Do you want to start a business from home whilst raising your children?
The term Mumpreneur, is becoming increasingly more popular as mums just like you and me are ditching going back to work, and are launching their own business’ from home.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting to know Mumpreneur’s who have done just this, and have been finding out how they funded their startups, how they deal with the niggly thing called mum guilt, and how they find times for themselves while they’re building they’re empires.
If you missed last weeks interview with Mumpreneur Carrie from Jewel Box, you can catch it here.
This week we’re interviewing Mumpreneur Iga, founder of Happy Little Folks, a company that creates the most adorable wooden blocks, for both children and grown ups.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
Happy Little Folks creates design-led wooden blocks and decor pieces for children (and grown ups). I started Happy Little Folks in November 2015. I decided to leave my full time office job after maternity leave and fulfil my need to create and make beautiful products for little ones and their parents. Naturally the whole motherhood experience inspired my idea for the creative business and choice of product.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have one boy, Orson, he will be 2 years old this July.
Where do you like to work from?
I work from my home based studio. I am running out of space so hopefully I will be able to rent out a studio once Orson goes to nursery.
How do you balance both work and family life?
It is been quite a journey to manage work and life and I think I am still learning, it is not easy, but doable. I am a bit of a workaholic, I always have ideas in my head and I always have a need to do something, but at the same time I am aware that I have to spend quality time with my toddler and do some housework. Orson is not in nursery so me and my partner (who is also freelance, which is a blessing) look after him and swap parental duties. There is definitely not enough hours in the day. I think the most important part of it all is planning. Good planning is a key!
What is your vision/dream for your business?
I take everything step by step, one thing at the time – I want to make sure I enjoy my entrepreneurial journey and don’t get overstressed like I used to do in my previous job. Most of all I would like my brand to be known for its beautiful, quality items for children. My vision and dream is to be able to produce a wider range of children’s wooden toys and decor pieces which you will be able to find in many design-led stores around the world.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
I think finding time to do everything (work+life) is the biggest challenge. I am still learning, but I feel like I am getting there. One of the main challenges was finding the right suppliers and manufacturers who cut my designs out of wood. You need to do a lot of research and test many different samples before you find the right product and people for the job. I wish I could do it all myself, I really enjoy wood-working, but it is simply impossible – painting and running a business takes my entire time. I am really lucky to have found the right people.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
I have to admit I was blown away by the positive feedback straight at the beginning. I realised I can actually make my living by doing what I love – this is what I always dreamt of and what brings me peace and happiness. I am so grateful for all the support I receive, it’s the biggest source of motivation (happy customers!). It can be quite tough out there, you feel exposed and vulnerable, but it is all a learning curve and it feels amazing when your hard work is appreciated.
One of the highlights is also the fact that I am my own boss now. I love it! 🙂
How did you fund your business?
I was lucky to have some savings which enabled me to fund my business.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
If you can’t stop thinking about this – just do it! If you do it with love – it will show. You will work hard and long hours, there will be ups and downs, but you will feel motivated and satisfied like never before.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I like to get up before 7 am, just before my toddler wakes up. Shower, coffee, quick breakfast and I am ready for work. I sort Orson out in the meantime too, with his morning routine. I try to take time ‘off’ from around half 11, so I can go for a walk or playgroup with Orson – of course I still check my phone (e-mails, social media) but I try to focus on my little one, make sure he has fun. I get back home for his nap time, so I can continue with work. I am lucky to have my partner working on freelance basis, so he is at home quite often and we share parental duties.
I’ve learnt that I am not productive in the evening, I am simply too knackered after the whole day of juggling it all, so I am not doing any ‘manual’ work, only e-mails, social media, website updates etc. I usually go to bed around 11-11.30pm.
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
Hmm, it is a tough one. I feel a lot of guilt when I am super busy with orders, especially wholesale orders. I feel bad I cannot spend as much time with my son as I would love to. But at the same time I know he is fine, he is a happy little boy and despite his young age. I have the impression he understands that mummy works. He knows he can always come and have a cuddle, I am always there for him.
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
Sadly, not often. It’s definitely one of the things I need to improve to keep a good balance and sanity. The only luxury at the moment is my Sunday yoga class – it’s so relaxing and I always look forward to it. I am sure with time, I will be out and about a little bit more often.
Thank you so much Iga for this lovely insight into your business and family life. We love you’re products and we are sure your new entrepreneurial journey will be a success! Be sure to check out Iga’s gorgeous website here. We really want one of her brand new toy wooden cameras and some storage boxes for our office!
Get 10% off at Happy Little Folks by entering LIFE10 at the checkout.
What did you think about our interview with Mumpreneur Iga from Happy Little Folks? Let us know in the comments below.