The lovely Leone from My Art & Soul is my new business Mum on the blog today. Please stay a while and read her lovely honest interview and don’t forget to say hi to make her feel welcome You can also find Leone on Twitter and Facebook and if you love her products then treat yourself or someone you love with this 10% discount code ‘welcome10′ valid until the 30th June
Who are you?
Hi! My name is Leone, I’m married to Miles, I’m a mum of three (Talia 18, Finley 16 and Mya 12) and I live and work in sunny Shropshire!
What do you do?
As old-fashioned as it sounds, first and foremost I’m a mother and wife and proud of it!
In addition I run my own small business creating and making all sorts of crafty goodies (from ink paintings to needle felt animals with a few bits and bobs inbetween) but I mainly work in textiles. I have my own shop on Etsy where I sell a selection of my creations and I also take commissions via Twitter and my Facebook Page.
I love experimenting with new ideas and I have created a bestseller in the form of my ‘mini worry rabbits/cats’. These are proving extremely popular amongst children, in particular adopted and fostered children. Anxious adults are also big fans!
My younger daughter, Mya, is a keen craftsperson and always lends a helping hand at any fairs I attend. She makes tiny polymer clay animals which she sells alongside my goods and has even outsold me on occasion!
When did you establish your business?
I started officially trading 2 years ago. Before that it was on an ad hoc basis to friends and family which developed into craft fairs, an Etsy shop and commissions via lots of social media marketing!
While my children were still young I spent some time trying to figure out what I could do as far as work goes. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to put my children into child care and so that limited me to finding a job within school hours and term times. My husband encouraged me to go on a few college courses so I did a jewellery making evening course, a Btech in Visual Arts and then a Certificate in Humanities with the Open University. I then went on to train as a Teaching Assistant but after a 18 months of that I discovered it really wasn’t for me and I yearned to get back to being creative!
These courses fitted around family life and gave me the confidence to get back into the arts world which was something I’d missed for some years.
A couple of years ago I made some small felt Christmas decorations and cards which friends and family started asking for and one thing led to another….
What do you love about working for yourself?
The most satisfying part about working for myself is being able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to sort out family traumas, be they small or large! I can work around appointments, school visits, collecting/dropping off, food shopping and so forth. I can basically pick and chose my working hours.
Being an arty crafty type I love the freedom of being able to create what I want without the need to justify it to anyone! It’s a wonderful bonus that people like my creations enough to buy them and it’s lovely that my work can inspire people to commission me too.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
I am extremely fortunate as I am not the main breadwinner in our house, however, I do have a responsibility to bring in some extra cash. That means that I have to compromise with some of the work I’m offered which can be a bit disheartening. I also find the marketing side of running my own business to be amazingly time-consuming which is frustrating when all I want to do is create!
Is there anything you’d go back and do differently if you could?
I haven’t been trading very long so it’s difficult to think of what I would do differently. I’m still learning and my business is still slowly growing and I haven’t made any major mistakes so far… My worst habit is to say ‘yes’ to all requests and commissions before I check out their feasibility and potential profit making, there’s a fine line between providing goods at appealing prices and actually losing money!
What advice would you give to a mum who is considering starting her own business?
It depends on what the business is but I would recommend that if you are potentially going to be working from home it can be quite lonely and it is easy to get distracted by everyday matters so you need to be pretty disciplined. I find it can be hard to switch off from work and there’s the temptation to carry on working in the evenings and weekends if you’re not careful.
Leone is giving away one of her adorable ‘Worry Rabbits’ to one of my very lucky readers…
Share your troubles with this little rabbit. Just place him under your pillow and the rabbit will worry in your place. These 8cm little calico bunnies come in a decorated matchbox (5 x 4cm) and make an ideal gift for worriers big and small alike. Made from 100% unbleached calico cotton and stuffed with non-allergenic polyester filling. Matchbox is made from cardboard with calico cover secured by two colourful buttons. No two rabbits are the same, ensuring a unique gift. Just let me know if they are for a boy or a girl to ensure appropriate fabric patterns!
To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck xx