image from alarabiya.net
To take time off after making a baby or to try to juggle the lot? One thing I knew was that I definitely could not miss a Christmas period of sales, in just 8 weeks I make about 90% of my years salary : S
I remember I had some concerned friends worry about me not taking maternity leave, I remember thinking at the time that it didn’t feel that hard really. I was working doing the easy part, order management, the collection was already produced and in stock, Tilda slept a lot and I was able to just check mails and forward to my mum that takes care of order fulfillment, simple, right?
What I hadn’t realised was the major importance of the REST of what I usually do, it’s easy not to notice the importance of social media presence and all the little extra things you do when you’re able to focus as much as you like on work. Just being present online perfecting pages with items for sale and talking about new opportunities, products and keeping up with everything others are up to makes a massive difference to eventual sales, these things are the building blocks to an online business, without them you are just running on what others do to promote you. Though tbh, I needed time, I needed more time to enjoy my new job, being a mummy and focusing on every moment of the amazing journey.
But when you are a sole trader you know that time off means the definite shrinkage of your company, it’s unavoidable, no one else will do the work you do, without you, the company dissolves… so it is simply not possible to afford the time off, not even if you can get ok maternity pay, it’s a lot more than a weekly income that you eventually lose, in my mind : / (though, perhaps I’m wrong, please comment below on your own experiences)
Because I’m not officially ‘off work’ I am utterly torn between being a mummy and trying to juggle emails and orders. I love both, but trying to do both at the same time ruins them both, I’m not able to live in the present and enjoy the magic of being a mummy and I’m not able to get the buzz from work going well. At one stage I think I may have had some kind of ‘Post Natal Anxiety‘, I got sick for no apparent reason for over 3 weeks and really lost any kind of level head I had before, I felt as if I couldn’t see any kind of big picture other than the stress of not being able to get time to work and feeling worn down by parenthood. How on earth people manage this job alone I do not know, without the support of my amazing husband I don’t think I’d have survived, it’s been a two person job and I feel very lucky that we are in Sweden where father’s are allowed time to bring up their children too.
So, the solution is in development as I write. I’m slowly getting myself organised, I’m literally trying to change the way I function as a human, it feels massive. I have dug deep to work out what I am doing that works and what needs to improve, what I feel is important and what I have been doing purely because I feel as if ”that’s what people do”
A quote from one of my favourite films of all time, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ comes to mind a lot ”Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”
What I do know is that I would be sad to lose all I have built up with EKA, I have reached a point where I feel very positive about the future of the brand. I also know that I need to make sure I savour every day with my little family, I can’t feel frustrated that I’m not able to work, any guilt about not working ruins the enjoyment of time I spend just being in the moment with my loves.
So, I’m working out a way to feel less overwhelmed by things, I’m climbing up the mountain and once I have some systems in place I’ll be on top of it feeling pretty bloody victorious. I’ll be able to focus 100% on work on my designated days and then life and home the rest of the time. There’s still so much to do renovating the house and keeping things moving along in life, it’s felt a bit like we’ve put everything on hold the last year and a half.
So, I suppose I should have taken time off when Tilda arrived. In a way I feel as if people that work for larger companies have a more enjoyable time, proper ‘time off work’ really getting stuck into enjoying the magic of motherhood, but then I see them getting ready to start back after their time off and I feel lucky again. I might not have managed to turn work off, but if I can make this juggling act work I think in the long run I will have cracked it. I would like to have more money in the bank, sure, but to be honest, we humans manage with what we have most of the time, something I read somewhere was ”if a problem can be fixed with money, it was never a problem” … that’s right, there are so many things in life to appreciate and ”if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it!”.
So maybe our house renovations will take longer than we’d hoped and maybe expensive holidays and other treats will be off the agenda, but as long as the important things are taken care of, like waking up happy and content with where we are and where we’re headed in life, it’s all good really, eka’s world domination can wait until I have more time on my hands for that ; )
I’ve been so awful at keeping up this blog since little Tilda arrived, I’m sorry.
Life hasn’t been so easy to juggle and I’m learning a lot about who I am and how I work, now that I am trying to do the most important job of all, parenting, I have found it hard to fit anything else in tbh : /
I now get 2 days a week when Nils takes care of Tilda and I escape to an office in Malmo where I get to focus 100% on eka. It’s not been easy to jump between the two versions of myself but with the help of practice, ‘to do’ lists and idea notes I am getting much better at putting the right hat on each day!
I really feel like organisation is key in juggling everything, gone are the days that I can sit waiting for inspiration embarking upon virtual journeys for hours reading blogs and pondering pinterest boards, I need to maximise each moment I get to work. Priority is key, I’m working towards making certain that each item I have in the collection is working it’s hardest in each shop (BigCartel, Etsy, NotOnTheHighStreet, HardToFind and GiftWrappedAndGorgeous) I have copy writing and photography high on my list of importance so that once that’s done I can shift my focus towards more newness and development.
I am also looking for some help to put my designs into written patterns for how to kits, do you know how to write crochet patterns? – contact me if you’re interested.
This time last month I was crocheting like a maniac to get a box of ‘Elf Booties’ off to NotOnTheHighStreet in time for the ‘StylistLIVE’ event that happened this weekend.
I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll say one thing, there’s some blood, sweat and a few tears woven into those turquoise booties complete with jingling bells on the toes. I felt so relieved when I read the ‘your parcel has been delivered’ message on the TNT tracking page, not sure how long I’d been holding my breath for, maybe 6 days : /
My reward has been seeing all of the lovely images on Instagram and Twitter, I feel like it was an enormous achievement for me to manage to make them in the time, especially with my little side kick and all the previous arrangements that couldn’t be put on hold, one being Tilda’s First Birthday and another being an epic holiday to Crete (deadline was the day we left for Greece, boy I earned that holiday! haha, so worth it.
I haven’t been updating this blog since our little Bean arrived last year, I’m sorry to anyone that was a die hard and stuck with us, if there were any of you out there!
2015/16 seemed to be they ‘year for great coverage’ for eka, we had a bunch of editorials featuring items from the collection, which was great.
Our biggest amount of attention has been from NotOnTheHighStreet , we are so thankful for their continued support, offering us such amazing opportunities, I even got to experience a day filming an advert with them for Valentines!! Tilda came along and they provided an on set nanny for her, I felt like royalty, to say it was a great experience is an understatement, it’s one I’ll never forget (I fear Tilda already has forgotten her time spent with the same on set nanny as was used on the Harry Potter set! don’t worry though, I’ll keep reminding her ; )
There was some amazing coverage in digital and printed media over the winter period too, here’s a few examples of those, my fav being Mollie Makes, that magazine is a bible to handmakers and I feel so proud to have been spotted by them.
So, behind the scenes a lot has been going on here. On the 23rd September we welcomed a little girl into the world. It’s been incredible to experience such a great pregnancy and birth supported by the lovely midwives here, they were 100% behind my desire for a natural birth, even when my natal hypnotherapy meditation made me relax way too much and stall the pushing contractions! : S (I think I shouldn’t have been falling asleep to my CD’s… maybe I never actually got as far as the ‘pushing her out’ bit! hehe)
Life is great and we’ve almost decided on a name…almost!