Jessie talks about taking a risk & quitting her job to start O&S

We had a meeting last week with an inspiring & driven young woman who quit her job in finance to follow her heart - even if she wasn’t sure where it was taking her. She knew that finance wasn’t making her happy & she wanted to take time to try & find out what would - she came to us because she thought maybe floristry is her calling. 

It got me thinking about my own decisions regarding quitting jobs spontaneously (which I have now done twice!). When Chikae & I first talked about setting up a company together I was working in Leeds in a comfortable job in a florist, earning okay money but spending barely anything on rent - up int’north it’s cheap as chips to live bang in the centre of town in a 2 bed flat (oh how I miss that!).

I remember when I told my mum I was packing it all in to move to London to start my own business - at this stage we didn’t have any plan really, not even a name I don’t think, & the only thing driving me was a complete & utter excitement about the possibilities & a need for change - needless to say she was sceptical & hesitant but that spurred me on even more. I was lucky to have a lot of people to fall back on if it all went tits up - some of my family live in London, I had plenty of friends living there & if worst came to worst I could move back to Leeds & pretend nothing had happened.

We managed to spend the first 6 months developing the business - building our brand, doing photo shoots, generally playing around with flowers in the sunshine, frittering away the small loan we had secured & enjoying the freedom of being able to do whatever we liked with it. The reality of living in London kicked in about 6 months down the line - the business was not even off the ground so there was no way it could support us & I was getting tired of having no money & walking everywhere. I got a second job in a pub in the evenings & a few weeks later a third job walking dogs for two hours each morning. I was loving it - getting out into Hyde Park each morning for a brisk walk around the park with some amazing dogs, followed by flower fun all day, then off to the pub at 5pm to have a laugh pouring pints & working with some of the best people I have ever met. 

The reason I chose to have a job that would pay my rent & afford me the opportunities to see my friends & go out for dinner was so that a huuuuge pressure was lifted off the business. When you remove the pressure to earn a substantial profit than can sustain 2 employees, you really discover what it is you love about the business & what aspects you want to focus on. We spent 2 years taking on most of the jobs that came our way but then assessing what felt right, what we enjoyed & what didn’t work so we could say no the next time. We didn’t have to sacrifice anything about our style or morals as we were being motivated by our passion not money. 

Eventually, two years down the line (now!), I quit my second job at the pub. The dog walking had gone about a year earlier - walking 8 miles a day on top of working on my feet for 16 hours a day & getting up at 8am when you’d been to bed at 2am just wasn’t healthy - the one plus side was I was super skinny though so it wasn’t all bad!. 

For the past year I had been toying with the idea of quitting the pub but the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent was a very real one. I had always said that if I had 3 months to focus only on the business it would give me enough time to invest into really making the business financially viable. Well I got bored of waiting. & too excited about the possibilities. So I lept. I just thought f*%k it what have I got to lose - worst comes to the worst something always comes up - I’ll do freelance floristry or go back to pub work. I handed in my notice & have never felt better. 

That was a month ago & since then the 40 hours a week extra that I am able to put into my own business instead of someone else's have been invaluable. Sometimes it’s worth sticking out a job that you hate, maybe because the money is good & you can switch off when you get home, but most of the time the people who are the happiest & most satisfied are the people who followed their hearts not the money. Don’t get me wrong, don't be rash & quit your job on a whim because you want to make a sea turtle zoo but if you are unhappy & you don’t leave then you will always wonder what if. Make that leap. Try. What’s the worst that could happen?

- J