‘A change is pretty much as good as a relaxation’, or so the proverb goes. As one who’s unwell comfy when enjoyable and at all times on the go, I can solely hope this Victorian sagacity continues to show appropriate as I embark upon the best problem of my life.
For the final 26 years, I’ve labored for John Lewis & Companions, a well-known British division retailer. Beginning within the Costume Materials division promoting paper patterns, I made my means by way of Kitchenware, Menswear, Presents, China & Glass and Womenswear at numerous ranges of administration. From the department in Studying, I superior to go workplace the place I labored for the Head of Intelligence gathering details about our rivals. All was strictly above board, however this job gave me an interesting perception into retailing. This distinctive expertise developed my enquiring thoughts and writing expertise: each report was seen and signed by the chairman of the ‘Partnership’, who was the one Companion permitted to put in writing in inexperienced ink. I moved by way of Promotions, Product Improvement and Packaging earlier than touchdown my first job as a purchaser. In that function, I used to be lucky to preside over a sequence of classes together with upholstery, presents, video games, house perfume, reward meals, hampers and, in fact, Christmas. My head advised me that I ought to stick to the enterprise till retirement*. My coronary heart muttered in disagreement, typically louder, typically softer, however by no means emphatic. When a sweeping restructure was introduced in January, my function was made redundant. My coronary heart lastly discovered its voice. With a bit reassurance from some very smart mates, I selected to hear.
So it was that final week I left the corporate that’s stored me solvent for greater than half of my life. It might have felt like an even bigger step, had I not lived with the thought for ten months already. I used to be lucky that in my lengthy discover interval I used to be capable of make plans for the longer term. I share these with you now, since you and this weblog have performed an enormous half in forming them.
I began writing The Pissed off Gardener in 2012, simply previous to the Olympic Video games in London. It was meant to be an exploration of social media, an escape from work and an journey into the world of gardens and gardening. I had misplaced a piece/life stability and any sense of price past being a ‘Companion’. My diploma in Panorama Administration was already sixteen years previous and I felt disconnected from my past love, gardening. The undertaking labored and shortly I had a clue about writing and speaking. My backyard fuelled my writing and my writing fulled my gardening, leading to a physique of labor far higher than I had ever imagined. I began to wonder if my weblog may result in one thing and, positive sufficient, it did. I gained followers and located myself in magazines and on the tv. To this point, so good. Then got here an allotment, my superb companion John (aka The Beau) and, lastly, a chance to alter the course of my profession. It didn’t take lengthy to resolve what to do.
I’ve at all times felt that backyard retailing is missing one thing, particularly within the on-line house. Many web sites push instruments, seeds and crops at these within the know with little or no steerage for these much less educated or assured. Recommendation and inspiration are usually accessed by way of books and these days social media. There’s loads of info on the market, a few of it good, a few of it missing, however, not often is the product and know-how introduced collectively in a single place. With my new enterprise, Dan Cooper Backyard, I wish to appropriate that by lining up the perfect backyard merchandise and accompanying them with knowledgeable recommendation and interesting inspiration. All of us have an excessive amount of stuff and too little time to be shopping for badly and feeling our means ahead at the hours of darkness. I hope that by way of Dan Cooper Backyard I can do all of the onerous work for my clients, giving them the time to get pleasure from their gardens as a lot as I get pleasure from mine. And I’d wish to deliver a bit little bit of my aptitude and love of color to the topic too: life’s too quick to be impartial. I wish to create an excellent useful resource for backyard lovers that’s helpful, lovely, accountable and reliable, one thing I consider will probably be distinctive and interesting.
If all goes to plan, dancoopergarden.com will launch in early spring with content material solely, adopted by a completely transactional launch a month or so later. The dimensions I’m reaching for is not going to occur in a single day. Content material takes a very long time to create (guess what I’ll be doing for the following three months) and like many start-ups, I’ll be funding the undertaking myself. The prospect is thrilling and terrifying in equal measure; there’s nothing fairly as motivating or sobering as understanding you might be bankrupt in twelve months. Thankfully, I’ve the assist of my household and mates, together with the terribly gifted Marianne Majerus who took the images featured on this publish (offered in excessive decision in order that they are often absolutely appreciated) and Lewie Evans who continues to work on the model identification for each Dan Cooper Backyard and The Pissed off Gardener. Right here’s a sneak peek:
So, what is going to develop into of The Pissed off Gardener? Worry not, it should proceed, alongside the identical traces that it does now. The weblog will probably be getting a makeover when Dan Cooper Backyard launches and there will probably be clear hyperlinks between the 2 web sites. Nonetheless, The Pissed off Gardener will at all times stay an unbiased and private endeavour, reflecting me, my backyard and my views. Importantly, it is not going to be used to advertise my enterprise, preserved as a spot for me to replicate, enlighten and infrequently let off steam: I think about there could also be just a few ups and downs to share within the months forward! The Beau will proceed to publish alongside me at any time when he has the time.
Though I’m solely 4 days into the job, I’ve a powerful sense that these Victorians had some extent. I don’t really feel the necessity for a vacation and I get up each morning raring to go. I really feel happier and extra motivated than I’ve in years. The boss is a little bit of a slave-driver, however I solely have myself responsible for that.
In case you have any feedback or suggestions on my plans, I’d love so that you can go away a remark. In any case, I hope I can persuade a very good variety of you to be my clients sooner or later quickly 😉 TFG.
*a few of it’s possible you’ll recall Mission Dahlia, which was my plan to journey all over the world visiting and writing about gardens. This could have shaped a part of my ‘Lengthy Go away’, a profit awarded to Companions with over 25 years’ service. Companions’ jobs are stored open and they’re paid absolutely for six months while taking day out to recharge their batteries. As a result of pandemic, I used to be unable to avail myself of this reward, so it kinds a part of my redundancy bundle. In flip, it should fund my fledgling enterprise. Maybe sooner or later, if I’m profitable, I can resurrect Mission Dahlia and take The Beau on the journey of a lifetime.