Bee Veronica Moore designs fun, ethnically diverse everyday products for every child to enjoy. 

With a background in graphic design and illustration, and a passion to encourage reading, early years development and self esteem, particularly in BAME children who rarely see themselves reflected in children’s goods and products found in shops and online.

Listen in to hear Bee share:

  • Her background in writing poetry and rhyme (1:40)
  • The inspiration for Witty Dittys (2:24)
  • Her experience of not being able to find products that represented her family and why her products ensure BAME children are represented (5:40)
  • The products she sells and the importance of all children being able to see themselves on the products in their home (7:28)
  • Her Colourful Kids collection (10:17)
  • The logistics of the business (11:10)
  • How she found her supplier (13:40)
  • The importance of choosing the right people to work with (17:19)
  • How and why she held a focus group and what she learnt from it (21:05)
  • How the business got started (23:57)
  • How she launched – and one thing she wishes she’d done (30:45)
  • Some of the challenges she’s had to overcome (34:28)
  • Resuming her business, after pausing when her son was born, and what it looks like now (37:25)
  • The STEM workshops she runs for children and how this works alongside her products business (40:25)
  • How the business works around her family (43:45)
  • How her business has been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic (45:00)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (49:43)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Witty Ditty Designs website

Witty Ditty Designs on Instagram

Witty Ditty Designs on Twitter

Witty Ditty Designs on Facebook

Bee Clarke Moore on LinkedIn

LET’S CONNECT

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Work with me

Transcript
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Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast,

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Practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell

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your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, did I have a fantastic interview for you with

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Bee Veronica Moore So Bee'S story is really interesting. She

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has taken something she is passionate about and something that

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she was, you know, enjoy doing for fun and turn

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that into a business idea. So BEE Veronica Moore funds,

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a company called Witty Ditty Designs and she designed the

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products are parents. So looking for ways to improve their

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children's reading skills, their personalized, the household items are covered

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with Colourful character stories in Ryan's in printed, on items,

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such as placemats that children using the home every day.

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So her, my aim is to encourage reading earliest development

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and for some kids, self esteem. So building a self

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esteem was especially important for BAME children who rarely see

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themselves reflected in children is goods and products are found

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in shops and online.

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So our mission is to design a fund, ethnically diverse

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products for every child to enjoy. This is a fantastic

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interview and can't wait to show you if you, okay.

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So Hi B thank you so much for joining us

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today. Thank you for having me. Oh, you're welcome. And

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so do you want to just start by telling us

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about yourself, your business and what it is that you

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do?

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Yeah. So my name is Bee. If you want to

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come over here is how a system is the moniker.

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I usually use, I'm a graphic designer, creative writer, and

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the, I also illustrate and I'm from London and I'm

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married with two kids, are the steps on the air

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and the little boy, and I basically have a passion

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for writing poetry and Ryan I've done it all my

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life. And I'm, that's basically me, a graphic designer, digital

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design and creative writer. It's what I do now.

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Oh, fantastic. So you've, I'm with you to see Designs

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do you want to talk a little bit more about

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that business and sort of the products that you sell

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there?

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Yeah. So about four years ago now, or five, maybe

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five years ago. I, well, there were a couple of

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reasons that I had this set up with tos. One

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was a personal reason to do with home, something I

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have to do with him. And the other reason, why

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was I I'm as a designer, I've always, I've always

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just done stuff at home that illustrate illustrations. And as

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I say, writing poetry at home, and I used to

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sort of just write stuff that has to do with,

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for a funny little whimsical things that would happen to

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my family life.

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So I would something would happen and I would find

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it funny and ride a little rhyme about it, and

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then just shove it in the virtual online drawer, not

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really do anything with it. And the first reason that

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I stopped, when you start to think, hang on, maybe

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I could, there was a business head was when I

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was working as a full-time designer and I was working

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for a publishers and they had this scheme when you

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could go and work in schools to help men to

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children. And I love Kids. And I thought, why, what

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a great thing to do, and you can volunteer or

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a couple of days a week, one day a week.

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And I did that for three years where you basically

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kids that are having struggling, learning to read.

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They M they, you would mentor them each week and

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the term time and help them improve their reading. And

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they had all sorts of reasons for why they read.

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And it was stunted from the few things happening at

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home, or a second language or shoes or whatever, but

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I loved it. And even after I left the, the,

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the, the company that I was designing at it as

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a graphic designer, I carried on mentoring at the school

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because I enjoyed it so much. And while it was

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sad, some of these things that I'd written, what I

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discovered with them was that if you're teaching a child

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who has difficulty reading to read you, can't just slap

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a book in that hand, because it was quite, you

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know, if they find it quite difficult.

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So we were encouraged to give them, it could read

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a comic, it could be, you know, you get them

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to read unusual things so that they, it didn't feel

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like they were reading, they were playing and having fun.

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So I would bring some of my poems in, and,

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and it was a real eye opener because I know

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they loved her, which was really good if it was

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good to say that they like to, I was writing

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writing. And I know that's kind of were my first

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idea for Witty is came, came from one of the

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things that one of the, the opening's for what she

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was thinking, you know, stories don't have to be written

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on paper. They can be anywhere and everywhere. And the

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kids can access stories and illustrations and unusual ways, especially

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kids.

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You might have an issue with not necessarily wanting to

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look up a book for whatever reason. And even for

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the kids who love reading it still nice to think,

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you know, that they can do, do, do something that

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they love in a slightly on the unusual way. So

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I started to think about putting my, my rhymes and

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my poems on unusual objects, and then a secondary to

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that. My little step-son who was around six or seven

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at the time I, when I had to take to

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go out, shopping for him to buy him, do the

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covers are, or just anything Practical he needed for school

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or whatever, or not school in the seventies, because his

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mom won't do that.

