There is a part of me that truly believes there should be a special place in heaven for those of us who have watched a business we adore crumble to bits before our tear-filled eyes. A business is a child, a garden, a family. It is at once the most devastating and most glorious kind of love affair: a thief, an enemy, a mother, a muse and a best friend. It is all of these things and above all else it is a living, breathing physical manifestion of our most creative selves, which is why when it falls apart, when it splinters, shatters or merely fades to nothing, it spikes the very heart of who we are, or else who we believe ourselves to be.
Two days ago, Rachel Ashwell told the world, via her lovely blog, that Shabby Chic, the business she has nurtured and adored for twenty years is in the process of filing for File Eleven Bankruptcy Protection.
The post is astonishing in it’s honesty, in it’s every hope filled paragraph, in it’s very humanity, and in the sense of family Rachel has imbued in every sentence. It hurts to read, because those of us who know what it is to lose a business, can read in her dear bravado, the bewilderment, the shock of having her baby harnessed by goodness knows what and forces beyond her control, and indeed the guilt it is only natural to feel, when something we have nurtured wholeheartedly, fails regardless.
But those of us who have lost businesses also know that it isn’t the end. That business failure is merely opportunity dressed in the grey suit of administration. It is never the end, and always a beautiful new beginning, a chance to make all those thing happen that once seemed impossible, because the true spirit of a business, big or small, whichever direction it is forced to take, exists not in unfiled tax returns, but in the heart of it’s visionary.
Rachel Ashwell is nothing, if she is not a visionary. This is just a turn in the road. And she is right to believe that endurance is what is required now. That and hugs from her babbas, and support from a community of women rooting for her and the company that shaped our aesthetic.
Love you Honey. Chin up.x