Selling my handcrafted jewellery is nothing new to me, I’ve been making and selling jewellery since my early teens. Following the birth of my second child, I decided that whilst I was on a career break to be a fulltime mum, I was in a position to take things beyond a ‘hobby business’. So, in early 2010 I set up Poppy Sparkles. Originally, I set out to make wedding and special occasion jewellery, but the success of my little girl’s jewellery, especially pieces with birthstone crystals, has seen a complete re-think of my products. I now focus on birthstone jewellery for little girls and mummies. I’ve also developed my own charm necklace system where each charm can be removed/added, providing several looks with each set of charms – as well the added benefit of being able to put charms on a longer necklace if needed. I feel like I’ve found my own niche and also a product range that is very ‘me’ – I love gifts with meaning and I love mix ‘n’ match things that have more possibilities.
Like many other mums who run a business, my working day is somewhat different from your usual 9-5. After being woken up by either the baby girl or boy child it’s the usual routine to get everyone and dressed for the day and Daddy off to work. Whilst the kids are still in their chairs after breakfast, I get on with some laptop based work – ‘hello’ to the people of Twitter, checking my Facebook page and blog, as well as any other bits and pieces online that I need to do.
Most of my day is me in ‘mummy mode’ – playing duplo, painting, making soft-play areas out of cushions etc. With twitter on my mobile, I do manage to have a sneaky tweet throughout the day and when I need a break or my littlies are happy to play alone for a while, I retrieve my laptop and get a little more work done. There are a number of tasks that don’t require full-on brain power and these are the tasks I tackle whilst on mummy duty. Things like creating an Etsy treasury or drafting a blog post – tasks I can drop should I need to. Mostly I scribble things down in a notebook whilst in mummy mode and then action the idea etc when I can sit down properly. Things don’t take as long when I have peace and quiet, so it’s often quicker to leave things until I’m child-free! Being able to virtually touch type is also a bonus!
Until I get some lights for product photography, I am reliant on daylight, so if I need to get some photographs of new pieces I wait until snack time. Whilst the littlies are happy munching and safe strapped in their chairs, I can get some photographs. They seem to love watching me and then seeing the image on the screen. And, of course, I also take some photographs of them – they’re proper little posers!
I’m very fortunate to have my husband come home for his lunch, so if I have a rush order, I can leave him with the littlies and disappear to my workroom to sort an order. I then either despatch him back to work via the Post Office, or if the weather is pleasant, we have little walk to the Post Office after lunch.
Once my children are in bed, that’s when I am free to really get things done. I can finish off any blog posts I may have started drafting, tackle my to do list and create jewellery. Making jewellery is one thing I will only do whilst I am child-free – apart from the choking hazard beads present, I feel that my customers deserve my complete concentration when creating a piece of jewellery for them.
A lot of people comment on how much I manage to do with children, but there’s so much more I wish I could do. Now that my youngest is less reliant on the walking milk-bar to be around I am hoping to attend more events, both to help sell my jewellery, but also to network and meet new people. At times it can be frustrating not being able to get on with things, but I try and do what I can during the day, even if it’s just drafting a blog post or making notes so I get my ideas down before I forget them, then I can return to complete it later when I’m child-free.
Any business needs to be organised and always thinking ahead, but with children I think it more so. 2010 was my first year as Poppy Sparkles and I’ve learnt so much. For 2011, I have started to write a planner for the year with various ideas or actions for each month from blog posts to designs. I’ve just had a new look and feel that I’m starting 2011 in a much stronger position. I’d love to do Poppy Sparkles full-time, but realise that this is unlikely. However, I hope that it may enable me to teach part-time on supply rather than having to return to fulltime teaching, so I can be at home more with my children whilst they are small.