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You know, the stuff that I thought you might need

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while he was with us, suddenly realized that there was

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nothing in the shops that were represented him, you know,

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were a black family. And if I wanted to go,

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he loves two heroes at the time. And if I

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wanted to know, I went out and bought him, you

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know, a Spiderman in all the usual hero's, but certainly

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made a lot of, I mean, obviously now be half

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of that concept, but back then, there was nothing, absolutely

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nothing and M that combined with the I before I

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told you about the mentoring in the schools triggered the

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idea of starting Wittys. So I started to write and

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illustrate little rhymes and poems about action heroes.

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I illustrate them and then put them on to do

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a covers And. And later on that they went from

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duvet covers to placemats and now I do mostly of

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the placemats, but that's why I had the idea for

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what you did is came from me. It was about

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fulfilling two obligations, two things I'm helping kids rate and

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helping black and minority kids see themselves reflected more. When

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they went out into, into the shops. I wanted to

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see more products, a thought if I don't see it

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on my own, I'm going to have to make it.

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Yeah, no, that makes sense. And thank you so much

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for sharing that. So you have had a quick look

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at your website and you saw quite a range of

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product now that you use, as well as the super

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hero products. So I will put a link to your

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store in the show notes for everyone listening can go

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and have a look for themselves. So, but do you

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want to just tell everyone about your products? So what

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do you say that you started to do that covers?

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So what do they covers? Umm, and they were sorta,

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I was trying to do it so that they obviously

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with a representative of BAME Kids and then I moved

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on to placemats in the place mats kind of overtaken,

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the duvet covers difficult for us is hard because of

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trying to manufacture, you know, when I did my research

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and everything is quite hard to keep costs down doing

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due, don't do that covers, whereas placemats, which was the

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same thing, you know, representing kids of all, all from

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all sectors by using rhymes and poems and illustrations on,

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do they cook on them?

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Sorry. All of them on placemats. So I do, so

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I don't do the duvet covers as much now, but

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I do do the covers. I mean, sorry in place

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mats, my socks, I'm a Christian and the cushions of

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the ma the, the three things that people seem to

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like the most. And there are all pers usually their

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personalized as well, which people liked a lot. So those

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are the three things I mostly concentrate on how the

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debate and the monks and the placemats in the cushions.

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That's fantastic. And it was really nice as you said,

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that it just gives children opportunity is to see themselves

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in the products that they have in their home because

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of the important yeah.

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Right. Absolutely. And I, and as I say, things have

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moved on now from I first or the, you know,

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the reasons I first started, which is I now have

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my other son, I have a son who is now

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six he's the age that my other son was when

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I had the, the Eureka moment. But, you know, yes,

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there are, if things have moved on slightly, as far

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as products in shops go, but not really very much

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after six or so years, it's not really changed that

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much. And it took something as we all know, something

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dreadful to happen for the, even the thought that things

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may yet change and that black and ethnic minority children

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will be represented in the future.

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I'm hoping that now that this, these kind of conversations

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of started that my products in other big, to be

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honest are the big firms who, who, who make, you

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know, accessories for school and you know, that they will

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realize a bit by bit and cards and everything now

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and realize that there's a whole market of, of kids

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out there and people not just kids that they're not

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marketing to. And I hope that they will, they will

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start to start to on my website. I basically, as

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I said, I had all this stuff just on my

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website, but I've, I've gathered it all together recently and

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made it into a collection.

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And I called the collection Colourful kids and its called

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the colorful kids collection. And basically if we could go

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straight to that collection and in there, you will find

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all sorts of homewares and kitchen ways, four children of

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color. And I want to eventually obviously ad more than,

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I mean, there were obviously it's for all kids, children

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of color are also in there because that's what was

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missing. And there was all, there is always stuff for

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a Caucasian kids. There was never anything for black kids.

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So when I also realized that I need to be

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inclusive myself and include children with disabilities. And so that's

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what I would like to do. And in the future

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is to add, add another angle to it as well.

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Not ankle, that's not the right word, but you know

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What I mean?

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And I know, I mean it could have disabilities as

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well, but yeah, some of my, my Colourful Kids collection

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is now on my, on my website for people to

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have a look through and see if there's anything on

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there and that everything is personalized. So if you, if

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there's something on there that people think, Oh, I love

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that. But my kid would not like that color because

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it's personalized and customized. I can change things.

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Okay. So do you Make every thing to order them

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on your website?

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I do. What I do is yes. So I M

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there are generic Designs so you might have a little

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sip hero kids that is just a super generic superhero

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kid. And that says everything, everything, a little boy needs

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to be a superhero. And that's how that works. That's

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been talking of a lot of them, everything I princess

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would need to be everything, a little boy with me.

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So everything, a little girl would need to be a

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princess or everything. A little boy, it would need to

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be a dragon. Now everything, a little boy, it would

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need to be a dinosaur. So there are those that

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are really generic, but I also do one where it's

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the name replaces little boy and little girl. So everything

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Thomas needs to be a, and they're quite popular.

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I've done quite a few of those for different things.

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Okay. So how does it work for him? And just,

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if you don't mind talking a bit about some of

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the logistics side of what you do, so how does

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that work for him? So do you, do you have

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to tend to have a hold stop or is everything

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manufactured to order?

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I I've done it a lot of hard work with,

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I'm trying to find manufacturer's who solely based on, on

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bulk. So because my, my stuff just doesn't work that

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way. Yeah. It's which is one of the reasons why

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I had to sort of stock doing the duvet covers

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in a little bit and move to, to the, to

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the max, because I managed to find a manufacturer and

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a family run manufacturers who are, we are happy for

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me to do one or two maps designed bespoke four

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people. And then they would, they would do that for

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me. And that's what I do now. So I, I,

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someone we'll give me an older house and I will

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design it for them and send it to This to

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this particular manufacturer who, yeah, I'm quite lucky that they

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are they've up until now.

