Photo taken from Crafty Nomad website

Escaping events management to launch a sustainable business.

Lucy’s Startup Story

Lucy escaped events management to launch Crafty Nomad (a startup focused on upcycling corporate merchandise) while freelancing as a massage therapist. Here she shares her story of starting up…

I have been an events manager working in-house for law firms for past 12 years, constantly fighting the system, trying to escape on a number of occasions. I was miserable in my corporate role for a good 5 years — probably all along if I really reflect on the past 12 years. I was unhappy, frustrated, unfulfilled, trapped, and very aware that there was more to life than the life I was leading. I wanted to use my passions & creativity, which I didn’t have the freedom to do in my corporate job.

The biggest thing stopping me from making change was fear; fear of how to pay the bills and pay back some debt from travelling; fear of which idea to pursue (I had so many); fear of what others would think: would my partner be supportive of my choice?

After numerous escape attempts (massage diploma, quit corporate job to go travelling etc) on a beach in the Philippines, everything fell into place. I was discussing my ideal job and came up with the idea of Crafty Nomad — a platform to promote upcycled gifts from around the globe. I always had a love of all things crafty and love to see how creative people can be with their natural resources or even waste and can turn it into something beautiful — I wanted to surround myself with these products and help promote the communities that produced them. The next day I signed up to the Startup Tribe. I was still in a well paid corporate job so could do this alongside paying off debt, and it was a new year so the perfect time to explore new ideas and keep moving forward.

I think I spent the first few sessions just nodding in agreement to everything anyone said and often felt the urge to whoop… Finally I was in a room with like minded people who got me, who all had the same outlook and drive to let go and try something new — it was a really great feeling.

By doing the programme alongside work I was able to pay off the debt I had accumulated from travelling, meaning that by August I will need much less income with no debt to cover. Instead of worrying about which idea to focus on I am doing a bit of each — will try to massage at various Escape or Startup events, will work part-time at an events company to cover the rent and bills, and then as soon as I am no longer employed by the law firm (in a few months!) I will push Crafty Nomad.

Since finishing the Tribe I have handed in my notice, set up Crafty Nomad Ltd, arranged to feature in an exhibition brochure that will be seen by 800 event buyers, and have secured a repeat order in the pipeline for corporate merchandise, as the first batch were such a hit.

In amongst all of this, the hardest part has been getting out of my corporate job and dealing with the effects of having worked in such a damaging and negative environment. It affects your confidence so much, which is the one thing you really need if you are going to set up a business. You need to keep very strong and surround yourself with positive people, which is why the Tribe is so powerful.

I know now that fear is natural; it’s only by embracing it that we progress. I have to tell myself time and time again not to even engage in corporate job offers, and give myself the time and space to try this alternative route and let it evolve: always pushing through the discomfort.

If you’re looking for seated chair massages at events, interested in hearing more about Crafty Nomad, or eager to learn more about her Escape story, Lucy would love to hear from you. Get in touch with her through her website, Crafty Nomad.

The Startup Tribe is a learning-by-doing community experience that will teach you how to build a startup. This is your entrepreneurial apprenticeship. It’s not about building a rocket ship overnight, it’s about developing a powerful new toolkit, network and mindset to help you identify and execute exciting opportunities over the next few years as you transition into entrepreneurship.

For more details on the programme and how you can apply to join our next intake, click here.