When did you start your business & why?
I spent my early working life in London as a PA having done a secretarial course after leaving school. I continued working after getting married and stopped when we had our first child. We moved out of London, two more children quickly followed and we took the decision that it wasn’t practical for me to return to the work I had been used to.
Plus, and I think more importantly, we felt I should be a full time Mum when then children were little. Then, as the children all got into the school routine, I found I had a bit of time to do something and needed to bolster the household earnings. I started making and selling personalised greetings cards. This evolved into hair accessories when I thought that some of the bits and bobs I was using for my cards were so pretty I felt they should be worn. One of the first products I designed were the rose clips which are still a best seller.
What’s been the highlight of running your own business so far?
Every year I take the plunge and have a stand at Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia. I have exhibited there for five years now and it is always such buzz when I meet customers face to face and get positive feedback on my designs. Also, to have continued support from loyal customers who visit the fair and then continue to buy throughout the year online, is a wonderful confidence boost. It is an exhausting week but so rewarding on many levels.
How do you organise your time?
My time certainly does take a bit of organising! However, I am lucky enough to have a room at home that I can use as my office. It makes a big difference being able to leave everything out, not having to take up time tidying things away and be able to shut the door on it knowing that children/dog won’t disturb anything. So I grab the opportunities to get into my office as and when I can which seems to be working.
What’s the biggest life lesson you want to pass down to your children?
What business tip would you offer to mums starting out alone?
As above, start something that fulfils you whether it be creatively, intellectually or socially and then you will have the drive to cope with inevitable set backs. When you are faced with a problem – deal with it as best you can, learn and move on.
What’s does your ‘mum uniform’ comprise of?
When I’m at home working whilst also doing housework, dog walking and meal preparation etc. it is practical i.e. jeans, jumpers and comfy shoes. But during the week at ‘Spirit’ I dress as though I were going to an office – not in a power dressing kind of way – just smart, well I think so anyway! It definitely helps me to look and feel the part when I’m on my stand selling my wares.
You can find out more about Vanessa and her beautiful range of luxurious accessories at www.rudidesigns.co.uk