Rosie had, as she says herself, her dream job working as a Footwear Designer for twenty years; ‘There are very few jobs where you can travel the world, shop the world and draw pretty pictures for a living, so that was really lovely!’ Rosie ended up as Design Director for that company, working with a team of six designers, doing what she really loved best. When her husband, Phill, received the offer of a new job in Amsterdam, this was the point where things began to change. Rosie and her husband, with their young son and daughter decided to give it a shot, move to Amsterdam and try out ‘A European experience.’
Phill was to start working for MEXX, the fashion company similar to Zara and Mango, becoming their Head of Marketing. ‘We moved over there in the last week of July, and started finding our feet in the school holidays with my daughter starting school at the end of August.’ – And then the unthinkable happened. Rosie’s husband suffered from a serious stroke which resulted in his speech and language become severely blocked, and the family returning to England after only 2 months.
Rosie and her family decided to move to Liverpool, as this is where her husband was born and grew up, and where the rest of his family still live; ‘He’s got a big family, so that support network was obviously important to us at that point in time.’ Their original plan for Amsterdam was that Phill would work and Rosie would take a break to settle their family into their new way of life, before pursuing one of her interests like upholstery and soft furnishings to bring some income in, but not be the main bread-winner as she had been previously.
Now that so much had changed, there were many choices to be made, and at first one of self-employment and starting a business seemed the right thing for Rosie and her family. Rosie came to The Women’s Organisation to gain support and advice in starting up her new business venture; Social Media Mama, which would provide Social Media Marketing support and training for small businesses and sole traders.
But yet another twist was to happen in Rosie’s year … as she prepared to get started with Social Media Mama, in which she would be supported by Phill, the marketing expert, a new opportunity arose here in Liverpool. Rosie found a job in Footwear Design! ‘I was very fortunate to find out that the footwear brand, Hotter, were considering advertising for a Designer and that the Design Director, Ian Spedding, was actually my very first boss from my first Footwear Design job at Hush Puppies – he employed me exactly 20 years ago when I was straight out of university, and did so again this summer!’
Hotter’s Head Office is based at their factory site in Skelmersdale, which manufactures more pairs of shoes per year than any other shoe maker. Hotter now have 70 stores around the UK and a huge catalogue and website business in the UK, America and Germany, and Rosie is delighted to have found something so perfect for her, so close to her new home here in Liverpool! ‘It’s a really exciting challenge for me to work for a brand like this, using my existing 20 years footwear experience and skills but learning new areas of manufacture and target market and styling at the same time.’
At the moment, Rosie has been working for Hotter for over a month and is enjoying her time there, and one of the best parts about it is that there will be much less overseas work and travel then there was in her previous job, giving her more time to spend with her family and have a better work/life balance.
Although Social Media Mama is on hold for now, in her short time running the business, Rosie wrote a double page spread for LINK magazine, worked on a website for author Tracy Bloom and worked on the Social Media presence for Spa Rose Lane Beauty Clinic, and hopes in the future that it can make an appearance again.
Rosie says; ‘Hopefully the financial stability that this job brings for our family will allow Phill to fully access all the support that he needs to make as full a recovery as possible from his stroke. Stroke recovery is a slow and often frustrating process for the survivors as well as the surrounding family, but we are fortunate that Phill continues to show encouraging progress. My children are adjusting well to my working full-time and are forging stronger bonds with Phill again which is lovely for us all.’
Looking back at the year that Rosie and her family have had, it’s safe to say that nothing is ever certain and your whole life can change in the blink of an eye. From moving across Europe, to starting the journey of self-employment to finding your perfect job right under your nose, all the while supporting your family when they needed support most – we think Rosie is an incredible woman with an incredible story to tell, and we wish her all the best for her future…