The very lovely Christine owner of Herbert & Stella is my new business Mum on the blog today, she not only comes offering a fantastic discount of 15% code for her fantastic website – please use thismummyloves at the checkout (ends Valentines Day 2013); she is also offering a gorgeous prize which you can find out about at the end of the post!
Thank you so much for your time Christine, I wish you every success in your new venture! Your shop looks absolutely gorgeous and I wish I was close enough to visit you… one day maybe
Who are you?
I am Christine Asher, former Doctor of Chinese Medicine, wife to Tom, mother to Romilly. Dizzy blond, recovering crisp addict and magpie for all things fabulous.
What do you do?
I have a small shop in Ilkley, and also online, selling a carefully selected range of clothing, toys, gifts and décor / furniture for babies and children aged from birth to five.
When did you establish your business?
We opened the shop, and the webshop on the 20th July 2012
What made you start your own business?
I had been very ill with PND and social phobia following the birth of our daughter. As I got better, I realised I wanted to work again but did not want the responsibility and stress of my previous career, using Chinese Medicine to assist fertility treatments. My husband had bought me a sewing machine, and I learnt to sew and make vintage inspired children’s clothes. I thought about just selling the items I made, but I didn’t think I would ever make much money, or leave my spare bedroom! I spotted a gap in the market in our local town for quality, children’s clothes and toys that you don’t find easily on the high street, and that were priced at a similar point to Boden or Monsoon.
What do you love about working for yourself?
It doesn’t feel like work, in all honesty. Every day brings new challenges and the opportunity to meet new people. I am so glad we have a shop as I have the opportunity to build relationships with many different people in the community; I was worried I may have felt isolated if my business was online only. I thought very hard before I committed myself to the business if it was something that would hold my interest long term, but there is always something fresh to work on and get excited about as the collections change seasonally, and I have lots of opportunity to be creative within the shop – window displays, packaging, visual merchandising etc
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
My husband helped me to realise that I do not need to try and be wonder woman. There are several hugely important skills that I simply do not have, but it is absolutely fine to delegate! I am so lucky to have the most wonderful member of staff who has worked with us from the beginning, and happily, she excels where I fail miserably! I have always worked for myself so the uncertainty of income when working for yourself is normal for me.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
I knew setting up the shop would be a lot of work, but I had no idea it would be as much work as it was. On the whole I am very pleased with the decisions I have made, and the look and feel of the shop, however we have had a few problems along the way. One supplier went bust, owing us money, and our promotional material to launch the shop was truly appalling and not what we had asked for, but we had to use it as we had no time left! Oh, I forgot – our dog had a litter of puppies in September that was hard!!!I would definitely change that bit, although they were incredibly cute. It was the most emotionally and physically exhausting night ever, being the dogs birth partner!!!
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
It is very important to try and think rationally, not emotionally about the business. You may think it is the most wonderful idea, and be so passionate about it, (which is great) but it must stack up financially. We worked out the daily and weekly break-even figures, in the business plan, and then thought hard about whether we felt that realistically, it was manageable. I also thought hard about the initial sacrifices I was prepared to make, and ultimately, what my ideal working week would look like, so I know what I am aiming for.
Christine is offering this gorgeous Sandwich the cat soft toy from Bla Bla Kids worth £29.00 to one of my lucky readers…
All you need to do is enter via the rafflecopter below! Good Luck!