Life Unexpected series interviewing Mumpreneurs, is in its eighth week now. We have been so overwhelmed by the response to this series, and are so happy that so many of you have been inspired by these wonderful mamas.
If you are really eager to start a business of your own, but are still too afraid to make the leap, then why not consider creating a business with a fellow mum?
Sometimes all we need is someone else to team up with, so that the road isn’t as scary. Who better to start a business with, than someone who understands first hand about how important family is and how work is going to be a flexible balancing act. This weeks interview is with two mums who have done just that.
If you missed last weeks interview with Mumpreneur Aly from Rainy Day Box, you can catch it here.
This week we’re interviewing duo Mumpreneurs Erica and Lydnsey, the founders of Anon Design, a graphic design company that creates the most beautiful stationary and paper goods.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
We’re Erica Ankers and Lyndsey Gribble, two close friends and mums who formed Anon Design in February 2015 through a mutual love of graphic design and illustration. Based in Plymouth, we love creating unique pieces of work for lovely people and focus our work on selling accessible stationery for everyone.
We have been friends for years (husbands have played in various local bands together). We both attended Plymouth College of Art and over the years have gained very similar design and marketing experience in the corporate world.
We have always loved creating together, be it making Erica’s wedding invites, organising exhibitions of our painted work and planning epic New Year’s parties. So it was a natural progression to start working together in our own time on more and more design projects for brides.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Erica has two children a 2 year old and a 5 year old.
Lyndsey has two children a 1 year old and a 3 year old.
Where do you like to work from?
We predominantly work from home with the occasional admin/planning meeting at a nice local cafe as a bit of a treat.
How do you balance both work and family life?
It’s a struggle and we don’t think we have quite mastered it yet. There are usually a lot of late nights. Most of the time work gets fitted in around nursery or nap times. Spending quality time with our children is our priority.
What is your vision/dream for your business?
We love working with brides and fellow wedding suppliers so if we could carry on what we’re doing now but on a bigger scale we’d be more than happy. We have just ventured out a bit more into the web design and web development area again (this was what we did in our old daytime jobs). We’d love to be recommended and recognised for our work.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
At the beginning struggle for us was all the hard work and endless lists that goes into launching a business e.g. website, marketing materials and just getting your name out there was very time consuming. It took a long time for all of our hard work to pay off and now we are recognised a lot more.
We attended a lot of wedding fayres and wedding creative networking events. Right in the middle of this when we were starting to get a lot more work Lyndsey’s little boy was born prematurely at 33 weeks which meant Erica had to shoulder a lot of the work. Also the sheer amount of work that goes into designing, printing, photographing and uploading to our website over thirty wedding stationery collections is slightly backbreaking!
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
There have been a few, getting our stationery featured on Not On The High Street, working with some fantastic wedding suppliers. Treating our lovely husbands to a meal to celebrate our first year at Anon. Working with your mate is always fun!
How did you fund your business?
At the beginning we both put in our own money to pay for the marketing and printing materials, now the business pays for itself. Being a designer makes us very mobile so we don’t need to pay any rent for premises, all we need is our laptops and good wifi!
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
It’s a lot of hard work, especially at the beginning and it might feel relentless. Don’t give up – you’ll get there!
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Wake up early before the little people and work through admin, then spend time with our children (usually doing a few sneaky emails). During naptime we’ll be busy creating bespoke designs for our clients. Then more family time until bedtime when we’ll usually work until around 10pm.
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
Oooh mum guilt is the worse. I think we’re doomed to feel mum guilt about the smallest of things until the end of our days. When mum guilt creeps in you just have to let it pass.
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
We usually have the weekends off with family, we get out of the house and like to visit the beach, go camping, drink G&T’s!!
Thank you so much Erica and Lyndsey for this lovely insight into how Anon Design came about. We love your designs and are really inspired by both of you coming together to start your own business’. We’re definitely going to be recommending you to everyone! Check out their website here if you haven’t done already.
What did you think about our interview with the Mumpreneurs from Anon Design? Let us know in the comments below.