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Spreadsheets are BAE*
Oh Friday night, how you’ve changed! I’m in bed with a cup of redbush tea as I write this. Elsa is singing ‘Let it Go’ on repeat faintly from the babies’ room and I’m a little on edge because in the back of my mind one of them may wake up at any moment, demanding comfort and putting an end to my evening’s work. That being said, this is a winning situation. I’m making progress. Did I mention they’re both asleep?
I started Mummy’s Muse for many reasons, one of which was I’ve had a desire for a long time to build something. Where there was nothing, I wanted to make something – it stemmed from a desire to create. I actually remember taking up baking for the same reason during my second year of uni, but my flatmate and I used to eat the cakes in 24 hours leading me to pack that hobby in. I had lots of business ideas in my head during my 20s, but none that I really loved. They never ticked the boxes when it came to what I was willing to spend all my days – and some nights – doing. When I had the idea for Mummy’s Muse, I saw so much potential for me to work with and explore things I love. I could work with little people, I could work with colour, design, aesthetics. My job could include searching far and wide for visual inspiration, travel, I could manage people eventually and try and impact lives positively in that way as well as with the products I sold. I knew there would obviously be finance and analytical work involved, but with an economics degree and a day to day job in media, these things didn’t put me off.
See how I wrote that paragraph all the exciting creative stuff came first, front and centre and I tagged on a little bit about finance and analytics? They should be flipped to reflect my reality. What I’ve discovered is that no matter how creative I think my business is – or I want it to be – my spreadsheets have become the most important component. This business will live or die (obvs rooting for life and plenty of it) by the numbers on the spreadsheets. I do wonder again if this is one of those obvious statements that has just become so apparent to me as the process has evolved.
And let me tell you, there’s no use compiling spreadsheets that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. You need cold, hard, spreadsheets – the ones that account for every cost…not sheets that conveniently hide the costs you don’t want to think about. If it is more than £0.00 you better find a way to ‘insert row below’ and account for it. While these sheets can be hard to look at and make peace with, they help resolve a multitude of decisions. If the numbers don’t work, it’s time to become creative and bring them down or sometimes it means it’s a big, fat no to a certain. It’s also about accounting for all the costs on a per garment basis. There’s no point thinking your profitable selling garments at a higher cost than you’ve spent to make them, but you’ve just excluded the cost of marketing from your calculations.
I see many more spreadsheets in my future, but I think it’s important from the jump to get comfortable with them and understand they play an integral role in the business, no matter how creative you want to be. I’ve always worked in jobs where an ambidextrous brain is required and I wanted to run a business where I could work both sides of my brain to the max. The spreadsheets and analytics are doing a great job at working out the right.
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