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That is until at the thing that has happened now,

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which may or may affect me. I'm not sure, but

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up until now, they have been happy to do, to

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print individual placements for me, I'm personalized place. And I

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have placements for me and, and, and the product, the

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displays is a pup. So I have been very lucky

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up until now. And that's what I was a surprise

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to people.

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All right. You say you've been lucky, but I think

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it also must be a lot of hard work involved

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in that to find this prior, how did you even

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go about finding them? Because it sounds like you got

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a Gemma you've done many. Wow. Yeah.

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Yeah. I, I know back in the day, lots of

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searching lots and lots of searching, looking, looking, contacting people,

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asking questions, getting told, no, if you don't do that,

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Oh yes, we do that. But we only do it

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for 500,000 items or whatever, until eventually funny. And our

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fights, I was talking to a manufacturer who, who, who

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couldn't help me, but they were lovely. They were like

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what? We do know someone who might be able to,

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because I think they do work slightly different from us.

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Why don't you contact these people? So I contacted them

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and they were like, well, Millie, even though we don't

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do both, we would prefer if you did it at

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least a few bar, you really like what you're doing,

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go on, go on then shit.

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You know? So I would, you know, unusually what would

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happen that would be around Christmas time. So there would

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at least be five or six people wanting something at

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Christmas, you know, because it was Christmas and so on.

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And so if they will find me that if I

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have, if they had at least five or a map

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so that I was already doing, then that, that would

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work out quite well. So that's how I found him.

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And he, by lots and lots of hard work, looking

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online, talking to people, word of mouth, and then being,

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finding somebody nice, who then put me on to them

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and then sort of just, you know, instead of going,

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Oh, this woman is a waste of time because she

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already wants to do two or three. They kind of

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they've, you know, they've, they've been happy to do it

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for two or three for me.

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So that's how I found them food for a lot

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of hard work for any assistance

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By the sounds are bad

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And the same way that they do that, it covers

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when I first started doing the duvet covers, I just

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put, I literally just, again, put the word out. My

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unfunded. If it was my husband's friend who knew somebody

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who knew somebody who took, put me in touch with

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the manufacturer and the guy who was just brilliant, he

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listened to what I was doing. And he basically did

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a sample for me to get samples for me in

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that the samples was just brilliant. And, and then I

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did a small run just to say, so I could

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do, I wanted to do a, a forgotten the name.

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What was it when you go out and do you

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get people in a room and you say, this is

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my product. What do you think of?

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It's a lack of focus group research. It, yeah,

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Like, because grade. So I did focus group in the

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early days and I knew that I had to have

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something show them. So like this guy, I did a

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really short, literally short run of about five or five,

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six, five. Do you have at different designs for me

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that I could use to take around and show people

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and do focus groups. And he was really great as

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well. And I, I was very lucky. I think we've

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the two manufacturers I've found, but even though the dude,

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that guy, the dude, that manufacturers were really brilliant with

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all the help, they gave me it still wasn't working

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out because, you know, there are over here. If I

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would've had to go to China or somewhere, somewhere like

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that, to have a manufactured them for cheap, fair enough,

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to be able to sell them for, you know, a,

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a cheaper price for every body to be able to

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afford them.

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And I just thought, you know what? I don't want

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to buy some from one to get them to be

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made to me. Maybe in Britain, I'm really good quality.

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So yeah, I was very lucky, but it actually on

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that note while it's in my head, it's really important

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to find when you start off the business, one of

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the things I've learned is choosing the wrong people, or

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it can be so detrimental in choosing the right people.

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I can help you fly in. And as I said,

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I chose to right people with the people who are

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helping me with my classmates, but I, and I chose

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the right person for the, the first or the people

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who did my DNA covers, but I joined the networking

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group initially because it, it was just me and I

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know, knew I needed help and more info from a

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group like-minded people.

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And I just, I, I was told about a networking

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group. So I joined and it turns out to be

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one, it was just a terrible, and the guys you

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don't know, and to your family are in it, but

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the guy, the guy who really didn't know, you didn't

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know what he was doing. And I basically wasted six

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months with him before I realized, unfortunately, and not just

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me, a lot of the people that we're in the

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group suddenly realized that they weren't getting anything from this.

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And then actually he was giving you bad advice, giving

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us bad advice. And I would I've I would say

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to anybody that what I didn't do was I didn't

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Google him. I didn't go online. I didn't find out

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if you sit, if you join something or where you

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see a manufacturer or whatever.

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And there was absolutely nothing about them on a day

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on social media or online, that's the flag because somebody

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good who is out by not doing good work, they

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will be all over. You know, it's not a known

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social media that people will you'll know. And because I

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was so rude to it and you need to do

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it, I didn't double check this out, this networking group.

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So I say that's something that I've always, and I

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tell people who are, or whoever starting out, you going

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to be really wise to who you are, any groups

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that you joined out there. And then they had an

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M and a check check who they are, make sure

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they've got a good rep.

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Yeah. I think you're right. He's who is it? If

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I actually take is so important. And I really liked

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what you said about how your manufacturing now is kind

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of likes what you're doing and believes in your product,

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because it sounds like that's, you know, that's really important

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that they, it sounds like they actually care about what

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your trying to do.

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Yeah. Because I'm sure it comes normally. I think there

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are a minimum more doubt if there were a small

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family business and nothing, the minimum order is usually, you

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know, 20 and I have come along and say, can

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I have five? And they're like, go on then, you

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know, that they're lovely. Or if it wasn't for them,

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I'm doing that. You know? And so, yeah, it's really

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important to find people who believe in your business or,

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or, or, or a willing to bend a little bit

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for you. And it's not easy because everyone's, you know,

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if they're a business they're in a small family run

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business, can I say their name was that not to

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say the name that they're called Smith tailors. And they

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produce coasters and placements and all sorts.

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And then that wonderful. There was a lovely little old

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family. And luckily I think the pandemic has caused, I

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mean, they had to shut down for a while, but

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I think there are reopening now. And there are a

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great little family one, so yeah.

