‘I HAD JUST £1.50 IN MY POCKET’
Datsa Gaile, 48, lives in Mansfield with her two sons, Krispaps, 28, and Arturs, 25.
Taking in the abundance of wonderful trinkets on sale on the stalls at my local Christmas market in Mansfield, I was flooded with inspiration. I was creative and I’d always wanted my own business, having arrived in the UK from Latvia in 2004. My independent nature meant I didn’t want to be chained to a nine-to-five job, while still being a great role model as a single mum to my sons, Krispaps and Arturs.
‘Could I sell decorative pieces of my own?’ I thought. But it wasn’t without trepidation, as I had two failed ventures behind me already. The first, a Latvian Datsa has worked across the world, including London newspaper for expats, which, despite working on it doggedly with editors, designers and writers for four years, wasn’t a viable way of making money. The second was a women’s magazine I launched in 2013, which folded after 20 months due to the competitive market.
So, standing in that Christmas market in 2018, considering a third business attempt, was nerve-racking. Still, using the £1.50 I had in my pocket, I bought a ribbon from a shop. Back home, I ordered batteries and fairy lights online, and, experimenting, made a light-up bow and advertised it on my Facebook profile. When it sold for £5.50, I bought materials to make 100 more. They sold out, and by the end of the festive season, I’d made more than £400 profit.
In the New Year, I spotted a photo of a gold sequin wall on a Russian Instagram account. There was nothing like it in the UK, so, spurred on by my bowsuccess, I used the money I’d earnt to buy one from the Russian-based manufacturers.
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