What is your name
What is your business name
Astro (Interior Design and Art Gallery) & PLUM (baby and children’s fashion)
Please tell us about your business
I have 2 businesses’, the first – my art and interior design business that I started in 1997 but slowed down when I had my first baby. I still represent artists and I have a big old Victorian home that doubles as my gallery. I do not do so much interior design any more as I do not have the time – I am busy working with my husband in our family business, which is a fashion business for children. I love it and am passionate about it and really excited to see how the business is growing and evolving,
How long have you been in business?
Although I have had my own business since 1997 I have only been working for PLUM in the last year since my youngest child started day-care.
What inspired you to start your business?
My father inspired me to start my own business. My father had his own business that he started in his mid twenties and growing up he had always told me that I must do the same. So for me it was a natural progression.
Initially I started small by cutting back the hours I was working in my job. I did get a bit of a push though. A friend who was a journalist was doing a story on generation X’s starting their own business – it was going in the Daily Telegraph and he interviewed about 6 friends for the article, it was not expected to be a big story. However when I got the paper the story was on page 3 with a photo of me half the page and the other half an entire story was about me starting up my interior design business with the caption Eugenie Planning the start of her new business. It was a sign for me that the time was right. I resigned that day and have never looked back.
How do you try and maintain work-life balance as a Mumpreneur?
The best thing about having your own business is being about to control your work-life balance. I have 3 dedicated days for working when my 4 year old and 2 year old are at kindy. Working for myself means I can work the odd hours. If I wake up at 3am in the morning and cannot sleep I will work, I work from home so this also helps with flexibility as I can put on a load of washing in between what I am doing for work. On the days I have the kids at home I try to focus on my kids. I do find it hard not to respond to emails and phone calls and sometimes it is important and cannot wait. I have a great balance although sometimes it is tough squeezing everything I have to do in 3 days only.
What are your top tips for mums thinking of launching a business:
Don’t put it off just do it now. Get help in the areas you are not so good at and do a basic small business course.
What are your top marketing tips:
When starting out it is important to find all the ways you can market you business without spending money.
- Word of mouth is the way to start
- Take advantage of social media to gain exposure.
- You can get a Facebook page without spending any money
- LinkedIn is a great way to meet other relevant organisations and people.
- Writing a great media release on your business and products is a great way to get free promotion.
- Get to know personally relevant media so when they are doing a story that relates to your business they will contact you.
- Hold an event to launch and promote your business or product and create word of mouth buzz.
What is one of your favorite website resources for small business?
I don’t have a particular favourite but I use Google all the time for any questions I have or just to get ideas on marketing.
What business tools do you use to run your business?
We have recently started using social media are a business tool. We have found Facebook and Twitter to be useful marketing and networking tools as well as Pinterest and we are looking into trying out Instagram.
Have you undertaken any online courses or programs or engaged a coach to assist you to learn more about running an online business?
I have not taken an online course I did do a Masters in Art Administration at COFA UNSW and focused on marketing and promotion. Our accountant is more of business adviser; she is wonderful and very involved in our business she offers us lots of support and advice.
12. What is the best advice you could give mums wanting to become a Mumpreneur?
As a mum it can be a juggling act, so start small and build what you can manage. It is also important to work smart in the sense as a mum your time is very precious so every minute spent working and away from you family has to count.