Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow... BAMR, The Story So Far
I cant believe I’m finally writing this down. If your reading this then what do you know it turns out I actually had the guts to post it - go me! I can assure you its been a long time coming! (This could be a long one - I recommend making a cuppa!)
MONDAY 15TH JUNE 2020 - THERE’S SOMETHING INCREDIBLY HUGE HAPPENING HERE THIS WEEK. SO HUGE, I FIND MYSELF HOLDING MY BREATH WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT. THAT MAY SOUND A LITTLE OVER DRAMATIC, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FIND OUT WHAT IT IS BUT MAYBE THIS BLOG WILL EXPLAIN WHY…
Some of you I’m lucky enough to know really well, some of you not as well but I’m working on that. I’m not sure how many of you know the full story behind BAMR and lil ol’ me and why BAMR started, so here we go…
YESTERDAY (AND THE PAST FEW YEARS)
Once upon a time…I trained as a graphic designer but fell out of love with that pretty quick as lets face it … I was a bit shit lol! I’m totally okay with that though don’t worry! Anyway, I somehow fell into marketing and absolutely loved it! I ended up an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) Brand Manager; sounds quite fancy doesn’t it lol? I guess it was a bit. It was for a pretty big company, I wore heels to work everyday and pretty blouses with tailored pencil skirts, a far cry from the pink haired, tattoos showing, dungaree clad happy scruff bag I see in the mirror most days now. I did get to do really cool things though like pitch campaigns to the big wigs at ASDA in a Dragons Den Style. I attended TV commercial filming’s and product shoots and managed branded social media accounts and campaigns. There were cool agency briefings along with loads of other stuff, some of which was not so fun (I must confess I’m not the biggest fan of spreadsheets!). I finally felt like I had a ‘successful career’! I worked incredibly hard and convinced myself it was all good! Yes I travelled a lot, yes I answered emails all the time, yes I missed some of the kids stuff but this was just what I had to do wasn’t it? I enjoyed working and that came with a cost. (God, it sounds so selfish when you write it down, ‘mum guilt’ is a bitch!). The glossy veneer was starting to wear thin though, the lack of give and take, the issues with salary (I wont go into that), so many rules and procedures with zero flexibility, it all started to grind me down. There were times I was pretty unhappy, not all the time but definitely some of the time and crying at your desk isn’t much fun and definitely isn’t my style.
One day a recruiter rang me to tell me about a position they were looking to fill, it was during a pretty good time at work so initially I said I wasn’t interested but send over the job spec anyway and Ill have a look. Well… here it was, my dream job! Brand Manager for a health and beauty company! Not only that but joining the company at a time of huge change and I would get to take the business through a full rebrand process… OMG YES! YES! Sign me up!!! I wanted it so badly! I applied and was lucky enough to be offered the position! Bye bye rigid rules and regulations, hello creativity, informality and a bright new challenge - a new era has arrived!
I loved my new job, it was a breath of fresh air and I counted myself very lucky to be able to do what I did everyday. My team were awesome and its strange but we became like a little family! I cant quite explain it but it was really wonderful! The branding process was incredible and I was in my absolute element! Yes there were challenges but that’s all part and parcel of a job isn’t it. 6 months in and the new branding was in roll out phase so I was asked to take over Comms and PR instead, leaving the brand stuff with my newly promoted incredibly fabulous assistant! Happiness all round! PR and Comms is where my heart is! Working on social media, planning campaigns, liaising with agencies and influencers, running shows and exclusive blogger events - HEAVEN!
Then a year later…it stopped.
We had been saving like crazy to take the kids on the holiday to Florida that I’d been promising Libby since she was 3 (She turned 11 while we were there). It was the holiday of a lifetime, just liked we had hoped it would be! Then…my first day back to work, a Friday, I had a text from my line manager on my way in asking me to come to the HR office as soon as I got there. I was sat down and handed an envelope. I was told that my copywriting skills were not good enough for me to keep my position and I was to leave with immediate effect.
I cant remember the exact conversation but I do remember asking if I could go and say goodbye to my team?
‘No I don’t think that’s a good idea, they have had a pretty rough two weeks, you should probably leave by the side door’
Can I go see my husband?
