Rowena’s #ialso Story

Running my own business I find it hard to capture all of what I do in a simple job title.

Owner’ sounds like I swan about letting everybody else do the work. I don’t like ‘Managing Director’ because it sounds like I’m the head of a large organisation, but I’m proud to be small. ‘Founder’ has connotations of still being in start-up mode or once established a ‘personality’ or overseer?

How do I sum up everything that I do?

It can be difficult to convey to someone who doesn’t run their own business what my work entails. When you are every department head and their junior all rolled into one it becomes too much for some people to comprehend. I say, “I come up with new marketing strategies, I also take the tea towels home to clean.” People don’t comprehend the everything in between.

In January I came back to work after an extended break. I had loads of energy, I’d been inspired by a meeting with a mentor and I couldn’t wait to get started. I jumped right in not thinking twice. It wasn’t until February that I paused and reflected on what I had just achieved.

Not only did I run my business getting “all the usual things” done and keep it going during a particularly difficult period for retail. Within a 14 day period #Ialso:

  • Attended 2 UK trade shows
  • Reported on 2017 figures
  • Reviewed 2017 with each member of staff and forward planned new activity
  • Cash flow projection for 2018
  • Created new business strategy for 2018
  • Travelled to Berlin where I
  • Attended 2 trade shows in a day and
  • Travelled half ay across the city for a runway show
  • Met with potential lead for a concession
  • Formulated proposal for concession and opened negotiations
  • Designed and pattern cut 6 new garments
  • Put 2 new products into production
  • Created and activated pre-orders on 2 key products
  • Ran a marketing event at a London museum and handled all the promotional assets pre and post
  • Negotiated a collaboration with an artist and formulated a license ready to sign
  • My full timer who has been with me five years quit and I didn’t melt down
  • I supported that staff member in her decision to travel and pursue personal ambitions
  • I advertised, shortlisted and began interviewing
  • I managed my other staff members to ensure they didn’t also quit
  • I delegated key marketing activity but remained actively managing it
  • Met with prospective loan provider
  • Met with the bank to discuss access to investment
  • Organised 2 hen parties to happen in the next 10 days
  • Caught up on 4 months worth of bookkeeping
  • Confirmed end of year accounts with accountant

All of that was within the latter two weeks of January.

It’s not unusual to have bursts of productivity, we all do, but for the person running their own business needing to deal with this amount of stuff in any two week period is not that unusual, it’s just a matter of how much can we get done at any given time. There’s rarely anyone we can delegate to, if it doesn’t get done the buck stops with us. It’s our own business so we have personal investment, certainly emotional and probably financial in making it succeed.

I run my small business. I also grow the business. I’m doing that by pivoting to the design and manufacture of my own range of clothing at Revival Retro (not just re-selling other brands). Who is doing all the work on that new aspect of the business?  It’s me. I also design the garments. I also source the fabrics. I also find the skilled freelancers, the factories and the information I need to make this happen.

I might not be able to articulate a job title that sums up everything I do but I know that as an entrepreneur, I enjoy the challenges and as a female entrepreneur, I am glad to share my successes, fears and failures to educate and inspire others.


Rowena Howie, Revival Retro

Visit The Revival Retro Boutique Mon-Sat 11am to 7pm..

30 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JL

Telephone +44 207 636 8922

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