Part 4: Hope of deliverance
Now that the weeds have been pulled out and new seeds have been planted, we could focus on finding the right soil that would ensure its continued growth. Shortly after the magnificent two quit, (the day after, actually) I did one quick PL-UK trip to deliver the orders which I couldn’t deliver back in December due to my (in)glorious landing at a hospital. And also, to sort out that messed up tyre in my car that got messed up - also in December (ah, what a lucky month that one was!) Throughout January and February we looked at quite a few potential spaces, but none of them seemed to work. That didn’t discourage us at all, on the contrary - it was a natural part of the process, so we took our time in our search, and in the meantime it was business as usual with taking orders and preparing them for our first big transport; a good few hundred meters of parquet due to be shipped on a lorry and then delivered in February by yours truly!
Despite the fact that we were working understaffed and the hardships it would cause at times, we didn’t lose our spirit. We both felt that whatever new space out there was meant to become ours, it would appear when the time was right.
In the first week of February off I went to the UK with a van full of orders, which of course I managed to successfully deliver! The rest was due to arrive the week after - on a lorry.
I remember how stressed I was the night before I took off - this whole lorry thing was another big debut, both for the business and for myself. It was the first time I would receive a lorry with our shipment of parquet, and without Maciej by my side, since he was the one sending it over from Poland, a whole 1300 km away. So in a way, I had no choice but to rely on myself on that one.
Here I’d like to express my eternal gratitude to my cousin and her partner, as they played a massive role in this enterprise by providing us with the space where the lorry could be unloaded, and with my brother-in-law delegating one of his men to actually do the unloading at his business premises in Oxfordshire. To add to their generosity, for the next six months we were able to ship and store our orders there, or even leave the van there, after I started flying in to do the deliveries rather than driving all the way from Poland. And during that time, I was also always welcome to stay at their home instead of having to stay at a hotel or drive all the way from our home in London. Stating the obvious, they very much contributed to our business’s growth and our peace of mind that we got that part covered.
Funny story - when I was coming over for that first unloading, my brother-in-law’s employee I mentioned above was only informed that „M’s cousin is coming over to receive a shipment on a lorry, and you’re going to unload it”, so naturally, he assumed I was a guy! Imagine his surprise when he got there only to see a little blonde girl jumping out of her blue van… a good reminder not to make assumptions with so little information on our hands ;)
Nine days and about 2500 km worth of driving later, I was done with the deliveries! As always, I got to meet our wonderful clients, drink hectolitres of tea (with milk, of course!), exchange stories and see some amazing views in the process… so now it was time for me to go back! That proved to be an adventure, as this time I would leave the Smurf at the Oxfordshire premises and drive to Poland in my car, which was still patiently waiting for me in London. Due to some unplanned delivery schedule changes in the process, I didn’t get to stop by the house in London to leave the stuff now gracefully scattered around the entire front space of my van… so I got myself a ginormous suitcase on wheels (which would later prove to be very useful on my flying trips), I packed it up at my cousin’s place and the next morning after leaving the van in the safe place, my journey back to London had officially begun!
I took a bus to Oxford train station, from there I took a train to London, and then an uber home. I was laughing at myself in the process, because it showed me how much I wasn’t used to travelling in other ways than by car anymore… ;)
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing, especially that I don’t do „should haves” and „could haves” anymore. Instead, despite minor slips here and there, I am more about „accepting what comes and embracing it, and then doing the best I can for things to work out in the best possible way”. It doesn’t mean that I still don’t get tempted sometimes to say: „all this stress was for nothing, because things worked out well in the end” - stress was just a symptom of me caring.
More than anything else, running this business has taught me about the importance as well as the benefits of doing things despite the fear and doubts we may have, because by doing so, both the business and we as human beings can grow…!
Patience pays off / It’s coming around again
The same week I’ve returned, Maciej went to see another place - this time I stayed in Trzcianka, and he went there with Bogdan, who I have mentioned a few stories back. That took place in the last week of February.
After Maciej returned, he told me that this might be the place, but obviously I would need to see it; first and foremost being „the wife”, and secondly, his business partner :P
And that’s where we’re slowly getting to my favourite part; the part where I get to marvel at how the universe works, and how everything that happens in our lives seems to be interconnected. In my case it comes down to noticing and understanding the finest details and coincidences that occur in practically every step of our way…
On 4th of March we went to see the place set in a village called Niemieczkowo (which during the world war II was named Deutschendorf as I later found out), located about 40 km from Poznan and the airport. The moment I stepped out of the car and looked around, I felt it. This indeed was the place. And it was nothing like what we had in Trzcianka or anywhere else before. All I’m going to say for now is that it was huge, and it was very much suitable to our needs - despite the fact it would involve some massive adaptation works on our end… or maybe exactly because of that!
The meeting with the landlady went well, we had a good chat and a walk around the premises and to me personally it all looked very promising. We told her we will get back to her over the next couple of days after having discussed this.
After we left, we had the discussion in the car on our drive to Poznan, where we were going out later that night, to celebrate 13th birthday of our friend’s business - coincidence? I think not ;) as I mentioned above, now I can finally marvel at the connection here. On 4th of March 2016 I found out I was pregnant with Rita, our baby girl - and that was the beginning of one of the wildest rides of my life, and my biggest „project”… our project! And then there it happened again in 2023 on the very same date, as I went to find out about what was soon to become our next project, also a very important one. A crucial one, actually, since we wanted to take things with our business to the next level, and provide the best conditions for its growth… our baby’s growth!
I’m pretty confident that this is quite relatable to most people either running their own business, or simply having a true passion for something in their lives. If you’re putting your heart, soul, time, money and sometimes even health into something you truly believe in, you eventually grow to see it as your baby.
You’ll probably call me crazy, but in my decision making process, on my mental „pro & con list”, I most certainly did include the date of my visit there in the „pro” column. Because for me, it wasn’t accidental - on the contrary! It was yet another sign, another green light from the universe, and a message clear as day: the harvest season was there! And apparently, we were ready for it.