I am doing and so on.
And this is when my mood changes. Because although running ATF as an online brand seems like a walk in the park to many, it really isn't. I am completely involved in, as I call it, legal shit. The establishment of the third BV. The Dutch web shop is a standalone entity and so are the other two shops. The Spanish web shop was founded here in Spain and I now have to read and confirm articles of association, go to the notary, all things that I really don't like, especially because I have to do this alone. I am now also working on opening a German BV and very different local German rules apply to this. I really have to commit to that, buh, but hey, if I don't... well. Then nothing happens. Let me just focus on the branding, marketing and ATF collection, I often think. I never realized at the time that (female) entrepreneurship also covered this!
In Europe, when it comes to VAT and paying VAT it's different in every country. Of course my accountant knows all about this, but I am the one who also needs to know about this and implement all of this in every web shop. In Germany there is a different VAT rate than in the Netherlands and we have to set up the site and the payment of this VAT properly. And I really hate having to deal with these things. If only I had a "tax" department at ATF to whom I could report this.
And soon the first ATF baby will be born! So funny. No, it's not mine, it's a colleague's and I mention it because it means I am also dealing with maternity leave for the first time. Now the accountant knows everything about that, fortunately, too but... I have to find a replacement for 16 weeks. And there are things I can do quite well. But recruitment and selection is not really a talent of mine. I would also like to have an HR department for that at ATF!
Then I briefly mentioned the transport misery in the Far East. Because I don't know if you noticed, but this week transporting on container from China to the USA costs $20,000! For comparison, before Covid this was around €1500. Those prices are sky high and I just think: I can't afford that! How on earth are we going to do that? I would also rather run away from this and report it to the logistics department. Which we don't have.
And so this week I had the down moment a few times, asking myself "Why did I want this again?" That's when it is so nice to have a coach who puts everything into perspective and gives me the confidence that everything will be fine and that I can do it. He makes everything feel so small to me. Not small, but in the right proportion. (I tend to blow things up!). And then I calm down a bit. And that glass of wine that my partner poured for me afterwards also helped with a bit, haha!
Long story short. Yes, running your own business is often a lot of fun! And even though everything at ATF is pink, mine days are sometimes gray, or should I say anthracite. But persevering and sticking to the plan is the most important thing, and believing in yourself! Then it will automatically become pink again!
Enjoy your weekend!
P.S. This nice backpack is disappearing from the collection! Grab yours now, because they are on sale (-50%) and almost gone!