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Oh, they see a fantastic and yeah, they definitely deserve

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a mention say, yeah, I hope that anyone listening to

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this is looking for someone will look them up. Yeah.

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Great. And I think it also helped that you've got

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a, such a clear vision and, you know, you know

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what you're trying to do with your products as well.

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I think that really helps as well because people can

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get on board with not just your, but what is

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your trying to achieve with your products? And that's really

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important. Something I would like to go back to if

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you don't mind, cause we've completely skimmed over this. And

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you talked about your focus groups and I don't know

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anyone yet. He's done a focus group. So I think

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that's really interesting. So do you mind just talking a

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bit more about, about what you did and what you

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learned? I think that is really fascinating.

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And I M I, so I, I basically, I went

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to, My spoke to my neighbors about it really, and

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just, you know, in friends and family and my neighbors

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bless them. She got about six or seven of her

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friends who work in all sorts of different fields from

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teachers, nurses, one moms, and my neighbor's who lived across

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the way they did the same. And we all gathered

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in my neighbors house and I laid on food and

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stuff and basically just presented the word to them. And

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then they're not the end after I had to show

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up to talk to my idea, I then gave out

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questionnaires and I said, you know, there are anonymous.

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So you don't have to worry about what you say,

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just be truthful to be honest. Tell me if you

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think this is a rubbish idea or a good idea,

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or is it something that you would like, and it's

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interesting because the, one of the focus, the focus groups,

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so I did, it was mostly white moms. I'm a

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couple of dads and another focus group I did was

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mostly black moms. And so it was good to get

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that, you know, because of the two ways that I

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dented decided to start my business, I wanted to get

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an idea. And then both groups were really complimentary and

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liked what I was trying to do.

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All right. So, you know, it, it, it was encouraging.

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And I, and so I decided to, to keep, to

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keep going, based on the feedback I got from those

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focus groups, or there were focus groups, I have no

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idea if that, you know, I'm sure if that's not

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the conventional way to do a photo, a focus group,

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but that's how I did it to at least to

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see whether or not I was going down in the

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right lines. Right.

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It was amazing how few people get any kind of

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validation for their products is all, you know, because there

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was some times that can be a bit of a

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fear about talking about what you're going to do in

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case someone says it's rubbish and are wanting to hold

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your cards close to your chest. I think any kind

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of validation, obviously, the more you can do the best

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if at any is good. And actually you spoke to

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the moms and dads, these are the people who are

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going to be your customers. So I think it sounded

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like you did a great job there. So that was

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right. So at that point you just had a few

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samples, is that right? You have to show people. Yeah.

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So, so what happened next? Did you get a website

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up and running? Did you,

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So I, I, once I knew that they like, they

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quite like the idea. I had to think of a

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name, the Chinese, which I did. And the name came

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from the fact that when I used to write poetry

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and Ryan just in general, it was usually based on

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sitting in it or things that had happened to me

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and my family. That was quite funny. So for example,

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I w I, I've got a range of cushions that

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have animals on them. And that idea came from the

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facts that, so for example, one day at one, one,

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one, one day at a time, I was out with

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some friends in the park and my, my little son

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and, and her son, and she had an old sandwich

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in her handbag, which she had left on his buggy.

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And suddenly this quirk, this Intrepid squirrel must've smelled the

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sandwich and okay, how old are the trees? And the

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girls in our pocket are very friendly because they get

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fed a lot. So they've kind of lost their fair

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share of humans a little bit as well. And he

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was just, basically, we didn't realize that was the, it

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was after. So we took the Bucky and Ron and

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the school I kid, you not run after us. And

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when we stopped that you let go of the buggy,

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he was on that buggy and in her bag. And

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she asked like, what's going on? And she said, I've

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got a little sandwich in there. So that's what he

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was off to him. And it's that sort of a

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thing that I had to go home and write something

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about it.

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That, that, that was what happened. And, and a bit

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story is that there was a Fox, he's a grown

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folks now. And he lives somewhere in our neighborhood. He

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used to live in our neighbors garden. I'm not sure

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where he lives now, but every now and then you

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see him, but he's been there for a good few

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years. And he used to be there when he was

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tiny, when he was just a little bit of a

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young Fox. And I've kind of watched him grow up

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at first, it was a bit scary to have a

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Fox. So in such close proximity, but he he's never

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harmed anyone. He comes in. Sometimes if you're in the

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kitchen really early in the morning, you'll see him jump

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over the fence.

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And he was more scared of us than we are

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in with him. But that it, you know, those kinds

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of things kind of is why my, my cushion collection

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that I've got, which has got farm animals and wild

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animals on them. So that's where that idea came from

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for all of my stuff, because I just want to,

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things like that happen, I have to write them down.

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I find it quite funny. So that's where the name

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come from. It came from as well, because I try

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to make what I write down reasonably Witty or funny.

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So that's where the whole idea for Witty Dittys it

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came from, and actually a really good friend of mine.

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Who's a copywriter. She just came round to my home

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one afternoon and we sat together brainstorming for an idea

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for the name and that actually, I've got to give

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her credit where credit to you.

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She's the one that came up with Witty Ditty, she

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was just saying to, well, what do you write is

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quite funny. They are quite Witty that we'll Dittys. And

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that, that was where the name come from. And then

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I'm very lucky because I'm a designer. I can, I

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design the logo myself. I didn't have to worry about

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going to somebody else when you, what I wanted to

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do. And so I have designed the logo for myself.

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So yeah, I came up with a name and then,

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and then I made sure that I was on all

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the platforms and social media and so on and so

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forth, made the mistake actually of, I now know about

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bots, but in those days I did it and I

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made the mistake of actually kind of looking on somewhere

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with the name Witty Ditty.

