Mumpreneur Series – Featuring – Lady Gray Graphics
Tell us your startup story? How and when did you begin?
So in my other life I was an Interior Architect & Designer but being in the building industry & losing my job with the fall of the Celtic Tiger. Then went back to work & being crippled with childcare, I started my new life as a stay at home mammy. Not being one to sit easy I had started out making gifts for my family & friends whenever a new baby came into the fold. That’s when things took off & I was contacted by numerous people I didn’t know if they too could buy a personalised print from me. It then went on to New Home Gifts & then Weddings, and it snowballed pretty quickly from there.
How did you fund your business?
I robbed Peter to pay Paul & its all been self funded. Not an ideal situation & things take a much slower pace. I have huge support from my family & I’ve amazing friends too. Always sharing my little biz & constantly spreading the word within their workplaces etc
What would be the main challenges you face running your own business?
Trying to juggle it all. Im at home with the boys but Im not really at home. I find it very hard to close the door to the business & be able to just switch off. There’s always something that needs to be done ~ admin, marketing etc in between homework, dinners, pick ups, after school activities
What keeps you motivated?
Being a mother of four I basically live in the moment & happy I get through each day. I love creating/designing, I always have, its my escape. The fact people buy from my website is enough to motivate anyone. Everytime I hear a notification I honestly do a happy dance, it’s a huge thrill. I’ve also a huge circle of repeat customers who come back time & time again, that just floors me & Im eternally grateful.
My biggest motivation would be my boys & I do everything for them. I’ve always been a hard worker (I’m working since the age of 14) so I hope I am a good female role model for them when they’re older.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Being your own boss & not having to answer to anyone. Going back to work after losing my job was a huge eye opener. People were desperate to get back to work, so put up with all sorts from employers. My last day of work before I went on maternity, I was under pressure to get a job out on time ~ the boss was screaming at me, basically told me I was a thick. Anyway, I was then late to pick up my boys from school & in my panic I was in a car accident. I was rushed to hospital & we were both ok but that day I swore I’d never work for another person ever again & I haven’t
How do you keep a work life / balance? juggle childcare?
God that’s a hard one!! Balance, what is that? So having four children meant childcare was out of the question for us, it was just far too expensive & not worth it in the grand scheme of things. My youngest is a little bit older now so attending Montessori, so I now have those hours in the morning to get my deliveries out & respond to emails. I try to only work when the boys are either at school or asleep for the night but during busy times I basically have to work around the clock, I’m always rushing from one place to the next. I feel guilty everyday but if I don’t work, I’m not contributing & we’ve gotta eat.
What are you most proud of?
I think it would have to be where I once started & where I now am. I went from being on the dole to having my own business which I can see growing all the time. I’ve huge ideas but that will come with time, Im in no rush & enjoying the journey. Im constantly learning.
What are your goals for your business?
Ah now that would be telling & I love secrets. Joking aside, I have my small goals or milestones as Im calling them. We’ve plans to extend the house so having my own office/space is the next lil step after that you never know.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Be you & do you. People will buy what you have to offer because you’re different. Don’t be an asshole. I worked for SuperQuinn for eight years & excellent customer service was drilled into us. The customer IS always right, offer every avenue to make their shopping experience more comfortable, remember they are handing over their own hard earned cash so they expect money well spent. We’ve all had a very rare, difficult, customer but in my experience if you are nice they will be too.
Also, be prepared for hard work!!!
You can find Lady Gray Graphics on….