Good morning everyone; today we have another lovely mum in business on the blog. Please welcome Rebecca from Hugo’s Workshop. You can also find Rebecca on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so make sure you pop over and say hi. Rebecca is very kindly giving away one of her gorgeous personalised photo frames so make sure you read right to the end to see how you can win! ?
Who are you?
Rebecca de Jager, 34 year old mum of 2 boys in Maidenhead, Berkshire
What do you do?
I own Hugo’s Workshop, I make bespoke personalised gifts by engraving beautiful pieces of oak.
When did you establish your business?
I started making and selling products in 2013 just before my eldest turned 1. I did it alongside my day job for a couple of years and then took some time out during my pregnancy with the little one. When he was 10 months old I decided to quit the day job and focus on Hugo’s Workshop full time.
What made you start your own business?
It’s a funny story really, my husband is in the construction industry and came home from work saying that he had bought me a present. I was excited of course, what on earth could it be?
Well it was not a piece of jewellery like I was hoping, but It was an engraving machine!
What on earth was I supposed to do with that?
Anyway to cut a long story short, I decided that it would be really cool to make solid oak engraved photo frames. I really love the look and feel of oak, and I also take what feels like millions of photos of my boys! So it was engraved photo frames that I started off with. I found a factory in North Yorkshire that makes gorgeous chunky oak photo frames so I bought some. I made a few prototypes and gave them as gifts to friends. They were a massive hit! Friends then began to order them, then I started to get repeat orders. Then people who had received one as a gift started to order them too, either to give as gifts or to complement the ones they had received. It just spiralled.
Since then I have expanded my product range to include chopping boards, notice boards and even hammers. I’m always looking for the next thing. But it’s important to me that I use quality materials and that the items that I produce are the best that they can be. I do not want to be a “Jack of all trades”. I would much rather specialise on a few items and do them really well rather than spread myself too thinly and subsequently have the quality suffer.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I love the freedom of being able to work whichever hours I need to. If my son has an assembly or sports day, I can do some extra hours in the evenings to make up for it although my engraving machine is pretty noisy so I have to time it so that the engraving is done during the day.
My husband also works from home so we are able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner together most days.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
Even though my husband also works from home, he is in his office upstairs and I am in my office in our converted garage. I do get a little bit lonely at times and I do miss the office banter!
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
I might not have named the business after my son as I now have 2 sons and I need to think of something to name after the little one!
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
Aim high – you will be surprised at what you can achieve if you have a good product that people want.
There are so many free resources online that you can access online which have great hints and tips for business owners, make use of them! They are not only educational, but they are also very inspiring and help to keep your focus.
As I said at the beginning Rebecca is very kindly giving away a beautiful 7×5 photo frame (which you can have personalised with your own handwriting on the front if you wish) to one of my very lucky readers. All you need to do to enter is complete the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be notified by email on the 5th September 2017. Good luck x