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And then when I went back to try and get

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it, if it has gone. So I think it was

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with, with Twitter. So Twitter, my Twitter handle a slightly

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different because it was gone, but I, you know, you

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learn, you know, it's not like it's not a thing

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learning to. And then after that, I, I copyrighted the

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name through a few of them through a, a proper,

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you know, we did it properly and made sure that

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my name was is, is, is cooperated. I'm more eyes

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on the products that I produce a copyrighted as well.

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So what are your designs or so, yeah, so I'm

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not so much of the Designs because I learned like

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you, don't basically the, by the name of the fact

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that I've drawn them and that, that I've made them,

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they are my copyright.

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Yeah. Apparently I might get this wrong. Somebody will let

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you know, I'm sure if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty

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sure that it's the drawings that I do are fake

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it on to me, but the Navy, my name, and

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you definitely have to copy write it because, you know,

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somebody can still use the name Witty Dittys as long

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as it is for something totally out, other than what

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I'm doing apparently. So I just call it to her.

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I said my name and, and put down what I

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was going to be putting all my products on and

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so forth. That was something that I, I, I, I

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did straightaway as well. And then the fourth and final

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thing was I went on to Shopify.

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I could have built a website, but I wanted initially

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to just not have to worry about spam and dodgy,

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dodgy, dodgy customer queue, cause it's all built in and

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that, you know what they, I think with Shopify, you

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know, it's it basically you built a shop, you pick

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a fame and then if you go, so I, I

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I'm on the Shopify is my butt. I do want

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to change that soon. I want to just have my

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own website because at the moment, both the workshops that

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are probably talked to you, that in a bag and

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my products that are both on the same site, and

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I think I need to separate them a bit better.

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So I might do that. I might do that by

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having a different website, but yeah, that's, that's what I

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did that. Great. And I

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Agree with you on Shopify, I'm on it as well.

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And I, because I kind of like the fact that

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all of the e-commerce functionalities is built in there, but

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if they take people's payments or like, you don't see

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someone's payment details, you don't need to have that. It

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just feels like there's a bit of security there for

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the customer, for you as well.

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It was one less thing for you to do as

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well. Isn't it? Yeah.

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Yes. It's just nice knowing that, you know, you, you

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get it all set up and it's going to work

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where it was. If you build something yourself it's yeah.

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Yeah. I think it was probably a bit more involved.

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Okay. So why don't you had all of that set

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up? How did you go about getting your initial customers?

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What did you do to either a live launches is

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the right word as to actually do any of your

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focus group with customers by quite a lot to do

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that as well?

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No, but that was only in the mainly because I

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probably didn't do what I should have done. You know,

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I now know, like I said, I joined, you know,

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I joined the group and set that. Wasn't a way,

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I think if I have been with a good mentoring

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group or a good networking group that would of happened.

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Cause that probably they would have said, Oh, you've done

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a focus group. Like, did you capture that, that email?

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Yes. Right. Do this. But because I was with someone

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who was just, it was just wrong, a lot of

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that stuff that I should have grabbed onto in the

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early days, it didn't happen. And so, so it took

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me longer to get going. So I basically what I

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ended up doing was I, some of I decided to

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do a Christmas, a Christmas is, Oh, it wasn't a

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super busy Christmas, but I still decided to do a

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fair, you know, a and, and to have a store

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and trying to get people in.

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And there's just, I just tell people about me and

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get them to know that I existed. And I, it

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was one of these stools that I got a really,

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I got a reduced rate because I literally went literally

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like a couple of days before it was do to

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start. And they need to get rid of the areas

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like myself and another lady that I'm still friends with.

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We both did that to get, get the cost right

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down. And then I basically just introduce myself to as

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many people who I thought might be interested in my

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stuff. And it's one of them, maybe that's how I

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think one of the platforms I know I'm on at

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the moment called or by mamas, that's how they found

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me.

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So I do that and just basically got my name

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out that way with as many commercial cons as I

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could. And then for local moms and dads and stuff,

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I basically would have a stool, especially at Christmas at

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the market that always runs every month, every other Sunday

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of every semester, it will be a big market in,

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in, in total number of my list. And I will

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always make sure that I had a stall that, and

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over the years, I think through word of mouth and,

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and just always been that, you know, I've, I, that

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a few people do seem to know who I am.

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Funnily enough. I've found that a, I just hope endemic

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has seemed to have given me more older. So I'm

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sure a lot of people must have found that. I

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think cause people have got more time. There must be

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looking online and finding me because I've had quite a

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few orders that way. But yeah, I made a lot

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of mistakes initially when I started my business. So I,

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I should have, or should be able to say to

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you, yes. So a lot of my focus group bought

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from me, but because, because of some of the mistakes

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and joining the wrong type of networking groups, but it

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didn't happen.

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What do you know what everyone does day at the

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beginning? And that's, why are you taking the time to

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sort of share some of what you've done? All of

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us today is so valuable because by hearing the mistakes

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or other people have made you kind of helped in

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the next person or not do the same. So yeah.

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This is why this is really important. And yeah, I

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mean, I can tell you about it. I won't, I

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could list out, you know, tens of mistakes I made

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in the early days, but I guess the main thing

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is we learn from them and we help others and

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not, not do the same thing. Okay. So the next

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one was that you could ask you about is, is

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sort of the challenges or any sort of challenges you've

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had to overcome in that. But I think you've shared

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quite a few bits of anything else you wanted to

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go over it.

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Yeah. I've got, I've just written down here because I

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had to make, make a few notes and it was

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like, I'm not getting ripped off by unscrupulous people trying

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to keep going while raising children, especially when you have

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to stop for a year or year. And yeah, because

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I had to, I just had to, it, it was

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just too hard to try and I found it hard

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anyway to, to try and do what I was doing

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with amazing, amazing, a little thin. And I stopped and

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stock for a while. Umm, and the other challenge that

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I had was not losing confidence in your idea and

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in whatever the talent you think you have in your

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abilities.

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And I found those three things are quite, quite challenging.

