So today I was described as the rather grammatically dubious word, "Dadpreneur". I guess it's fairly obvious what this means as the words Dad and entrepreneur have been unceremoniously squashed together in some kind of English-French head-to-head (or is that a tête-à-tête?). The result sounds a bit "merde" to me but I suppose it is fairly self-explanatory.
Apparently I am one. My wife and I started our business Vida Vida, nearly 11 years ago now. Vida Vida is a leather accessories brand designed by us and made in our Fair Trade workshops in India. Our products range from leather laptop bags, satchels, handbags, travel bags, travel accessories and in fact pretty much anything that can be made in . leather.
Then, 5 years ago, we had our first boy, Herbie, and 2 years ago, our second, Reggie, came to join our family party. I instantly fell in love with my boys and my role as a Dad - serious responsibility for someone who had shirked it all his life (apart from when I was 12 and randomly found myself as head boy of my school, although how I came to this position is still a mystery to me and my parents).
My wife and I had always shared our input into our business and so this is how we took on our new parental roles - completely 50-50. We shared the night time feeds once they had moved onto the bottle and the night time wake-ups when they decided to cry for no obvious reason. For these night time parenting activities, having a tag team arrangement was both good and bad. It meant that we could endure more erratic sleep patterns for a longer period as there were 2 of us - if my wife had been working full time and so needing her shut eye I would have been so exhausted waking up that many times (Herbie wasn't the best sleeper) that I would have had to use "tough love".
As it was, we weren't tough at all, but managed to get through it somehow. (On this subject a special mention should go to all those Mums (and occasionally Dads) who have to do all the wake-ups on their lonesome with 1, 2 or even 3 kids - I have no idea how you do it)!
I wasn't very money orientated before having kids - this may sound strange but I floated around working at fashion markets for the first 5 years of our business - fun being my first priority and money the second. If you look at our businesses success there is a very dramatic change when Herbie was about 1. I suddenly went into a different gear in terms of developing our products, our website and where we were selling. This kick up the bum was definitely the result of needing to feel more financially stable - you often hear of the idea of nesting - making your home ready for a new baby, but for me it was a need to stop renting the nest and to buy one of our own (which in London is no easy task as even the most basic of nests is bloody expensive!).
So, our business was expanding, our kids were expanding (upwards) and unfortunately my waist line was expanding (having kids seems to make you relax your will power in the food department). We moved to a much larger office and we were able to delegate jobs to new staff members. This provided me with another chance to really develop a deep relationship with Reggie, as I had done with Herbie. Getting to know your baby and seeing them change from one day to the next is a very special experience and I am so thankful I have been able to spend so much of my time doing the Dad thing, which I will continue to do until they decide they can take on life without needing someone there whose ready to catch them if they fall. I'll also probably be a more relaxed person again once that happens as constantly waiting to catch someone is exhausting.
I now have more time to brainstorm new ways to move the business forward. This sounds very business-like but I'm usually doing it whilst pushing a buggy. Having your own business does take time and passion if it's going to succeed but it's a fairly simple affair in comparison to the complexities of raising a child. For me, I now need both work and family time to keep me balanced and happy and I'm incredibly fortunate to be a "Dadpreneur" (though I wish someone would come up with a better word for it).
Father's Day 2017 - Dadpreneur Discount Offer
As my gift to all the dads out there, if you buy something from our Father’s Day Gift collection between now and 18 June 2017 we will give you 20% off too, just enter the code “fathersday2017” during checkout.