I am a freelance TV Producer which means I am used to having breaks between jobs. However, I wasn't prepared for being unemployed for 3 months.
Lockdown started when I was in the last two weeks of a contract. I'm usually organised and have my next job lined up, or have a planned break lined up by the end of most jobs and on this occasion I was scheduled to start an 8 month job. But unfortunately about two weeks into the lockdown that job was cancelled. I was extremely lucky as I was given an alternative which was 10 weeks long and saved my skin financially but I still faced unemployment at the end of the job.
Probably like many other people, the thing that worried me most about lockdown was just how long it would last. Whatsmore, my partner and I had just moved hundreds of miles away from family and friends and while I had always been sensible and set aside for breaks between jobs, it was only enough to get me through a month or two. As well as not knowing when the industry would be back up and running, I was also new to the area which meant I wasn't on anyone's list nevermind at the top of it!
Even though I was worried about money I tried to make the most of the situation and enjoy some time with my partner as we had been in a long distance relationship prior to our move. But when he went back to work I needed to find something to focus on. I love to be busy and not being able to work lots felt strange.
I knew I had to get creative about earning money. So I joined a network marketing company which is something I wouldn't have done before. While I don't think it's really for me I’ll keep it in my back pocket just in case I need it. After all, it's fun to do when I’m not busy! It made me think that I was joining a massive network of people that all get money from my hard work. And it's actually MUCH harder work than it seems and for what I feel is not a big enough return.
One of the things I love is sharing my photos on social media. I had a lot of photos from our travels and decided to start an Instagram page as a place I could share some of my adventures and hopefully inspire people to travel. When I started the page I asked my partner to create a logo which my family and friends loved. He's really good at drawing and did a lot during the lockdown.
I started looking into other lifestyle brands and coming up with ideas and I decided to start printing my partners drawings onto T-shirts - not a brand new idea but an idea at least. From there I decided I could actually make an income from this, but I wanted it to be more than just making money. While some people would say that spending my last remaining money on an 'idea' was silly, I wasn't ready to roll over and just live off what I had left. So I decided to set up an online shop called The Scenic Route. With help from family and friends I got it up and running in a matter of weeks. I wasn't 100% sure where we'd be going with it but I knew I wanted it to be 'eco friendly' as we were making changes at home to be more environmentally friendly, and travel related as we both loved travelling. While I had some good ideas and was definitely passionate about this it felt (and still is) all down to trial and error.
Before the lockdown I never imagined launching my own brand. I had worked in a shop as a teenager but didn't know anything about running a business. However, I now have a trademarked brand and business which is slowly but surely growing. With my loved ones support I have learnt how to build a website, profit margins, responsible design and so much about the clothing industry. The biggest thing I have learnt is that when things get tough you can either sit back and wait for storms to pass OR you can look for the small glimmers of hope and opportunity. As I always loved to be busy I had never had time to sit and think about things but the lockdown gave me this. It allowed me to think about the future and what I might want to do after my career in television.
I now run the online shop and blog from home alongside my day job in TV as the industry is now back up and running. I have always wanted something I could do myself and grow over the years, and that I could do full time when my career in TV was over. Thanks to a lot of spare time and a dwindling bank balance I have started building something that one day I hope will be so much more. I also think that having something to focus on really helped me get out of bed in the morning and keep me in a positive mindset. Don't get me wrong I still had ups and downs but it certainly helped. Without the lockdown this would not have been a reality this year or next, who knows if it would have even ever happened at all.
So please help us grow by taking The Scenic Route and help us create more of a demand for recycled materials. Since launching we have honed in on our goals and you can see where we are headed on our 'About Us' page.