‘Yes … oh, don’t worry his job is safe’ (Yep he had started working there too - still does)
Now I’m fully aware that copywriting is not my strongest skill (I apologise for any terrible grammar you may find reading this), but it was an incredibly small part of my role. I had previously asked for training and researched local courses that would be beneficial to myself and my team but apparently training wasn’t an option. All the copy I had written was now included on the shiny new company website so I’m pretty sure it couldn’t actually be that bad.
I WAS WINDED, KNOCKED SIDEWAYS & MY WORLD FELL DOWN AROUND ME.
I wasn’t the only person this happened to, it was a pretty shit time all round. I’ve half joked since that it resembled the final episode of a Game of Thrones series when half the main cast unexpectedly get wiped out.
I was allowed to go back a week later to say my goodbyes and get my stuff. I was determined to go in with my head held high and a smile on my face. I had done nothing wrong after all. My ‘stuff’ had all been packed into a box for me as my team had been asked to clear my desk on the day I left. I went to take my notebooks (I’m a proper stationery whore and these were beautiful ones I had personally bought from Paperchase or been given as gifts). I wasn’t allowed them - Some GDPR nonsense apparently… What on earth was I going to do with them? What kind of person did they think I was?
I FELT LIKE I WAS DOING THE WALK OF SHAME, LIKED I’D DONE SOMETHING TERRIBLY WRONG. IT WAS HORRIFIC, LEAVING WITH MY BOX OF STUFF AND SAYING GOODBYE. I HATE TO ADMIT IT BUT IT STILL GETS ME 2 YEARS LATER. I REALLY WISH IT DIDN’T.
For a long time I was in a pretty bad place. I think that I’d probably been walking a fine line with depression for a years, probably since having the girls, and on more than one occasion in the past had found myself in the Dr’s office sobbing while completing the form to establish my level of depression (never quite depressed enough). This happening catapulted me over that fine line and into the abyss.
Yes I know, no one had died, it was just a job. I had a fabulous family and good friends around me. But it was more than that, I’d lost my family’s security, my sense of worth and every single scrap of confidence that I had in myself. I’d been told I wasn’t good enough, my secret deep down insecurity had become a reality, it was true after all. I wish it hadn’t affected me so badly. I still do. I hate that I’ve wasted so much time and energy and so many tears on this but I guess it’s all just part of the process. (I’m okay now - I promise! Please keep reading lol).
Running had been my go to stress reliever. I’d found running whilst working in my first brand manager role. Initially starting because it was cheaper and less time consuming than the gym but I’d learned to love it. I’d come home from work agitated and stressed but a quick 5k blast round the village and I’d be back, pumped and ready to tackle bedtimes and homework and such like. The year I lost my job I was doing 6 half marathons for Mind… oh the irony! My poor mental health was stopping me running, I didn’t want to go, my mojo was lost deep in the abyss with me. I’d pledged to run these 6 races though and already raised money for Mind so I couldn’t not do them, I couldn’t let more people down. So, I’d rock up on race day having not trained, force myself around the course and each time swear Id never ever do it again. I now associated running with discomfort, pain and misery. I was done with running. Running was shit! I was shit!
But… mums do what mums do and we pick ourselves up and crack on! We have to! There’s kids to raise and a mortgage to pay. A couple of months later fate played a kind hand and a lovely graphic design agency I knew of were looking for an account manager and the role sounded right up my street. Looking after the clients and making sure all the projects go to plan and timings and deadlines are met. The little light inside me started to flicker and I’m happy to say nearly 2 years later I’m still there now, I work for a Badass team of directors who are just amazing human beings and my colleagues are the loveliest people who have helped me rebuild my confidence and my faith in humanity. I’m very lucky!
Despite the lovely new job I still wasn’t quite ‘me’. You kinda figure somethings not right when you find yourself sobbing in Asda for absolutely no reason, so off I went to the Dr’s and this time I was given Sertraline for anxiety and low mood. I am not ashamed of this, it has made a huge difference and helped give me the little push I needed to get back running and we all know how good running is for your mental health.
It was all going so well, new job, sertraline, back to running… then would you believe it I got injured! FFS! I tore a hip muscle picking up a folder from the shelf! Honestly you couldn’t make this shit up! I was gutted! With my dodgy hip plus the shin splints I’d developed overcompensating for the dodgy hip I was looking at a lengthy stint on the injury bench while my lovely local osteopath fixed me up.
