Brand HistoryTanya Whitebits

14 Dec 2018 / Journey to Self Employment

By December 14, 2018 January 31st, 2019 No Comments
Shoned Owen Founder & CEO

I was working full time in Sports Development on a community based scheme that was secondary school focused and I loved it. ​

Working with young people and seeing the difference I made to their lives was very rewarding. My job roles included targeting pupils that were not interested in Physical Education to partake in exercise, both traditional and new sports.

My strength was selling them the idea that exercise could be fun and engaging and getting them to take part. I think my persuasive nature and perseverance was something that became useful to me later on in launching Tanya Whitebits.​

Back in 2012, I attended a Professional Spray Tanning Course and by 2013 I developed my first product in the form of Professional Spray Tanning Solution. I was using it myself as tanning technician and had gained a few local stockists. I found it difficult to develop my business as I had a commitment to my full-time work and so I was juggling it all at the beginning whilst growing my stockist list gradually. Slowly but surely the testimonials, orders and customer reviews came in and in 2015 I launched my first Self Tan Bronzing Mousse.

That’s when the business started growing at a rate that I found difficult to juggle my full-time work and the business. I’ve always put pride into my job role and started to realise that I couldn’t give 100% to both ventures. This started to trouble me, and I became stressed by not performing fully for either. ​

Mistakes started to happen, from Tanya Whitebits orders being delivered to the wrong address to booking two lots of groups to one sailing session in my Sports Development role. This was the last straw and I vividly remember my husband returning home with a proposition that changed our lives.

Network She Award

My husband could see how hard I was working and that I was getting to breaking points more frequently and this troubled him immensely. He had come home to me upset because of the above fiasco and he admitted that he could no longer watch me carry on the way I was. I’d been having a few funny turns and had to visit my GP who said I was heading for a burn out if I didn’t slow down. I can safely say I’d never worked so hard as I was working full time, running a spray tanning business as a side line, managing the enquiries and bookings, then doing the procedure itself. I’d earned myself an expert reputation, it meant I was tanning 3 full nights a week after working all day.

On top of that I had the Tanya Whitebits products that I’d developed and dealing with running that additional business by supplying stockists and responding to email and order enquiries took up my evenings, lunchtimes and weekends.

My husband noticed that my spark was dimming and I remember him saying he couldn’t watch it burn out.

We spent that milestone evening planning the future developing Tanya Whitebits. The relief was instant, and I could feel a physical weight lifting off my shoulder the moment we made that decision to resign from my full time job there was no looking back. I went to my Sports Development work the following day and handed in my resignation for the job I loved, the job which I’d received national recognition as Development Officer of the Month throughout Wales, and the Job that saw me helping to set up many Community Clubs locally. I was proud to leave with that legacy but sad to leave a fantastic team but the future was exciting so it was a bitter sweet departure.

Family Photo

The reality was that I couldn’t go from full time work to self-employment immediately. My savings were in the business and there was not enough cashflow for me to take a wage, so the compromise came in finding a part time job for 2 days a week to make this transition work. I live in a very rural community and didn’t want to travel far. I decided to look for something local which meant I was able to be close to the business whilst I made my transition. ​

Tanya Whitebits Pop Up Shop

My first part time job came in the role of Receptionist at a GP’s Surgery. This job was an eye opener for someone who came from the jovial background of Sports Development with the harsh reality of working for the NHS. I have the upmost respect for people who work for the National Health Service in the most demanding roles I’ve ever come across. The staff were just wonderful, and they worked so damn hard and although I was only working 2 days a week it was hard going. It was a stepping stone for me at the time and I left that Job after 10 months as I had heard of another job at a petrol station with flexible hours. I still think NHS workers are angels. They work in the most criticised jobs in the industry but they are heroes and I have nothing but admiration for them.

So, I went from wearing a secretarial uniform to wearing steel topecap boots as a Petrol Attendant at a family run Petrol Station for two days a week. Again, grafters, and I learned some new skills whilst working there, with the boss being very flexible around my work hours allowing me to swap days for Tanya Whitebits commitments which was ideal for me at the time, however after 4 months I moved jobs again. I’d never changed jobs so much in all my life and it really made me appreciate how much I loved my Sports Development job.​

A new Health Spa was opening locally, and they had agreed to take on Tanya Whitebits as part of their product range. The Spa Manager had seen me working at the Petrol Station and offered me a role as Receptionist at the Spa. I jumped at the chance as it was in the industry that I wanted to grow my business, so it made sense. After 6 months at the Spa, I finally threw myself fully into Tanya Whitebits full time. This transition took 2 years and I’ve never looked back.

S x

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