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Half Year Review

Another week of incredible sun and warmth! It’s lasting more than usual, so let’s enjoy it while it’s here. If you read last week’s blog you already know that this week Mauda turns 6 months. In fact – the anniversary is today, hence why the blog is a bit earlier. I can’t believe how quickly time went by and how much has happened, even though most times I feel like I haven’t done everything I needed to do. A half year review is therefore a good exercise to reflect back on what happened. Given you’ve been supporting us for this long (thank you!) we want to share our half-year review with you. Here goes.

The thumbs up!

Launch in January

The aim was to launch mid-January. However, the realistic expectation was to do it no more than one month after finishing my previous job. Goal achieved, despite lockdown and the inability to do a proper launch with guests and media around. The doors were open to customers! What more could I ask for?

Make it British

A career change is great, but support is essential. Mainly when that support comes from industry experts. A few days into launching, we submitted a membership application to Make It British which was very promptly reviewed and accepted. We are delighted to be part of this great “family” of business owners working to retain knowledge and manufacture in the UK. Their support has been incredible!

The first professional photo shoot

Lockdown restrictions made it very difficult to do pretty much everything we were used to doing on a day-to-day basis. Despite the challenges, Able Model Management came to the rescue and arranged an outdoor photo shoot for our Summer collection with beautiful Maria. The weather wasn’t as warm back then, but kudos to Maria who wasn’t put off by it.

Scottish Design Exchange

June 17th marked the launch of our collection in a physical shop! And not just anywhere, but right in the centre of Edinburgh, at 51 George Street. We’re fortunate to share our physical “home” with a number of great artists from across Scotland. It’s the Scottish Design Exchange 6th Anniversary this Saturday (31st July) and Mauda will be there with sketchbooks, thread and needle and of course our collection showcasing what we love doing. Come see us there! A nice event and special offers await you!

Great British Entrepreneur Awards shortlist

We are honoured to be finalists in the Fashion & Beauty Entrepreneur of the Year category at the 2021 Great British Entrepreneur Awards for the Scotland & Northern Ireland region. This was a highlight in our journey and we’re looking forward to the finals in September!

In the media

Mauda certainly has gained media attention since its launch. We were featured in The Collective Mag, Conscious Being, Gramersi and even managed to get a live interview with BBC Radio Scotland on July 1st!

The new customers and followers

The support of family, friends and acquaintances is invaluable when starting a new business. However, there’s a special je ne sais quoi when you start getting orders and seeing new followers you don’t recognise, not just from the UK but overseas as well. It gets even more special when you’re in a Meet the Makers event and someone takes the opportunity to come meet you face-to-face!! I can’t even try to describe how amazing it is to find out your brand is supported beyond what you thought the “real” network was. I’m extremely thankful for everyone’s support.

The blog

I missed one week of blog writing due to work pressure ahead of the Scottish Design Exchange launch, but back on track since. A number of other business owners praise me for the regularity and for keep doing it, but the reality is: I love it! When you do something you enjoy, it doesn’t feel like work. The blog has also done wonders for Mauda’s SEO. Why is SEO important? Because that’s helps people find you online. And BBC Radio Scotland certainly did. A simple search with a few key words and we were being interviewed by them.

The People

Changing career paths means breaking with the circles you used to interact with. Think how many hours you spend working vs free time. Hours spent with colleagues vs hours spent with family and friends. Your work colleagues spend more time with you than anyone else, so if you’re no longer there… Networking events were great to help meet new people. With virtual meetings being the “new normal” it was even easier to get into networking events across the country. Not bad at all. I met some amazing individuals. Some supported me with business aspects I wasn’t close to (a big thank you to Brendan Walsh). Others co-hosted events on preparing for the face-to-face post-lockdown (Gin Lalli and Eloise Neeson). Everyone helped me somehow and I’m grateful to have been “allowed” in their own circles.

The thumbs down!

Faduma’s Fellowship

This is such a great project! We were approached after one of our videos caught their attention and they recommended us to apply for the fellowship. It was great meeting the team and finding out about the project. We never made it to the shortlist though, but look forward to seeing the final collection. And will of course continue to do our best for adaptive fashion as we have so far.

Covid restrictions

The pandemic impacted everyone. We didn’t have the massive launch party we wanted at Le Di Vin, although we may need to make up for that at some point in the future! We’ve also struggled to arrange some of the face-to-face events we hoped we could have to showcase our products in an interactive manner. We’re keeping this one in the plan for when restrictions are fully gone.

We’re not selling at John Lewis, Selfridges or Harrods… yet!

I know, I know… it’s only six months, but still. Dreaming is free! 😊

The learnings

As a former Incident and Recovery Manager nothing is done without a lessons learned session. Apologies to anyone who reads the blog as a distraction and this terminology takes you back into work mode, but it’s a needed part of this review.

Priority is a subjective concept

It’s difficult to see beyond the reality we’re living in, under the “guidelines” we know so well. Sometimes the priority is to take a step back and assess what benefit that “priority” will actually produce. Is it really that relevant that you have to stop everything you’re doing? Take a break and come back with a fresh outlook on your priorities. You’ll be positively surprised at the outcome.

Not everything may be worth it, but you definitely are!

Fear of the unknown is a natural human reaction. Is it worth the risk? You’ll never know until you try it! True, you don’t know if something will succeed as you’d expect. However, you are worthy of the opportunity. It’s not so much about anything being worth it, but rather you making it worth it. Remember: no one wanted or needed smartphones, until the iPhone. That’s it really. Allow yourself to take risks and make things happen.

Challenges are great for growth

Sounds a bit cliché, but the truth is that challenges will force you to re-think what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Most times you’ll discover a new way of doing things. You find things about yourself and your ability to overcome adversity that you wouldn’t know otherwise.

It’s ok to ask for help

Plain and simple. Reach out to the ones around you and also the ones you don’t know via social media groups.  People love to help and won’t turn you down. Well, a few might, but the majority won’t!

I eat better at home

After so long eating home cooked meals my body has struggled to process restaurant food. Shame as I do enjoy the experience, but our bodies are the best judges of quality we can rely on and mine is telling me not to go back to old habits.

Don’t cut your own hair at home

Unless of course, you’re trained and good at it. I’m not!

Pheww… I thought this was going to be short and sweet and it turned out to be anything but short. I look forward to seeing what the next six months hold for Mauda. Hopefully, with you still around to support us. Thanks a million! Don’t forget this is the last week of Disability Pride Month. That doesn’t mean we should stop raising awareness on disability from the 31st. We should definitely continue to raise awareness, educate ourselves and help inform others. Mainly learning from the ones who know best and on that note check out the links below. Now onto a very tempting task: eating the cake and sipping a glass of fizz!

Disability podcasts:

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