When Things Don’t Go As Planned

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Two years ago, the Elizabeth Harris range was about to launch with Home Bargains, I was excited about what the next few years held. The range launched and sold well, I was happy.

A year later we were moving house, taking on a renovation project, it was equally exciting as well as a little daunting.

I had new ideas for the Home Bargains range, I was busy with wedding cakes and we were planning on building a studio in our new garden that I could work out of, make more YouTube videos from and overall have a separate workplace from the house and family.

In my head I had the next five years planned out, hoping to buy a new car, finish our home and have some holidays. Work hard, play hard, as I had heard so many people say.

A couple of weeks into the building work on our new house, I went for a meeting at the Home Bargains Headquarters to discuss plans for the next year and product development.

Things didn’t go quite as I had hoped, I arrived nervous but excited. However, Home Bargains had been approached by a ‘bigger name’ than myself who wanted to sell their baking and cake decoration range in their stores.

They had decided to go with her and drop me.

It was a business decision. Nothing personal, just business.

To me, it was like all I was hoping for was falling apart.

I managed to hold it together, discussed the possibility for doing another smaller afternoon tea range with them, and left the meeting.

I arrived back at our new house to find the back of the house was off, the garden full of bricks and Drew (my husband) chopping down trees with his brother.

I fell apart, Drew trying to make sense of the jumble coming out of my mouth.

The questions of how we could carry on with the house project, how would we repay the loans etc, came out as fast as the tears.

(On a funny aside the builders couldn’t hear why I was crying but convinced themselves they must have knocked down the wrong walls. A call to Drew from the project manager asking him what the builders had done wrong? A small laugh in the middle of it all.)

Over the next few weeks, I worried, fretted, prayed and ran a lot (my way of dealing with stress).

A month later I went to a show in China with Home Bargains to look at doing a small afternoon tea range with them.

We still had lots of questions unanswered but I started to trust that although we didn’t know what the future held or how we would manage, things would be okay.

Home Bargain had said they would continue to sell the range and the orders already placed to arrive from China, until it sold out roughly another nine-twelve months.

I was approached to teach some courses for a company called Renshaw’s which I found I really enjoyed

I became focused on promoting wedding cakes. I practised, learnt new techniques, and gradually became busier and busier with wedding orders.

I took on someone to help me with my social media to streamline the content I put out there.

My family and friends were supportive, I had a lot of friends say ‘There’s something better around the corner’

Another year down the line I still don’t know what the something better is ‘around the corner’.

However, I have months of this year fully booked with weddings and I’m teaching more. Hopefully, in the future, I will have the opportunity to bring out some more products or sell the range I had. There are many things that baffle me about business, trading, importing products, freight, extra taxes and building a brand but I now know these things take more than a one-woman band, you need a team, people with different skill sets to complement each other.

I have no hard feelings towards Home Bargains, they gave me an opportunity that otherwise I would never have had the resources to do by myself, I will always be grateful for that.

If this experience has taught me anything it has shown me I’m stronger than I thought I was, and I have a larger capacity than I knew I had. I am a grafter. I’ve stopped looking for the blinding light of inspiration and started to trust my small steps moving forward are making a difference, I can see it in the quality of my work and in how full my order book is.


  • by Yvonne Mason, post on | Reply

    As Tina Turner said you have your name which stands for a lot, when looking at your plan maybe look at designing something for yourself no home bargains look at Karen Davies and Dawn Butler you’ve done it before and left on a high you’ll do it again chin up and here’s looking to the nxt Elizabeth Harris craze

  • by Elaine, post on | Reply

    Onwards and upwards Lizzie! Xx

  • by Victoria Bligh, post on | Reply

    This put a little lump in my throat. And an inspirational mama of two to boot! Well done you ! Xx

  • by Mary, post on | Reply

    Really sad, but typical big business – why not look at selling your products via your website? Just watched your tutorials and they are very very good – as a complete novice at cake decorating they make a lot of sense and are really easy to follow. Good luck for the future and well done

    • by elizabethharris, post on | Reply

      Thanks Mary xx

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