One year on from closing my business, did I do the right thing?

Shutting down my start up.jpg

It honestly feels like a lifetime ago. 

Shutting down Canesmith & Co, telling everyone about it, making a cameo appearance in the Guardian.  I remember that bit of it more than I remember the feeling of running my own business.  I guess that’s because it’s not really one feeling, it’s so many feelings all running along simultaneously.  Panic.  Pride.  Worry.  Frustration.  Anger.  Happiness.  Exhaustion.  Financial satisfaction.  And looking at that list of feelings, I guess the balance between all of those was just wrong for me.  The good wasn’t outweighing the bad.  

I think I’ve moved on now. 

I’ve returned part-time to the city, I’m blogging a bit (having had a momentary lull for (ahem) five months this year, helping out a couple of other start-ups with branding and ‘stuff’ and I’m doing more of the things that I find fulfilling - spending time with my kids, exercising, writing.  I’ve even started getting rid of some of the evidence Canesmith & Co ever existed.  

Things which have gone:

  • The online presence - website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • Equipment - pans, lollipop moulds
  • Admin - bank accounts, accountants, tax issues
  • A sugar mountain

Things I’m still clinging on to

  • The domain name & my email address
  • Press coverage 
  • Some labels - god knows why - but you never know?
  • Tissue paper with Canesmith & Co branding (this will never be useful but it’s so pretty)
  • So many boxes it’s untrue
Shutting down my start up.jpg

When will I get rid of the remaining artefacts?  It feels still like the archeology of my life, that I should have some remnants, some memories of what I created as it’s unlikely to live on anywhere else.  So for now at least, they remain in the garage.  

I also don’t really think about the business very often. 

I’ve only made caramel twice in the past year.  I don’t miss the emotional rollercoaster at all.  The things I actually miss are more ego-inflating, like:

  • Securing a new stockist
  • Press coverage
  • Creating a new product
  • People loving my sweets
  • My friends saying ‘Isn’t it going well?’

But there are many more things I truly don’t miss, including:

  • Distributors being arseholes 
  • Caramel burns
  • The label graveyard 
  • Cleaning caramel pans
  • Pretending to my friends that it was going well.

So no regrets about shutting my business. 

I did the right thing for me - and for my start-up.  Premium caramels and so on have not become the next peanut butter (though I did see some in M&S the other day and my heart skipped a beat).  My only regrets are about setting up the business properly in the first place (manufacturing!).  But I gave it a go, and for that I’m quite proud of myself.  For all of you on that start-up journey - give yourself a little moment to congratulate yourself on actually giving it a try.  And if you know someone who needs some randomly branded tissue paper, do let me know.