Tell us your start up story? How and when did you begin?
I started Forever Frames in November 2016. I had my third baby in April that year and up until that point I worked full time in the Legal Industry. I loved what I did but it was tough going working full time in a busy and demanding job with 2 kiddies but now that there was 3, working a full time job just wasn’t going to work for us as a family. Unfortunately reducing my hours to part time wasn’t an option with my employer so I was lucky enough to be able to pack it all in and walk away. My plan was to take a year out and see how things went.
While I loved being at home I felt that I needed something for me to keep my mind busy so I made up a couple of Christmas frames to give me something to do. Little did I know where it would lead to. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would take off to the extent that it has.
How did you fund your business?
After handing in my notice at work I was owed some holiday money from my time on maternity leave so I used some of that to buy a small amount of frames and stock. Initially then any money that I made went straight back into the business to buy more stock and packaging etc. It has been 100% self funded.
What would be the main challenges you face running your own business?
Trying to juggle it all can be hard sometimes. 3 kiddies can be demanding between school runs, homework, sports and a teething baby that hardly sleeps it’s all go. When you work from home as well it can be hard to switch off. I try to keep my work days to Monday to Friday as much as I can though. My eldest two are in school everyday so once the baby goes down for his nap I try to get as much work done as I can before I have to pick them up. Once they are all in bed then I’m back at it again, sometimes working late into the night to make sure orders are ready to go on time.
What keeps you motivated?
Being at home! For years I have worked a 9-5 (more like an 8-7 sometimes). I’ve done the long commute in and out of the City everyday, dragging my kiddies out of bed at what felt like the middle of the night so that I could get the early bus to be in the office for 8.30. Somedays not getting home until after 7, trying to then get dinner ready, do homework, make lunches etc before I had to do it all again the next day.Being there for them keeps me motivated to just keep going.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Being able to suit myself. I don’t have to answer to anyone. The only stress and pressure I now have is the pressure I put on myself to keep going and to do better. My Job (if you can even call it that) can work around my family rather than my family have to work around my job.
How do you keep a work life / balance? juggle childcare?
Somedays the struggle is real, I wont lie. When you have a mountain of orders to get out and 3 children to look after It can be tough. But like I said I do try to keep work days to Monday to Friday so that I have the weekends free to spend with my family. In terms of childcare I have been very lucky in that I have been able to work while the baby slept and then in the evenings once they were all in bed. In the last couple of weeks though, because things have gotten so busy, my Mam has started to mind the kiddies one day a week. Just so it gives me a full day to get work done. Working into the early hours is ok short term but that’s not sustainable in the long term.
What are you most proud of?
How far I have come & the reaction that my frames have gotten. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be where I am today. I still do a happy dance every time someone places an order with me. I am SO grateful for the support that I have received from my customers who keep coming back again and again to order. I have also gotten to know some other amazing mammies in business since I started this and the support from them has been amazing.
What are your goals for your business?
To just keep going. I have learnt so much over the past 12 months and I am keen to learn more and to try out new designs and develop some new products. Long term, I just hope to be able to keep doing what I love & to be able to stay at home.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and believe in your capabilities.
For me the hardest part was putting myself out there. I was so nervous of the reaction I would get, would people like my designs, would anyone order anything, would I just fall flat on my face? I felt the fear and did it anyway and I’m so glad that I did.
You can find Forever Frames Dublin on…..
Website coming soon!