How and WHY did you start it?
I have never been able to sit still for too long without being creative. As soon as my first daughter was born I was finding lots of creative projects to keep myself busy when she was asleep. I would make cards, decorate the house and sew! When my maternity leave came to an end I wasn’t ready to go back to work. I wanted to spend more time with my little girl and I’m sure a lot of mothers will agree that childcare costs can swallow up most of your wages. My friend had asked about Memory Bears - soft bears made with children’s clothing. I’d never seen them before but I attempted to make one with my daughter’s first sleep suits. Honestly, it looked awful. But it gave me so much inspiration. I tried again and the second bear was better than the first. Before I knew it, friends and family where asking for them, so I made more. It’s true, practice makes perfect! I set up a Facebook page to share my creations with friends followed by an Etsy shop. One year later I have made over 70 memory animals and sold many other handmade creations. Working on new projects, earning a little bit, watching my daughter grow and experiencing each new milestone she met- It was the perfect way to spend the year.
I love what I do as a hobby, even more as a career! I can really let my creative juices flow whilst at the same time earn money. I like that I can choose my working hours and spend time with my beautiful family.
And the worst?
The difficult part is that I can never turn down an order. I sometimes bite off more than I can chew and have to juggle work and family time in short spaces. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive husband who helps me when I get snowed under!
Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama
I was running around for weeks trying to organise and make new products to display at my first craft fair. On the day I had to pick up a table, and set up. Traffic was not on my side so I was a little late, not how I wanted to begin my first craft fair.. Once I was set up and ready to go, I sat down and thought “Calm before the storm, in a minute crowds will be flowing in to look at our lovely products” Unfortunately it stayed quiet all day! I spent more than I made. Not as much Difficult, but a disappointing day. But not all was bad because I met some lovely fellow crafters and gained some good advice.
What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?
Try not to be disheartened if sales don’t come to you straight away. Most successful businesses will spend time trying to stand out above the crowd before breaking even. If you don’t sell much at first, don’t give up, keep trying and listen to what your target market wants!
What are you working on right now that you're most excited about? I am making patchwork cushions and quilts from baby clothes to add to the keepsake collection. I’m also working on a project for Valentine ’s Day which will all be revealed soon enough.
If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for? A self-replenishing cupboard of craft supplies!