The lovely Jennie is my new business Mum on the blog today. Jennie’s work is absolutely gorgeous; I love all her pretty notebooks over in her Etsy store – the link is at the end of the post so make sure you pop over and have a look
Who are you?
I am Jennie-Louise Whitham of JLW Illustration, based in Leeds, UK
What do you do?
I am a Surface Pattern Designer/Illustrator.
When did you establish your business?
What made you start your own business?
I enrolled on an online E-Course called ‘The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design’ created by Beth Nicholls and Rachael Taylor. The course provided me with the business know-how for becoming a freelance Designer and how to successfully become Self Employed. I already had a Degree in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design from Leeds Art College, which I gained in 2010, but hadn’t put to much use after having my Children. I began my degree in 2006 with my Eldest Daughter (then 2) and graduated with 3 children in 2010. It was the hardest 4 years of my life, but I was determined to put it to use. Working in a studio is currently not an option for me as I am expecting my 4th Child in the Summer, so being self employed and working from home is the solution I needed.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I work my own hours, mainly evenings and weekends when my husband is at home, which means it doesn’t affect my time with my children. I also have the ability to take on work that I know I can complete within the time-scale given, so I have the ability to turn down work, if necessary.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
It doesn’t always pay. Currently I am injecting all my income back into the business. Very rarely do I get to take anything back out. But I know that eventually I will be earning and that drive keeps me going.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
I would have started my business straight from Graduation in 2010. I had all the skills and business know-how in the palm of my hands, but I had health issues and a new-born which I used as an excuse, when looking back, I know I could have still done it anyway.
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
Do your research into the industry you want to enter. I never realised how large the Surface Pattern Industry was until I threw myself in there and realised it is massive. But all the hours researching and making contacts in the right places have helped me secure links that are helping me succeed.