Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Where did that come from?

You know how some days nothing happens, at all, and that’s ok? And some days nothing happens, and you’ve been trying to make something happen, and that’s not ok? And other days, the stuff you’ve been working towards happens, and that’s great? Today was a sort of, ‘oh crap, another day of panic and muddles and I don’t know what to do-ness’ which has become, ‘oh crap, how did all THAT happen?!’

It’s been ages since I wrote, and that’s been because I’ve been madly busy, and then after I was busy, I was cold, desperate and hiding under the duvet.  This is a hard, hard job, and setting it up in my cold, cold house has been very tough for the last month or so.  The project was really stuck. I feel as though I’ve achieved nothing much over the last few weeks, but in reality, a lot has happened. whomadeyourpants? now has a bank account. The first chunk of the grant we were awarded last year by the Co-operative Fund has arrived, and I have finally been paid (mortgage company, thank you for not kicking me out yet, thank you).  Two trademarks have been applied for. Donations are coming in via the website. The competition for designs is up and running ( If you know anyone who can design pants, please direct them to http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/compy.html) We are registered as an employer, so I am now an employee again, and today, almost by accident, it would appear that I have found some premises.

Working in my house has been really hard. The heating has been busted for ages, (Mister Plumber came today, and the house is currently hot hot hot – fingers crossed the fix works), so I’ve been wearing gloves, two or three pairs of socks, boots, and four or five layers under my hoodie, plus whatever trousers or skirt I have managed to get over my injured knee (I took a tumble on New Years Day and it’s still healing) and still been cold. It’s really hard to focus on work when you’re worried about pipes freezing and your breath is visible. And when the garden is just outside the door, and is a mess. And when the internet connection keeps dropping out. Procrastination and hiding under the duvet become ever so appealing. So anyway, I was getting into a right muddle, and decided that I’d take a few days off and just think about what was going on and see if any solutions presented themselves.

One idea I had was that I needed a workspace away from home. I’ve masses of paperwork and nowhere decent to store it or access it – it’s all in a box under the stairs. And I’ve no desk, so everything has to be packed away at the end of the day and then set out again in the morning, which becomes massively frustrating when you set everything up to find the internet has died – again. It occurred to me that some sort of business incubator might be good. There was one where I used to work at the University of Southampton.It was called SETsquared, and was a big open plan room with about 25 desks, that start up businesses could rent a desk in. They shared faxes, photocopiers, admin support and meeting rooms etc, but it means they had somewhere low cost to use as a base.

I rang around a few places, and it was suggested I contact one particular one. I won’t name them in case it all falls through but one place near here said they didn’t do incubation space, but they were interested in the pants project, and they would be interested in talking about  the business as a whole locating there, and if I liked that idea, and could commit to a reasonable period of renting, how would a few months free use of an office be to start?

After the feather knocked me down and I picked myself up, I went to see them yesterday. The premises are ace. They are right in the heart of the area the women whomadeyourpants? aims to work with are. Other social enterprises/charities/mental health/translation service organisations are in the same building. There’s a giant roller shutter to the area we are looking at. It’s secure but we can go in 24 hours a day. The service charge includes two handy men and their screwdrivers and building skills.

I came away feeling hesitant. It might sound strange, but even though I quit my job to do this, which some people might think was insane, I’m quite risk averse, and I like to have time to think about big decisions. All I was looking for was a desk somewhere not my house, for now, and I explicitly was not looking for premises – I had timetabled that in for a few months time, after a planning (ie – ‘let’s separate the urgent from the not urgent and work out a critical path’) meeting with the tremendously sensible and supportive Robert from Wessex Partnerships. And I tend to believe that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  So I faffed, and wondered, and worried.

Then today, I had a meeting with one of my mentors, the splendid Roopa from the local Enterprise Gateway. I did a massive brain dump of everything that has been stopping me from moving the project on, and she, like the angel she is, helped me see a way through it.  Among other things, we talked about the premises, and the more we talked, the more I realised I was never going to find anywhere like this again. There couldn’t be more than one place like this, in this place.  So I came home, and called the people, and we have a verbal agreement that I will gratefully take their offer of a vacant office for free,  and as and when we are in a position to set up, we will set up there. And the lovely Roopa has already promised me a plant for my office.

Right now, I have a lovely feeling of achievement, and for once I am going to relish it. I know it’s easy to notice the bad stuff and not the good, and so I am going to make an effort. I could sit here and worry that things will fall through, but it looks good and so I’m going to take the advice of (I think, but I might be mistaken) Marilla from Anne of Green Gables, and not borrow trouble ahead of time.

whomadeyourpants (nearly) has a home! And my home is warm!

Hooray!

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6 Responses

  1. John Goodwin says:

    Hurrah excellent news 🙂 Congrats!!

  2. John Goodwin says:

    Hurrah! Great news 🙂

  3. Hex says:

    Hi Becky!

    Way to go – what an achievement; you’ve deserved it after all the hard work!

    Hxxxx

  4. Mr Stuff says:

    Wahey, some good news for you and your pants and glad to hear your heating is back on (hopefully forever this time)

  5. pharmcat says:

    Some days you have to accept that shit happens. And other days you have to accept that wonderful, unexpected stuff happens. Accept and enjoy, you deserve it 🙂

  6. sabine says:

    hi Becky
    your website link seems to be broken. Is there any other way I could buy from your company?

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