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And actually that was I thanks to a really good

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friends and family who were like, you know, when I

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said, well, you know what, maybe I should just, you

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know, I had a go, this has come along now

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or maybe not. And they were like, no, you can't

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stop. Now. You haven't done this. Then you haven't done

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that. We haven't tried this, but they've tried that. And

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then you tried that and then maybe you start it,

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but you haven't tried yet. And I've had a few

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people say to me, you know, you got to keep

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going. Cause what you're doing is a really great, so

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I, you know, that thing of keeping going, I think

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is really important. I mean, I'm always fascinated by listening

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about well known or famous people who, who, you know,

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you know, like your typical, like your JK Rowling's of

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this world who were turned down like I'm taking times

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and they never gave up to now look at them.

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I find that, you know, that that is what we

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need. You can't, you can't let you can't let either,

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you just got to keep going. If, if, if you

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really believe in something is going to keep growing. So

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my challenge is where I'm trying to keep going on

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raising children, which I know lots and lots of women

Speaker:

out there I'm trying to do right now just for

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me right at this minute. And making sure that you

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worked with the right people, have your interests at home

Speaker:

and not losing confidence in just keeping going. And even

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when the going gets a bit tough trying and keep

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going because you never know if you might get them

Speaker:

in the end.

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Yeah, I think you're right. I think it, all of

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those things, the key, I mean, perseverance, you know, you

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just need it, but I think there was a bit

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of a corelation possibly too. And what you said about

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a source of trying to do it while raising the

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family and the confidence, because I feel like I could

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be wrong, but imagine that once you stop, you know,

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you just made a decision to stop for a while.

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So it was that when your son was born or

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when he was, you might have sold, right?

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Yeah. It was when my son. Yeah. Because when he

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came alone

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And imagine in that, so there must be really hard

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then to then when you sort of resumed, I guess

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that must have been quite difficult to sort of start

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up again.

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It was. And what I did was instead of just

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Resuming the business, what I did was I, as I

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said at the beginning, I'm a graphic designer and I've

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got quite a lot of skills. I do digital design.

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And so a lot of my illustrations that I do,

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I do, I draw by, I also draw directly on

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a computer. I do a lot of digital illustration and

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I'm as a graphic designer and art director back in

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the day when I was working full time, especially as

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an art director, I would illustrate a lot and doing

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mood boards and stuff for clients. And it never cuts

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me to come home and, and illustrate in sketch for

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myself.

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I was doing it as a job. So I didn't,

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but when I stopped doing that and I started to

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base my son, I find myself and my one little

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downtime I had to, I would be doodling or my

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computer and drawing the characters, animals and the kids and

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people. And I started to really enjoy it and find

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it quite therapeutic and, and, and coming and I started

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to really enjoy it. And I'm so rather than jumped

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back into with the Dittys product, the product surface products,

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I started to think, well, I've got this ability to

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draw and do graphic design and use all these different

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programs that I've spent years learning.

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It seems the same day to let all of that

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skills just dwindle. And I accidentally discovered this whole area

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of workshops, children through basically meeting a really nice lady

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who ran a series of workshops in South London when

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I was doing something to do with the kids one

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day. And she was just telling me what she does,

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she did, and that she ran these workshops. And I

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said, all of that seems really interested. And that was

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STEM workshops where, you know, science, technology, engineering, and maths,

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and she had seen some of this stuff that I'd

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done. And she looks at me up online and she

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really liked what I was doing. And she just said,

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why don't you come and go and see what we're

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up to.

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So I, I kind of went there and volunteered for

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a couple of months. Just two, I will turn up

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what they have, this STEM STEM club and every Friday.

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And when she saw that I, you know, it wasn't

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just say, you know, if she could see what I

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could do, she asked me if I will join. And,

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and I did. And then some of the people who

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work there were like, well, this needs to happen across

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London, its happening in South London. It happens a little

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bit in East London. Do you know if this has

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happening in your neck of the woods last, let me

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go. And you know what? I don't think it is

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not. What if it is, it's really quiet. And that

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prompted me to start the workshops and to do the

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workshops, the STEM skills and our And graph digital graphic

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workshop's in North London.

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And I started about just over a year ago now

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running workshops here. And I managed to through again, a

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lot of hard work and a lot of networking and

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a lot of kind of just gently pestering people to

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end up in my local library, the Marcus Garvey library

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in Tottenham. And I started running M a S STEM

Speaker:

skills, tech hub, full seven to 12 year-olds and I

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will. And I, and I basically just put flyers out

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once, summer and I had started it as a summer,

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as a summer clubs put flyers out and had so

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much interest and ran a little summer camp from July

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to August.

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And then the kids that came to the summer camp,

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all their parents were like, or are you going to

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do this as an after school club? And I was

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like, Oh, well I hadn't really. Okay. So as we

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started doing it as an after school club and that's

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how I kind of got back into doing design and

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stuff. And then from that I joined a mentoring group,

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a couple of mentoring groups to see whether or not

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it was worth what, cause I was thinking I should

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do one or the other, either the workshops or the

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products and going on some really good mentoring and networking

Speaker:

courses, they said, well, why'd you have to choose.

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They both got merits. And as long as it's not

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too much work, see if you can run them alongside

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each other. So that's what I'm trying do at the

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moment.

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It, and it sounds like you really enjoy both as

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well.

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I do. I love, I just, I love kids and

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I love teaching them. I, the, the, the, the, the

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Cubs that I started in the library have now moved

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online and we, we we've been doing them via zoom

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and it's a lot of hard work. And again, it's

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a lot of learning curves with just learning how to

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use all the time, you know, the, the, the, but

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I'm getting there. I mean, I'm getting there. And, and

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again, some of the parents who've been doing the online

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classes who came to the, to the tech hubs have

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asked me if I would, if I'm going to carry

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on doing this, whether it's on a zoom or, or

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pick up again in September. So I have to, I'm

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trying to think about how I could run the tech

Speaker:

hubs in a socially distant compliant way, or stay on

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online and among them.

