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Reluctantly left holding the baby

Everything has been going well at my store this year. The credit crunch doesn’t seem to have made it up north yet and our first transactional website goes live in four weeks.

In January, I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child (due in the middle of London Fashion Week – such poor planning). But after the initial euphoria, panic set in. How on earth will I manage both work and baby?

This is an issue that must have affected many independent owners. I am the store’s sole director/buyer and owner and, although I have the most fantastic team of eight backing me up, I have always managed a large chunk of the firm alone, including the buying and the financial stuff.

I’ve had to adapt and rely on my team more as the weeks go by. It’s been a hard lesson to learn as I’ve handed over some of my best clients to other staff. I’ve watched as they improve their sales and build a more natural rapport with the clients than I had. But the hardest part has been relinquishing control of the buying. Although I’ve been able to write the pre-collections, after this month I can no longer travel. I’ve split my spring budget four ways for different members of my team to write.

It will be interesting to see how the next few months go. It’s certainly going to be a huge period of change for my business. I am, however, hugely optimistic. My team have risen to the challenge and I am sure they will take ownership of the brands they buy. As for me, well I’m working on the fabled work/life balance. Hopefully, when I’m not so absorbed in the detail, I will be able to be more objective about how we take the business forward as a team.

Sarah Murray is the owner of designer womenswear retailer Jane Davidson in Edinburgh

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