My favourite interview series is officially back on Life Unexpected! Yay! Welcome back to interview with a Mum in Business. I’m kicking off the re-launch for 2019 with a very exciting interview. Not only am I interviewing an amazing business woman, but she’s also based in my home county of Cornwall and she takes the most beautiful family photos!
Just wait till you take a peek at her work and if you live in Cornwall, you should seriously consider booking her.
This lovely Mum is also running a giveaway, which you can find out more about at the end of this post!
Interview With A Mum In Business: Sheena from Little Jewels Photography
Today I am interviewing Sheena who runs the stunning ‘Little Jewels Photography’, a family photography company that is based in Cornwall. Little Jewels specialises in capturing those ‘real’, ‘raw’ moments and honestly, Sheena’s photography is beautiful.
You can tell by reading her interview, just how passionate she is about her business and also just how passionate she is about capturing your precious family moments. Not those forced photos, but the candid, in the moment memories that you can look back on and cherish for years and years to come.
I am so proud to get to feature a Cornish business on Life Unexpected and I hope that you can support her in anyway that you can! But, enough waffling from me…lets get onto the interview:
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
Little Jewels Photography is all about taking the advantage of the enchanting Cornish woodland, beautiful coastline and unique rural spots for maternity, newborn and family photos. Cornwall really is a treasure chest for photography. It’s full of stunning locations to discover when taking pictures and I feel it really enhances the photography too. I am also extremely excited to expand, as I have two upcoming weddings to add to my portfolio.
July 2018 was the perfect time to focus on turning my hobby into the career I have always dreamed about and kick off Little Jewels professionally. My beautiful daughter and mini Jewels Coco, turned 1 in May 2018 and became a mini adventurer, giving me my right arm back from all the clingy cuddles (I’m secretly missing) and giving me the time to really focus on building my business.
I didn’t want to miss my mini Jewels growing up and knew that being self-employed was the perfect way for me to watch her milestones whilst earning money and still being part of the family life.
How did you get the idea for your business?
Deep down I think business ideas always come from experiences you have in your personal life and realising there is a missing link.
I was searching for a relaxed photographer that could capture my family in the moment, not just the picture, but the love and emotion that we see in each other every day. And that missing link was Little Jewels Photography.
Where do you like to work from?
I connect best with natural environments; the beach, woods, rural fields and farms. I love shooting from places that have a huge meaning to my clients too!
An engagement on Swan Pool beach with toes dipped in the sand, and then shooting their children playing in the same sand where it all started for the family. A family home where they have watched the children grow into adults and have grandchildren.
Getting together to have fun on the beach where they spent their childhood summers; the meaning behind the photos always give me the spark I need (and sometimes happy tears) to get the inspiration for the shoot.
Textures are another favourite of mine; in a family home using soft fluffy towels, warm fur throws, detailed wool blankets, handwoven wicker baskets – the list is endless! I really enjoy finding new locations and different props to use in different areas for clients too!
How do you balance both work and family life?
Oh boy! This is a tough one. Daddy Jewels plays a big part in this and we work a rota around when I can offer shoots, my time for editing, social media time and contacting new clients.
Taking advanced bookings only means I can manage my diary around family life without it interfering or missing out on events. I am almost 100% sure that all parents starting and managing a business do most of it under the cover of night, once everyone is in the bed and enjoying their dreams.
We are strapped to a cup of tea or coffee that went cold hours ago whiles we are knee deep in social media posts and editing pictures.
What is your vision/dream for your business?
Oh so many visions and dreams! The big one for me is to become the photographer that people think of when they want photos filled with love and fun, relaxed shoots no pressure to perform, just capturing the moment as it unfolds.
My dream is to expand my business with new clients, new locations, new ideas and for it to continue to work with my family life and to build my portfolio.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
It’s a scary world and opening up and saying “Hey I’m Little Jewels Photography – Let me show you my work” was pretty nerve racking. Selling myself has to be the biggest challenge, sharing my love and business with the world and hoping everyone loves it.
To build my portfolio I needed some professional shoots under my belt. My iPhone gallery would not cut it for this! So, I started to offer and run competitions to win a family portrait in exchange for full use of the images for social media.
