Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Samantha Jennings, I became a mum in 2013, and started by business in early 2016.
I am a 30 year old mum to a beautiful boy called Thomas, who is coming up 3 years old, and a gorgeous girl called Emily, who has just turned 1 year old. They are absolutely wonderful and fill me with joy, even on the days when I’ve changed 20 pairs of pants and they are climbing up the stairs, again!
My husband is called David. We met via Match.com and are now living our very own ‘digital fairy tale’. He is handsome and kind, and incredibly supportive of me being a stay at home mum and starting my business.
I am a Women’s Institute member, I love to make things, watching science fiction films and if I had to chose between never having chocolate or cheese ever again, I’d have to keep cheese. I just couldn’t live without it!
What’s your business called?
Made by Mummy Markets
Can you describe it in one sentence?
An affordable market place for crafting mothers to sell their creations.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
The idea for Made by Mummy Markets has been brewing in me for about 2 years, but it was joining the WI and having my second child that really made me do it in early 2016. Emily was a really good baby and started sleeping though pretty well. We have been blessed with two healthy children and after the blur of those initial new baby months began to clear I started to think more and more about my business ideas. As a member of the WI I meet lots of amazing women, and read about them in the magazine, WI Life. I decided that I’ve managed a successful career before kids, and now I keep two small people alive all day, so really I can do anything I set my mind to.
How did you fund your start up?
My initial costs were pretty small so I was able to fund that out of our household income and I knew I could recoup my costs from my first event. I needed to pay for some printing of banners and flyers to promote my first event, venue hire and insurance. My husband has been very supportive in allowing me to use the household income in this way. Other things I use for the business have built up over time and family members have contributed to them as gifts for Christmas/birthdays etc. Things like a laptop, a smart phone, and sewing machine.
How do you manage working around your children?
I am a stay at home mum and we don’t use any other child care. So I look after my children all day, every day. I use a lot of social media based marketing, and email which I do in the evenings. Ultimately there are only so many hours in the day and somethings have to be prioritised. Generally the ironing gets pushed to the bottom of the list and I catch up with house work in dribs and drabs. I have to remember to make time for the odd night off, and the odd date night with my husband, other wise what’s the point in all of that hard work. Because many of my clients are also mums I do lots of meetings during the day combined with play dates, so my kids are always with me. It is not always ideal, but I’m working with families, and we are a family so I think people like to see that side of me. When I have an event the children are looked after by a grand parent.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I often have a 15 minute social media window while my husband has breakfast with the children first thing in the morning. Then I catch up in the kitchen, clear up breakfast, do any prep for the dinner, empty the dishwasher and chuck in a load of washing (how is there always so much washing?!). Once David has gone to work I pack the nappy bag and most days we head out to a play date or toddler group locally. I am a stay at home mum so I find the interaction of toddler groups great for the kids and for me. I couldn’t just stay at home all day.
We have some lovely parks in our town and we don’t get put off by the rain so most days include a walk and my son loves splashing through the puddles on his balance bike. We do lots of free activities. Puddle jumping, picnic lunches in the train station (very exciting!), the library and we have memberships at a couple of museums so can go as often as we like.
We normally head home at about 3pm. 4-5pm is know as ‘danger hour’. The smallest thing can become a total melt down. She touched my toy train, he stood on her finger, the wind blew on me….I think mostly they are just really for dinner, bath and bed but it’s just a bit too early for that. So generally a bit of Peppa Pig comes to the rescue while I cook dinner.
We normally eat around 5pm, David’s home at 5:30pm, bath at 6ish and wee ones in bed by 6:30pm. I normally make it back downstairs for 7pm and have a quick clear up and start working on the laptop. Some nights I just do an hour or two, sometimes I’m working till 11pm. It just depends on what is coming up. I mostly work on plans for up coming events, marketing, emails, website content and recruiting new makers.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
So far, tiredness. I have to remember to have an early night once a week. If the kids are sick that throws everything off. But they come first, end of. That’s the beauty of being my own boss. I try not to leave anything to the last minute, because I can guarantee that’s the time the kids will have me up all night. I also have a business plan that starts small. For the preschool years of my children’s life my business is growing, but I am being realistic and not over committing myself. I see these as foundation years, on which I can build huge towers of success once my children are in school and I can operate more normal office hours.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
My children are my priority and I don’t have to justify that to a boss. Being a mum is also a gateway to a market of clients that I don’t think I could have reached or understood as well before being a mum myself. I am very proud of my work and as my children get older I hope they will be able to see how they have inspired and driven me. I am working, but I spend every day with my kids. It can be hard and tiring, and I have had to give up things. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to grow my business. To support other mothers turning a crafting hobby into a professional business that makes more money than it costs. I plan to break into new geographically areas, spreading out from my home town. Potentially creating a franchise for other mumpreneurs to take on in their own locality.
Ultimately I hope that the extra money I can bring into our home will pay for home improvements, creating the family home we dream of, together, alongside my husband. Taking some of the financial burden off his hard working shoulders.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Start small. But start. Make a plan but DO something. Have an go. Don’t underestimate the power of social media as a free marketing tool! Oh, and join your local WI!
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Real life arts & craft fairs in North Yorkshire and an e-commerce website.
My fairs are designed to be easy for mothers to attend, short and sweet on Sunday afternoons, just like tea and cake. Low stall fees keep your costs down and your profits up.
The website is the craft fair that never closes. You don’t have to be stood behind a stall every weekend to sell your creations.
What makes us different?
Makers are selected by invitation or application to ensure a high quality of craftswomanship is maintained. Homemade and handmade crafts are key, it’s got to be something more spectacular than just bits you’ve bought and stuck together yourself.
A spectrum of crafts on display. Good old favourites yes, but more as well. Floristry, the written word, pottery……and the list goes on.
Support. I also arrange a number of expert speakers to attend workshops with the Makers. These are both practical and informative. Covering areas like product photography and basic book keeping. Whenever possible these experts are also mums working from home, full of top tips for getting the job done.