Local mums showcase their achievements
Christmas is just around the corner, a time of celebration, and for one group of local small business owners, the opportunity to come together to celebrate and showcase their achievements this year.
On Saturday November 28 these ladies will gather for the Wimbledon Christmas Market at The Everyday Church in central Wimbledon from 12.30-3.30pm.
The market was the brain child of local Mumprenuer Nina Read, founder of Nina Read Designs, to bring together some of the mums she has met through the SW19 Mums page on Facebook, who have also taken the plunge and run their own businesses, alongside being a mum and all that entails.
Nina said: "Over the past year I have met many amazing women who, after having children, have chosen not to return to their previous career and have instead become their own boss. Whether to return to work is rarely an easy decision and I would like other women facing this decision to be inspired by these ladies and see the possibilities. We would like to invite the local community to come to the market to show their support for these ladies and find some fantastic Christmas gifts."
Businesses taking part in the event include Nina Read Designs, jewellery and homewares; Little Eva Designs, papercut wall art; Muklet, Americana & Vintage for kids; CeCe & Me, children’s shoe fitting; Meggy & Me, online cushion boutique; Harper Blue, handmade baby & toddler accessories; and many more. All run by Mumpreneurs who previously had careers in teaching, PR, healthcare and fashion design to name a few.
Achieving a balance between work and family is never easy, some feel intense pressure to return to the workplace, while others feel that there is simply no choice. It is a constant juggling act to maintain a career, whilst meeting the needs of your family and the burden of childcare costs can leave some to question whether it is all worthwhile.
For mums who make the choice to stay at home there are many challenges to overcome, lack of financial independence, loss of identity, loss of future career progression, challenges to dynamics in relationships and lack of adult company.
However, there is increasingly a breed of mums who choose to stay at home and take control by setting up their own business – now known as Mumprenuers. While this is not the ‘eureka’ answer to achieving the perfect work/life balance - it involves heaps of drive and determination, frequent late nights and the ability to juggle commitments like never before - it does allow you to be your own boss, to work flexibly and, most importantly, to spend the precious time with your children.
Nina Read added: "There are so many inspirational mums in SW19 and the surrounding areas, who are forging a new career path and building businesses that fit around their family life. This event is about championing these ladies, coming together as a community and supporting local business."
The stall holders include:
Nina Read, Nina Read Designs, Jewellery, Homewares & Gifts
I’m ‘just’ a stay-at-home mum turned ‘Mumpreneur’ … working when my little girls are asleep - if they sleep…!
Juggling kids and trying to start up a small business at home from scratch means lots of late nights and lots of frustration – chiefly about not having the capacity to fulfil all my dreams and goals. It’s true, I have been tempted to throw in the towel a couple of times but I have always returned to the drawing board more motivated and with fresh ideas. And at the end there’s the incredible satisfaction that comes from successfully completing a sale, project, or event.
My business is my escape: a chance to feel a bit grown-up between playdoh, building blocks, and jumping in puddles.
Cath Merrick, Little Eva Designs, Papercut Wall Art
I returned to work as an Occupational Therapist in a busy London Teaching Hospital after my second child, however with two children under three years old the child care costs wiped out nearly all my salary. I was unable to reduce my hours in the long term making the choice to leave work the only option. After 19 years of working for the NHS this was a huge step into the unknown.
I have always being a crafty person, so it was the obvious choice to turn this talent into a business and Little Eva Designs was born. I started making family trees for friends, then my first sale was made four days before Christmas 2014 following a post on the SW19 Mums Facebook page, the subsequent response was amazing with eight orders overnight ,since then I have not looked back and my business has continued to grow.
This has meant long hours fitting in around the children and many late nights. It has taken a great deal of grit and determination to build my business but the joy of being my own boss and being able to be there for my children has made it worth it.
Little Eva designs specialises in personalised papercut wall art such as family tree, baby gifts and papercut animals and butterflies. I also take commissions for work.
Laura Bonnell, Muklet, Americana & Vintage for Kids
Muklet was founded in May 2015 by Laura Bonnell. Laura has worked as a fashion designer for the past 16 years for such brands as Ralph Lauren, Barbour and Jack Wills. She is a mother to her own cheeky muklets; two boys aged 5 and 2.
Muklet was born after Laura realised she was unable to easily find clothes and homeware for her cheeky muklets that was original and authentic (and definitely not cute and pastel)! Drawing on her love of American Vintage for inspiration (her husband could also be termed as an American Vintage!), and combining it with her passion for Crafting in England she has created a range of childrenswear, homewares and gifts that are truly unique, beautifully made and most importantly fun!
Samantha Chetwood, CeCe & Me, children’s shoe fitting
I loved my job in the City but after returning to work following the birth of my first child the gloss had gone off it. I felt constantly compromised, never having enough time to dedicate to work or to being a mum, so after having my second child I took the tough decision not to return. However, I knew I needed something for myself, something as a focus for my energy other than my beautiful daughters.
I am not blessed with a talent for craft, so inspired by many frustrating shoe shopping experiences and conversations with other mums the idea of a mobile shoe fitting service was conceived. I spent six months training with the Society of Shoefitters and doing lots of research before launching the business in April this year.
It's still early days, I still have lots to learn and I am sure the business will continue to evolve and adapt. It is hard work and I still never feel I have enough time for work or family but I do feel I have a much better balance than had I returned to my previous career. I get to spend more time with the girls and I love working with children, they are so much fun!
Leah Parker, Meggy and Me, online cushion boutique
Born from the sheer frustration of failing to find cool and unique cushions on the high street that don't cost a fortune, I invested in a sewing machine and started making my own cushions. It was only when my husband said he couldn't fit on the sofa for all the scatter cushions that I thought maybe I could turn this into a business and so leahandherlovelies was born.
When my first child Meghan was born I changed the name to meggy&me and I love it. I have since taken the hard and brave decision to leave teaching and declutter my house of teacher's paperwork and endless laminated resources in exchange of fabric and cushion inners! I am now able to prioritize my time so it works for my family. I no longer have to live with the guilt of not being able to give 100% to my job whilst dealing with the guilt of paying someone else to care for my child whilst I go and look after other people’s children.
November 20, 2015