Bev started her Etsy store just to prove she could do it. After having a unique honeymoon, she realised she could turn it into an actual business which would allow her to stay home with her kids. By attending trade shows, building relationships and taking marketing courses, she made her dreams happen. Here’s how she did it:
Tell us about your business or blog
I am a jewellery designer and metalsmith who handcrafts minimalist eco-friendly jewellery for value-driven women.
Why did you start it?
Initially, I opened my Etsy shop for fun and to prove to myself I could do it. I have always loved making jewellery, and after going on a pearl-buying binge I needed something to do with the pieces I had created.
I left my job to go on an untraditional honeymoon with my husband backpacking around South America for 5 1/2 months, and when we returned, I decided to try to make it a viable business. We were starting to talk about having children, and I realised I wanted to be home with my kids. Having my business would allow me the flexibility to also be a stay-at-home mom, while also giving me something to do that was just for me.
What steps have you taken to get traction?
To gain traction in my business, I started doing local craft shows. I also took online courses to learn more about different aspects of marketing, such as blogging for creative business owners and reading tons of blog posts about e-mail marketing and social media. For a while, my blog took on a life of its own, but I formed some great friendships that way, and some of them even became customers!
This year I have spent more time networking online with other business owners. I also started doing wholesale trade shows to get my jewellery in more stores.
What has been the main way of getting your name out there?
It’s been a little slower, but I have found online networking through Facebook groups to be a great way to get my business out there and to be known as a jewellery designer.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
I think two of my greatest challenges is my mindset and sustaining my energy. I’ll have an idea, such as a way to partner with a fellow business owner or a blog series, and get super excited about it. Then I start to doubt it and lose momentum. I don’t know that they are necessarily something I have overcome, but they are challenges that tend to ebb and flow.
This year, in particular, my biggest challenge was dealing with pregnancy symptoms while trying to run a business and take care of my daughter. I had about six weeks in my first trimester where I had no energy and felt so sick. I did the bare minimum of work for my business, and it really set me back. It was frustrating, but at the same time, I gave myself permission to focus on the things that were most important at that time: making sure I was taking care of myself and my daughter. I realized how fortunate I was to be in a position where I could actually nap and rest every day, which I would not have been able to do if I were working for someone else.
What has been your biggest success in your business?
For me, it’s two things: pushing and growing myself creatively and learning new skills that have opened the doors to other opportunities. Even if my business doesn’t work out or I put it on the back burner for a bit after my second daughter is born, I know I have other options thanks to the skills I learned from being an entrepreneur.
What is your family life like outside of business?
Family meals are very important to us. We eat breakfast and dinner together most days. On the weekends we often get together with friends for potlucks or playground meetups so our children can play together.
Up until recently, my almost 4-year-old daughter has been home with me most of the week. We would spend time having playdates at people’s homes or local museums in the colder weather or at playgrounds in the warmer weather. We were also fortunate to be part of a parent-run childcare coop for two years. This fall is a big shift for us, as my daughter starts preschool and we’re expecting baby #2 in early December.
My husband and I are also big on making time for each other and with our friends, as well as finding time for activities that bring us each joy. We want to model for our children the importance of self-care and doing things we enjoy. For example, I’ve been part of a book club that has been going strong for 8 years!
What do you love most about being a business mum?
I love that my daughter actually knows and sees what I do. If you ask her what I do for work, she’ll tell you that I make jewellery. It’s been fun to involve her in the process as well, such as having her with me when I set up for a show.
What advice would you give someone getting started today?
Connect with others, both those specific to your field as well as other mum business owners. There will always be challenges you will face as a small business owner, and it’s important to have a network of people who are in your field to whom you can reach out to be a sounding board and your cheerleaders.