What inspired me to write this blog? Well, I was thinking about International Women's day and it triggered thoughts of my journey with my own business, I felt emotional but mostly I felt very proud so I thought I'd share my story...
So where do I start? I could tell you that the seeds of my business were planted back in 2007 on my first trip to Morocco. I was in awe of this exotic country once I let the culture shock wear off. That trip really did unleash the full force of my wanderlust and equally opened me up to a wonderful style that just felt like home to me. Everything I did over the next 10 years had elements of this in it, where ever I travelled to and what I wore and where ever I made my home, there was always a touch of bohemian there. Bohemian is my happy place and so it made sense that eventually I would make it my lifestyle. (What is a bohemian lifestyle I hear you ask? I'll cover that in the next blog :))
So that's how the seeds were planted but how did the business actually begin? Ok, well this part is not so nice but I feel it's important to give the real story, the good with the bad because it proves that we can turn hardship into something positive and we can come out the other end much stronger and wiser. My business emerged from a traumatic experience that I had 3 years ago. I struck up a friendship with a Moroccan man whom I met on that first trip to Morocco through a mutual friend. We kept in touch on and off over the following 10 years and then on one of my trips to Morocco our friendship blossomed into a romance. I became pregnant but sadly I was rushed to hospital two months later, it was an ectopic pregnancy and it had ruptured. I had to have a life saving operation. Something changed in me that day and I was never quite the same again. I believe that difficult things happen to us to help us evolve and learn valuable lessons in our lives and also to try to get us on the path that is for our highest good. Once I got over the shock of what had happened to me I began to realise something very important that a) life is short and can end at any second b) life is precious and c) I needed to take control of my life. I was forced to look at my life without rose tinted glasses and I could see that I was pretty much on autopilot up to that point working extremely hard all the time in order to make other people happy. I never had much time to actually really look after myself properly and to focus on what made me happy. Looking back, I can now see I was afraid to go inside myself to find out and I used everything as a distraction from doing that. I had forgotten how to be happy and I had no idea who I was. I knew at that point things had to change. It was the biggest reality check of my life. Long story short, my relationship did not survive, it continued for another 5 months afterwards. Just before it ended while I was in Morocco, I decided to do a solo trip to Essaouira to clear my head and some how get the strength to figure out my next steps and make big changes. It was that trip that the inspiration came to me. Walking through the souk, I felt at ease, it had been the first time in a long time that I felt some peace within. I got comfort from all the textiles, colours and designs. Later that day when I was on the bus on the way back to my boyfriend's place, I was imagining myself with a shop full of bohemian homewares which included a lot of the beautiful things I had seen that day at the souk. This image filled me with joy. It was that moment I decided to set up an online store selling all things bohemian and that was were it actually started. I broke up with my boyfriend, packed my bag and flew back to London which is where I was working as an Executive Assistant. I carried on working full time in the city and in my spare time I set up that online shop and called it Bohemian Lifestyle. Don't get me wrong it was extremely hard work at first, juggling it all. There were also several more sourcing trips back to Morocco on my own and sometimes this hurt me deeply because it brought back the sadness of what I had lost but alongside this I had a strong feeling that this was helping me heal and what was coming was something that was truly meant for me and happiness was not far away and that's exactly what happened. My trauma actually gave me the strength to step out of my comfort zone, follow my intuition and live the life I was supposed to live. Of course it takes time to build a sustainable business and especially in this industry but where your intention goes that's what will grow and that is indeed what is happening now. I put my heart and soul into my little business because it means so much to me, it helped me through the dark times and it helped me see the light. Slowly but surely I am getting there. I left my full time job in London and moved back to my homeland, Ireland. Last summer I became a self employed part time Virtual Assistant to help with the bills and to give me more flexibility and time to work on my bliss, Bohemian Lifestyle.
I was nervous and very hesitant about including the full story in this blog but I feel it's important because ultimately it was these sad events in my life that gave me the courage to set up my own business doing something I love and to pursue a lifestyle that makes me truly happy. Through the process I found out who I really am and I want to inspire other people to take that leap into the unknown no matter what happens in life. Use your experiences both good and bad to always move forward and keep searching till you find what gives you joy. I hope my story helps you on your way to stepping out of your comfort zone and following your bliss. Happy Women's Day!