Thanks for popping in.
Heard the sad news that the Design House of Orla Kiely has gone into liquidation. Who? I hear you ask. Well, you may not know the name, but you will certainly recognise the designs – they’re everywhere! She is known by many as the Queen of prints…
Even our lovely Kate enjoyed the brand…
Now I don’t know the ins and outs of why the business crashed, and I will take everything I read in the papers with a pinch of salt, because let’s face it – how many journalists know how to run a business, let alone analyse the demise of one? All I know is that a successful, popular brand just sank – and took a whole lot of people down with it – not least the woman at the top: Orla Kiely. And that – particularly for a kindred businesswoman – is sobering at the very least, and frightening too. The thought alone that this could happen to Clarity ( and let’s not kid ourselves – NOBODY is bulletproof ) certainly makes me pause for thought.
So, I decided to come up to my little artroom above the garage, and spend an hour or so alone, thinking about her, about her career, about her success and the accolade she has enjoyed over the last however many years. Did you know that Orla started out as a hat designer? So out with our own hat designs, illustrated by Melanie.
I found a piece of old inky scrap which had Orla’s colours, and then I dug out the little hat stamps, together with a few poignant words from the wordchains.
I love these stamps.
So whilst we stamp …
…build our picture
and add appropriate words…
just 2 – Beauty and Strength.
then inject a little colour with brushes
and pencils, let me tell you what is going through my head.
I remember many years ago, sitting in an accountant’s office. I remember it as if it were yesterday, because he said to me, “The best thing you can do is go into voluntary liquidation”. Gulp.
I remember my response too: “What kind of a bloody solution is that? That does NOT work for me.”
And he shrugged his shoulders. I remember that so well. He didn’t give a shit.
So I got rid of that accountant, told nobody – and started pedalling harder than ever. With the help of a few good people, I worked through that nightmare, one day at a time. But WORK was the operative word. I didn’t have as much to lose as Orla, of course. But our home was on the line, and our livelihood.
I guess that situation, even though we worked our way through it and out of it, it stays with you, like a little pebble in your shoe. I don’t talk about it, but it defines me as a businesswoman, it really does. Keeps me on my toes, makes me work hard. Never want to get in that arena again.
And whilst there are no guarantees, hard work, a good team, calculated risks combined with a prudent reserve and a comparatively modest lifestyle all contribute to staying away from that cliff edge.
When I read that the staff couldn’t be paid at Orla Kiely’s company, that’s the one. That’s the death knell. When it went wrong in my world, there were only 3 of us. But even that was excruciating.
I have added OK here. Ironically, those are Orla Kiely’s initials. She doesn’t know me. We have never met and I cannot assume that things will be OK for her. My God! Look what happened to Kate Spade!
But one thing I do know for sure: it is not the event, but how you react to it which will ultimately affect you.
And I speak from experience.
Love & Hugs,