It went down a treat which was a big relief and I am so pleased I made the jump and really pushed it. I spent many hours editing my images ready to whoo the world of Facebook and Instagram for potential clients to browse. Then just like magic my first paying customer! I’m pretty sure the overwhelming joy sparked out of me like fireworks getting that first booking. It still feels like that every time someone books me – I hope it never ends.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
That it doesn’t feel like work at all. I finally understand the meaning of enjoying to get up every day for work. I created this all by myself, I have pushed my business so far, from a tiny seed of an idea to what feels like a huge oak tree and it is growing by the day. I love to get recommendations from friends, family and previous clients who have spread the word!
I get to run a business inputting my creative ideas and visions exactly how I want and I only have myself to answer to. Of course, I am new to this and I will trial ideas and I am sure try others, but isn’t that the best bit – learning? I can work around my family and I will never have to feel like I am losing myself due to long hours working for someone else.
How did you fund your business?
The first real business item that really started me on the right path was a 30th Birthday gift from my partner. A swanky new upgrade to my DSLR camera. I tried and tested it for a few months learning all the different settings and then started to offer free shoots in exchange for the client’s time and full use of the images for marketing. As time went on, I started to get enquiries for paid shoots and as these came in, I was able to buy new props, lenses and other equipment I needed. I think with any business it is a constant funding situation, to buy new props, equipment and marketing materials to keep up with demand.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
I think the quote ‘What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?’ perfectly describes the fear of failing and not enough positive thoughts of how life can be.
Take the risk and enjoy the climb! It will take a lot of hard work, sweat and tears but if you really want it, you’ll get there and the benefits of achieving a business that was once a dream outweighs anything I have ever experienced. Make sure you have a good support network around you with friends and family you can talk to, who will help to keep you going when you feel like you’re stuck.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
First things first..sneak down stairs as quiet as a mouse and inject copious amounts of caffeine before the house wakes up and ta da I am ready for the day ahead.
If I have a shoot booked for the day, I would pack up any equipment I am taking with me for the day, not forgetting the snacks! Check the weather for the whole day (just in case!), and then I’m off to meet the client at the location. After a quick chat about the day it’s time for some fun!
I really love to make sure the shoot is all about fun. I want natural smiles, laughter, love and silliness from all my clients. Capturing magical moments should never be forced. I want to capture the true light of my clients. Once the shoot is finished, I head home for some food, family time and a bed time story with my Littlest Jewel and then it’s time to inject more caffeine and start the editing process, put my battery packs on charge, social media updates and answering emails and enquiries.
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
Mum guilt is the worst. You have to keep telling yourself it’s all for them. Providing for you family is so rewarding. You have to keep work and family time separate, don’t let them creep into each other. Set times for yourself for business bits, then shut that away when it’s family time so that you are truly in the moment.
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
On the very rare occasion I’m not behind the camera, or reading bedtime stories or hoovering the house and I actually get some time to myself…I love to catch up with friends over a hot chocolate at my favourite place; Godrevy cafe. Or, go to the cinema and indulge in a large popcorn and bag of Milky Way Stars (my favourite!). Or, being a massive foodie, I love to try new places to eat and I’ll try the cocktail menu too!
What is your favorite thing about the products that you create?
Capturing those precious moments! Seeing families make memories to last a life time, capturing them, printing them, popping them into a frame and hand delivering them. Delivering their images and seeing their faces when they open their pictures is as much of a gift for them as it is for me.
Sheena is also kindly running a giveaway where you can win a mini photoshoot with her. If you live in Cornwall (or know someone who does), then feel free to enter and share this giveaway with all of your friends.
So, do you fancy winning a 15 minute family mini session at Tribe Truro on Saturday 16th March? For your chance to win, head over to this post here and follow three simple steps!
You can find Sheena on social media here:
You can also catch her in Tribe, Truro (the new natural learning cafe and play area) on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March. She’ll be there from 10am – 4pm on both days, running 15-minute fun family mini shoots.
Even better, all the photos she takes will be ready in time as gifts for Mother’s Day! Spaces are limited, so if you did want to book your 15-minute session contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for taking part in this interview series Sheena!
I love what your business is about and I really enjoyed your advice to Mums who are looking to start their own business. I’m also so glad you shared some of your challenges. I think too often people assume that business owners have lots of confidence, but its amazing just how many people (I’m one of them) find it so scary and difficult to put themselves out there. Thank you for making me and lots of others feel less alone in that!