Hey Guys, Welcome back, and welcome to my 'Meet the Maker' Feature! My idea here is to showcase some Mama's working to support their families through their own businesses. We all know that it's tough enough raising your brood, and you might be thinking 'how am i going to manage' if or when you eventually go back to work! Well... hopefully, this will supply you with a bit of inspiration.
First up, is Nat of My Little Magpies, Teething and Breast Feeding Jewellery. Check out her interview below, and jump over to Instagram to enter our Competition to win some Jewellery of your own! Follow her - Instagram and check out her Etsy Shop.
Business name- Little Magpies
Type of business- Teething & Nursing Jewellery and Accessories
Length of time in business- 2 years
Q1. Have you always had your own business?
I've been making and restoring jewellery for years and set up an Etsy shop in 2012 selling handmade and vintage jewellery. The business has always been alongside my day job as a Social Worker.
Q2. What inspired you to start up Little magpies?
I've always loved jewellery, especially statement necklaces. In 2013 I had my first baby and quickly realised that babies love jewellery too! From a young age his little hands were everywhere especially while he was feeding. I lost a couple of beaded necklaces to his super strong grip so the jewellery was put away but I missed wearing it. At the time I was in that awkward stage in between clothes when the maternity clothes aren't needed but the pre baby clothes don't fit. I really needed something to jazz up the limited wardrobe I had. My sister in law sent me a silicone necklace from California. I loved it and baby loved it too. The only problem - It was grey and a bit too chunky to wear all the time. I wanted something colourful to brighten up my monochrome clothes but I didn't want it to look like a teething toy. At that time there wasn't much on offer in the UK, not that I liked anyway. So I set up Little Magpies. Initially I sold the necklaces through my existing business, later adding to my range and creating a separate business.
Q3. Where do you get the ideas for your designs/colours etc.?
'Jesse' necklaces are the first ones I made and the original design. They have five geometric beads and the design was inspired by a painted wooden necklace I had which my son Jesse broke (and almost strangled me in the process!).
All of the jewellery I make is based on jewellery I own or on high street trends. I think it's important that they are attractive as a necklace in their own right as well as being functional for mums.
Q4. How do you find running a business and being a momma?
It's hard work! I have a day job three days a week but I'm currently on maternity leave. Balancing a job and a family with running a business is tricky. The day to day running of the business is fun. I love making the jewellery and packaging orders to send out to mums. However, finding the time and motivation to develop the business further and keep on top of paperwork are elements I haven't mastered yet.
Q5. What's the best thing about being a mum boss?
The best thing for me is the flexibility it offers. I'm able to keep my profession but work part time so I get more time with my family as Little Magpies work can be done in the evenings when the boys are in bed. I love making things for mums and aim to make every parcel look like a treat. The days can be long when you're at home with a baby and having a pretty package containing a mum treat land on the door step can brighten an otherwise monotonous day.
Q6. What's the toughest thing about being a mum boss?
Work/life balance is always a struggle. I have missed out on opportunities to expand the business because there simply are not enough hours in the day to do everything. Plus I can't be away from my boys right now because my youngest is only three months. It has been hard watching other brands pop up since I began, sometimes with similar designs, taking opportunities which were open to me but I couldn't pursue.
However, I'm happy that at the moment I'm doing as much as I can and I have lots of ideas for the future. Ultimately my family comes first and I need to be around as much as possible for my boys while they are little. Recently I've made a promise to myself that when I'm with the kids my phone will only come out to take photos. It's hard to stick to when I hear Etsy messages coming through and of course there lure of Instagram is always tempting but I'm trying to resist!
Q7. How has being a mum changed you?
It's hard to remember life before children! Sometimes I wonder what on earth I did with my time before the boys came along.Before we had children my husband and I were keen travellers and spent long periods abroad, usually backpacking. At first travelling with children seemed impossible but we've done a few trips and it's much fun than we could have imagined.
Although life is busy I feel like I've slowed down in some ways. I appreciate the small things more than ever before. I've learnt to enjoy small scale fun because my almost three year old can find the most ordinary thing fascinating! I have a greater respect for my parents too. My mum went back to work full time when I was six weeks old and I've no idea how she coped.
Q8. What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
My day job is incredibly challenging especially since having children of my own. Therefore, I really appreciate how lucky I am to also have a business which allows me to be creative, do something I really enjoy and meet other mums and small business owners. I never tire of the work that goes into Little Magpies I could sit for hours in my little study if I had the time! I love getting feedback from customers and seeing photos of mums and babies enjoying my products.
Q9. What is your favourite thing to wear for your babies from little magpies?
Of the necklaces the Jesse style is my favourite. It was the first design I made and of course it's named after my boy! I love the bangles and wear them all the time even when I'm not with the kids. When I'm at my day job I wear them because they are wipe clean and flexible so are comfy while typing on a laptop. I don't put much imagination into my work clothes so it's great to add a pop of colour with some jewellery.
Q10. If you weren't creating little magpies jewellery what would you be doing?
Well I guess I would be a full time Social Worker but that's not appealing at all! I'm sure I would be doing something else creative. I'm not artistic and I can't draw to save my life but I enjoy crafts and I recently started to teach myself to crochet. I'd love to be a better photographer too especially since having children because like all
Mums I can't resist taking endless photos of my kids. It's one of the many things on a bucket list of things I want to do!