As a teenager…
I was a hustler. I lost my mom when I was really young and my lifelong coping strategy has been to keep busy. I went to school – held summer and Saturday jobs in a number of ice cream parlours and eventually bookshops throughout High School. On top of that, I babysat, pet sat, did odd jobs for my dad and used the money to go to gigs up and down the east coast of America and eventually, to take myself to England for a summer of seeing bands.
I was really lucky to grow up in New York City when I did and I was able to enrol in all sorts of activities including workshops at the Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Academy of American Poets.
I loved music and spent the rest of my time and all of my money buying records, tapes and CDs, going to concerts and buying music mags (the British mags we bought were about 70p in the UK but $5 a pop in America – it was a pastime that I never grew out of.
I went to uni.
I dropped out of uni.
I moved across the country to San Francisco.
I enrolled in uni.
I dropped out of uni.
I worked throughout all of this.
While I still lived in New York and I volunteered for a number of music festivals and did an internship at the then coolest festival of all in New York, the New Music Seminar. I also worked at numerous coffee shops and bars.
In my early 20s I got a “real job” as a marketing assistant at a tech company in San Francisco using the experience from my internships, volunteer work and retail roles. At this point, the career paths I was to take for life to date were being established. I moved to England in 1999 and fell into ecommerce roles shortly thereafter.
In my late 20s I finally enrolled in the Open University and finished my BA. In my early 30s I enrolled on a Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa and completed that while working full time.
I’m still hustling.
I have spent the best part of the last 20 years working in digital, mostly for brands and in head office retail roles with a focus on marketing and online sales. After a career dedicated to looking at screens, I decided I needed to a break and I have been fortunate enough to build two local businesses based around my hobbies.
Ethel & Em, my baby, opened in 2019 and is a wool shoppe filled with loads of knitty and crochety goodness. Analog Shop, which I run with a partner, opened in 2021 and sells pens, notebooks and quirky stationery for scribblers like me. As well as volunteering at E2M, I also volunteer as an Enterprise Advisor at Lancaster and Morecambe College and I have just started as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University.
I like to be involved in my community and have diversified my hustling into activities where the reward is helping to enrich other people’s lives, and not just earning money to go to gigs.