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So that's, that's something that I'm trying to do as

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well. So I've got a, quite a lot going on

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in actually I sometimes not, But, you know, as well

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and still having my little six-year-old to look after it.

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But, you know, I think if it's because I enjoy

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it, I think it would because I enjoy it. Although

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its hard work, it, it doesn't feel like a chore.

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There's a difference between hard work and, and something being

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hard work, you know, that there's a difference in age.

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There's a difference.

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So you mentioned your son, so how, how does this

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business fit around your family and it does it work

Speaker:

around in your family life? But it does.

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It was, I mean it was much easier before we

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will do that. The horrible pandemic came because I would

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fit it around school school times. And I would, you

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know what? I knew that he be at school in

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the morning. So they see be home at three 30

Speaker:

other days. So you'd have afternoon after school clubs. And

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I knew that on those days I could channel my

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energies into either the workshop's or The or do it

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a couple of illustrations for my classmates or whatever it

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is I was doing. It's been a lot harder since

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the pandemic hit because obviously he's home all the time.

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And I'm now, you know, along with my husband where

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he's, he was being homeschooled and, and it's much, much,

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much harder, much harder.

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And I'm, you know, luckily I'm not on my own,

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you know, I'm going to say, you know, so I've,

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I've got help and every now and then when I

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need time, like a day where I'm just concentrating on

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a live or a workshop production or, or a new

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illustration for a product or somebody ordered something, I can

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just, you know, my husband would take over from that

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day cause he is working as well. And he's got

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a full-time job. He has not stopped working even because

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his job is one of those jobs that he can

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still work in. You could work from home, but every

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now and then he'll, he'll take a bit of time

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out and help me so that I've, I've been lucky

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in that way, that way. But it's, it's, it's, it's

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hard. It's hard work.

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Yeah.

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Yeah. It, it, it really is. Yeah. I'm in the

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same situation is yeah. Stuff. And how I'm So with

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the pandemic has asked the production of your products are

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being effected at all. So are you a manufacturer still

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making things?

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Wow. Because I I've caught it because of that. It

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will concentrate solely on the placemats I I'm not, I

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mean, I stopped doing the duvet covers for a little

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while anyway, but I was doing mugs and posters and

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all sorts of, and I know I'm not doing this,

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I'm literally just doing the placemats and I've got a

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decent amount of stock, still all of my cushions so

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that when I've had a couple of orders for my

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cushions and I've come and how to look and go,

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Oh, what's been ordered, I've got, you know, so I'm

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lucky. So my question is I've got a little bit

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stuck so that if I have, and then everything that

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I haven't got in stock, I've put it on my

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website. So we have a stock and the, and the,

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the, the personalized stuff.

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But I do have my placemats and also I've forgot

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to mention my name, my name plates. So if the

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kids, you know, like you are all of the animals

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that are on my coasters, I now take those that

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were animals. And I put them on a, you know,

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so for example, there's a little one I've done recently

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for a little boy, my little niece, not a new

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brand new nephew called Zachary and the space at the

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little African animals and a spelling out. And there are

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all sort of standing by his name, you know, the,

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the thing that I just said, so to me, that's

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what I've been doing as well. So that those and

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the, the placemats are what I'm concentrating on on during

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this time, because, you know, I think there was so

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much going on and, and, you know, it was too

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much happening to try and do it all.

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So that, and the placement. So to say that, and

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the workshops are what I'm concentrating on, on that at

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the moment, those are the two things that we can

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do. And as I said, I'm doing the placements because

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the lovely manufacturer's that I use being so great. And

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then saying, okay, then we'll go from here. Even though

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we don't really normally do that amount. That's fine. We'll

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do it. So, yeah. That's why I'm concentrated.

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Yeah. I think that's good advice as well, to not

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try and do it at all and just, do you

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know what you're comfortable with? Yeah. I think that it

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really makes sense as well.

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One of the other things I forgot to say, actually

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that I want to concentrate on a little bit at

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the moment as well is because of the whole black

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lives matter movement and what's happened the whole thing that

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happened with soy, I want to try and raise away.

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And it's more about the facts. You know, I started

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off, as I say, not being able to find stuff

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for my, my little steps on the name of my

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song and it, it, it makes me think, Oh my

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God, that's not right. And I know I did something

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about it. And then I think I kind of think

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that got sidelined along the way, you know, and I

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now realized that I, I should have been more, I

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should have been graver.

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I think that when I was doing that five years

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ago and I just got in touch and just now

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I'm, I'm at that I'm trying to, Find black owned

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businesses of the black-owned businesses. I'm trying too, you know,

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like I said, put my collection that I have now

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gathered together. And as many places, as much as other

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black families, we'll find them as possible. I'm in it.

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I started doing it for five years ago, but I

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didn't really do it. And now I'm trying to do

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that. And that's another thing that I'm quite passionate about

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making sure that, you know, as many black and Asian

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BAME families as possible know that there are places that

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are all places where you can buy products that reflect

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your children, you know, so important.

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It is important. And I think that's fantastic that you

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are doing that. Okay. So just a few final things

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before we finished up with that. Okay. So one thing

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that I would love to know is what is your

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number one piece of advice for any other aspiring product

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creators out there?

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I think I've kind of said it already, which is

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making sure that you find the right kind of help

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when you first started out. So if you are starting

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out and you, you definitely don't try and do it

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all by yourself, you might start off a bit of

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myself, you know, and yet at the kitchen table doing

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what you do, maybe with just family and friends, when

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it gets to a point where you need to branch

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out of it, you don't do it a try and

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do it all by yourself. Try and find. Cause I

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was saying to try and find a, a group home

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or, or mentoring, mentorship, mentoring groups out that, that you

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can join and that there were some really good free

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ones.

