• Sarah Callaway

5 Surprising Experiences as Young Business Owners

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

It's coming up to our 2-year anniversary running House of Callaway, so Mike and I thought we'd share some of our most interesting or surprising experiences during the last two years. We hope you continue to enjoy watching our journey as much as we love experiencing it with you all <3

1. Attending the Entrepreneur Wales Awards 2016 and brushing shoulder to shoulder with multi-millionaires. "Ah yes, last year our turnover was just shy of 3.2 million" said a well-spoken man to my right. To my left was a lady in a ball gown discussing a deal she'd just drawn up with numerous other countries. I stood in awe, completely starstruck that me, a 20-year-old woman with a business only paying enough at the time to buy a few drinks on a night out was standing amongst such successful people. My dress was something I'd found in a Jane Norman bargain bin and I'd be taking the last train home to my (at the time) university dorm at the end of the night. I was even alone that night - we'd only been given 1 free ticket and we couldn't afford the £120 it would have costed to bring Mike with me. I didn't win anything during the awards but left with a new perspective - life isn't all about the money you make, it's about doing what you love and providing the best for your customers, even if it won't ever make you millions. 


2. The day the articles came out. Mike and I were sitting bored in a university IT room. It was 4pm on 10th October 2016, the sky was already darkening, and we'd had enough of trying to finish our coursework for the day. I pulled out my phone to see 28 notifications and a load of emails with even more pouring in. I opened Facebook to see my face all over news sites. Friends were tagging me while strangers were congratulating us on the business. I read the first article I saw - Mail Online - and thought to myself that, even though it set the tone of what Mike and I had been through in a negative light, I was so proud that they'd published it. It gave attention to an otherwise taboo topic and brought the spotlight onto reducing waste in more ways than just using a reusable drinking bottle. It was such a shock to have been published in all the main news sources since we'd been told it was only going as far as a women's magazine!

3. The times we've almost gone on TV. At House of Callaway, we've been contacted a few times about going on TV. One of the two most notable times was when we were contacted by ITN to feature in a documentary about business owners on benefits. We politely explained that we did not fit the citeria of this documentary as we were not on benefits (rather, funded for living costs by student loans while at university). The other time was when a gentleman from S4C to be part of their evening news show after RCT council agreed to fund sanitary products in schools. I was filmed straight after finishing work that day (embarrassingly, there was no time to tidy the house and it was the day before a major planned cleaning/tidying day). Unfortunately, the tape never aired due to some breaking news that occurred that overtook the entire news story they had planned.

4. Balancing work and House of Callaway. Mike and I both work 37 hours a week each in other jobs outside of House of Callaway. Mike and I work for the same place - we both enjoy our jobs and are happy with the stability they give us. Many people have asked how we manage to do both but, for us, it means the world to us to make people happy so HoC has never really felt like 'work' to us.

5. The way it’s changed the way I view myself. Before I started the business, I was only just beginning my journey with cloth pads. I used to hate my period with a passion and thought it was a complete nuisance. I only appreciated it because it brought me comfort that my contraceptive pill was working each month (which I later learned was all in my mind - withdrawal bleeds from pills are not true periods). Cloth pads gave me the comfort I needed physically after suffering with rashes for years of my menstruating life as well as provided the level of acceptance and respect I now have for my body and its functions. Menstruation, ovulation and all that comes in between are normal body functions rather than things to shun, shame and spend life hating.

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