Well Fuck! Now I can’t run.
I’d been doing well, better even, but was still down on myself for the nightmare half marathons, I kept saying I should have done better, I should have worked harder, I should have been faster etc etc. and then someone said to me… ‘Bev, you’ve run 6 half marathons, it doesn’t matter about times… that’s totally Badass and you need to remember that!’
Yeah, I guess it is pretty Badass isn’t it!
Why are mums so down on themselves? It cant be just me! Why are we all amazing at building each other up but struggle to take our own advice! Ask a woman to describe her friend and she will tell you of an amazing Goddess who’s a funny, clever, kind, powerful superwoman. Ask her to describe herself… would she say the same? Why do we do it?
Now I had no running to stop my negative brain I needed something else! I still missed social media and had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe I hadn’t been rubbish at it, maybe I did know my shit! Maybe… just maybe I could help mums like me? Was I the only one who needed reminding I was a badass? Maybe while I had a comfy spot on the injury bench I could focus on something new? Something positive? Could I be brave enough?
One evening sat at the kitchen table crying (I was still a bit teary at this stage) I said to my husband Chris, “I want to start an online thing for mums who run and call it ‘Badass Mother Runners’ because it makes me smile and sounds a bit sweary” Maybe if I can remind other mums how amazing they are a little bit might rub off on me, and super supportive Christof (who’s always believed I’m not rubbish) told me to go for it!
And so… on October 28th 2018 Badass Mother Runners was born and in less than 2 years it has become so much more than I ever dreamed it could be….
16 JUNE 2020 - TODAY
We now have over 17k followers, we have shipped merch not only all over the UK but to places like Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Malta, Czech Republic and Hong Kong to name a few.
We were a finalist for the 2019 Women’s Running magazine Club of The Year award, our merch range is now ‘award winning’, we are also finalists in the 2020 running awards in 2 categories! It’s just incredible and I cant thank you all enough! The past 2 years have been amazing! Watching BAMR grow and grow, seeing all you glorious babes find confidence and solidarity in each other - it makes me so incredibly happy I cant even begin to describe it! To think there’s so many of you out there now proudly wearing BADASS emblazoned on your tops and feeling empowered is just beyond belief. It’s more than that though, real friendships have been forged through the group. Strangers now look for each other on race days to offer encouragement or a smile or half a pack of jelly babies. Women shout out of their cars or across crowded supermarkets ‘Wooooop Badass!!’ when the see a fellow BAMR and…I shit you not (best phrase ever!) this makes me well up inside! You guys make the group what it is and I can’t thank you enough!
So what’s happening today? You may have seen on the insta stories or on some of my group posts that I’ve been working my arse off in the garden for the past couple of weeks… now I know your wondering ‘Bev, wtf has gardening got to do with anything?’ Well I’m getting to that!
For the past 2 years we have been running BAMR from the kitchen table, it started with one box of hoodies in the corner in January 2019, there are now boxes EVERYWHERE! They are stacked against the wall, under the dining table, in the bedroom - its crazy (in a good way). But we need a bigger space to keep things growing and keep you all kitted out in glorious BAMR merch, so THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TODAY!
All the money we make goes back into the business towards new merch and more stuff (trust me I’m not sat at home dripping in diamonds or anything lol!) but with all the craziness of lockdown and all virtual races we have been able to save a little to make this happen and today BADASS MOTHER RUNNERS IS GETTING AN OFFICE! The garden has been cleared from an overgrown jungle full of broken crap and nettles to a clean serene landscaped space ready for BAMR HQ to take up her glorious residence!
This is a HUGE deal! Not only will this enable us to be more efficient behind the scenes here with admin and packing orders but will help us grow in the future.
And on an incredibly personal, bit teary, note… Holy moly we getting an actual office!!!!! I’ve made this happen (with help from wonderful hubby Chris - aka Delboy) I’ve actually built an online community of thousands of incredibly supportive women with a successful clothing line…
MAYBE I’M NOT ACTUALLY SHIT AT THIS AFTER ALL?
MAYBE I NEVER WAS?
Thank you! A million thank yous to each and every one of you for making this happen! YOU DID THIS! You make the community what it is. You have helped me believe in myself again.
And so to the future.. I don’t know quite what’s going to happen but there are big plans! The main plan is happiness and balance all round! Cheesy and sentimental but totally true!