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You don't have to pay it either. You know, you

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don't get caught into paying the hundreds of pounds to

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some consultant who says, Oh, I can help you with

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this. On the other day, there were some really good

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networking organizations out there who are funded to help people

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like us who are, you know, starting out a need

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help. Do we have a good place in the British

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library? They, again, not so much now because of the

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pandemic is closed now, but back in the day, the

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British library. So it was really, really good of a

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good source of help. They offer, you know, free advice

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on all sorts of, and it's them who I went

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to when I wanted to get my copyright done with

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my logo and then my work.

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And they, we're the ones that can gave me lots

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of advice. You know, that you have to book it.

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And obviously there's a weight in this cause it's free,

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but you, you can go and see somebody who would

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take you through a wall of your rights in your

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copyright, on what you should and shouldn't do. So, yeah,

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that is something that you definitely have to do is,

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is don't don't don't, don't try and do it all

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by yourself and get good advice from good sources. I

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think so

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You're right. Having a network is just so important. Just

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having people around you, you, you can bounce ideas off

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of that. You can ask questions and it was invaluable

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if it was great advice. And I didn't know that

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about the British library as well. So I'm fascinated to

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hear that.

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Yeah, yeah. That would be brilliant. They, then I have

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talked some of the talks for free. Some of them

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aren't even the ones that aren't, you know, it's like

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not very much to pay, to go and see some

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amazing speakers, other entrepreneurs who have done with who you

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would know the names of. And they talked to you

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and say, this is how I started. This is what

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I do. I did. And now, as I say, if

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they do, they did, and I'm sure once everything's back

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to normal, they will do carry on doing so they

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do offer free advice as well.

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So I have interesting, thank you so much for sharing

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that. So is there anything else that you want to

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share with us before we finish up?

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Just that If, if Your, if, if, if you're a

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young family and your, and you know, you've got kids

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who are interested in art design and digital design or

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any sort of STEM skills, umm, and you're looking for

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somewhere for them to, to grow and to learn, look

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us up, look with the GT Designs and we eat

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it, eat Kids Kids cups up because we are trying

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to offer a way to encourage learning whether it's through

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the mud products or through doing the workshops that develop

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the kids' skills in unique ways.

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Because you know, one of the tell you what's really

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interesting when I started off doing these clubs, the people

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that I worked with, we were knocking on doors constantly

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saying, have you had, do you not think that your

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kids can learn about 3d printing or do you know

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that they can learn about laser cutting? You know, they

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can learn about all these amazing techie type skills and

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qualities and digital design and 3d illustration and all of

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this. And they were interested, but they were a little

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bit like, Oh, okay. But they were still stuck in

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their sort of traditional mode of teaching children stuff. And

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since COVID nineteens has come along that we don't have

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to knock doors down anymore because everybody knows what 3d

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printer is now 'cause they knew because if all the,

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the, the, the, the PPE that was needed and they

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could see that there are people in it who, who

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had a 3d printers, who are making the, the PPA

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for, for a wonderful any test off in their bedrooms,

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and God knows where else.

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So now the doors that are a little more easier

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to open because of people that are realizing that this

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is a brand new world out there, you know, kids,

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kids, kids are going to have to learn, and their

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parents they're going to have to learn a whole new

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way, or, you know, of, of, of about new technologies,

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new way of new ways of working traditional ways of

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working. It's still good, but we need to teach the

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children about, about tech technology, digital design, and digital art.

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And, and because that's the future and the kid, the

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kid, the kids that need to learn it, and that

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parents need to get them, get them in there, get

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them learning.

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And I guess it's about new ways of learning as

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well, because I mean, suddenly you been able to teach

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and learn online is I believe a relatively new thing.

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I do. I don't remember seeing any options for after

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school clubs online, prior to COVID-19 anybody who say absolutely.

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And that is fantastic. And I think it's a, it

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must be fantastic for you as well, because you can

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reach so many more children.

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Yeah, yeah, totally. Yeah. It's a little bit just being

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kids who live locally. You can have kids from all

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over London and you can join, join the club and

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what I'd like to do. And for me, I have

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a still, eventually when things go back to the rough,

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relatively normal, have a physical place where kids can come

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and have fun and interact and socialize and learn, but

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it also do an online, I still have an online

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presence and an online club where ever that may be

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a once a week or once every second week, we

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all, everyone gets together all night. Cher's what they been

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doing, what projects they have been doing, they've been doing.

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And, you know, so it's, it's been an awful time,

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but it also had in a weird way, some positive

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outcomes for S you know, all of those still or

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awful time.

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And I know there are people out there who have

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lost loved ones and stuff. So it's, it has been

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an awful time that kind of strangely opened up. People's

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thinking of that in many, many, many ways. Right.

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I think that's a really a good way of summing

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it up or thank you so much for everything you

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shared today and for your time. It's. Yeah. It's a

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really clear that you'd love what you're doing. Everything you'll

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do in is so interesting in say sort of sorts

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I needed as well as with the work you're doing

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to encourage children, to read, to help their children be

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seen. I think it's all fantastic. I would love every

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bodies go to your website and take a look. So

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it's a, WittyDittyDesigns.Com. If who didn't catch that, I'm going

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to put it in the show notes as well. So

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thank you so much for everything that you've shared and

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yeah. And best of luck with everything, you know,

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thank you very, very much. Thanks for talking to me.

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Oh, you're so welcome. Well, thank you so much for

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listening. I really hope you enjoyed that interview of Bee.

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Do you remember? You can send me some feedback by

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emailing Vicki@tinychipmunk.com. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, it'll be

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fantastic. If you could take a few seconds to rate

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the show. So give me a star rating, or if

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you have a few more minutes, if you could leave

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a review, that will be absolutely fantastic. It really does

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help other people find out about it. So that's it

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for now. I'm really looking forward to sharing and a

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fantastic interview with you next week. Is that fair?