Mumpreneur Series – Featuring – Miss Ella May Bows Shop
Tell us your start up story? How and when did you begin?
We started up in January 2015. After buying EllaMays bows from the UK for three years I decided to start up here myself as there was no company here supplying the glitter bows we loved. I made 50 Bows to start in 5 different colors and sold out within 30 minutes I couldn’t believe it.
How did you fund your business?
The business was self-funded. I work full time so I used part of it to buy stock and make a batch of bows and would then repurchase stock from sales. It much slower then jumping headfirst with a huge sum of money but I’m working at my own pace and it works.
What would be the main challenges you face running your own business?
The biggest challenge for me so far is…. switching off & letting others help. It never happens, because I’m at home and not in a workplace I’m always doing something. I could be sitting down having a cup of tea and two minutes later I’m at the table dishing out orders. My phone is always within reach and I find it very hard to not respond to a query or email the minute I get it whereas a normal business would not respond until the following morning. It’s hard to give yourself downtime when your business is right in front of you and all you want to do is make it bigger and better.
As for letting others help. This is the main reason why my business is not growing at the speed it could be. I have one set of hands. A full time job. A child. A house. A dog. A family. All which require my time and I am so particular about how my products are made. I will not let anyone make them. I have it down to a fine art. I have learned a whole new process along the way from buying the fabric to how its cut to how to stop it fraying to making it symmetrical to making sure, its durable. It is just a case of finding someone who works the same way I do and I’ll be sorted.
What keeps you motivated?
Life has been very tough for myself and my family over the last three years and making bows was my escape for a long time. At night instead of worrying about this or that I divulged into making new shapes and colors and it kept me going. Once I seen all of the different combinations it pushed me to make more and once I seen the response for them it was a given to keep pushing past the hard stuff.
My Daughter. She is my tonic. My safe place. EVERYTHING I do is for her. My favorite quote is..”When you feel like giving up remember there is a little girl who wants to be just like you when she grows up”.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
The best thing is not having to answer to anyone but yourself. My office work environment is totally different to my work I do myself. You don’t feel like you’re under anyone’s thumb.
How do you keep a work life / balance? juggle childcare?
Em that’s a tricky one. I don’t think I have any balance right now. I just take it all as it comes and go with the flow. If EllaMay needs my attention she gets it, if orders need attention they get it. I work in an office while EllaMay is in school and make bows when I get home when she is out playing or doing homework etc. If I’m super busy my Mam or Sisters will give me a dig out and take her for me while I get stuck in. I try to not work at night because it is literally the only hour or two I get to spend with my partner all week. Paying sky high rent means working all the hours of the clock unfortunately. Ideally, I would love to have people working with me and I wouldn’t have to work in an office but it’s not do able right now.
What are you most proud of?
This is very narcissistic but myself. I was a single parent living on social welfare for a good few years and knowing that I could do this by myself with a small child with the help of no one is motivation in itself. I’ve learned so much over the last few years about people & business. I’m also really proud that I have met the most amazing mamas throughout this journey working their asses off just like me to run their own little businesses. It ain’t easy.
What are your goals for your business?
I would love to expand very soon but other things are a priority in my life right now so once that’s all done with I can go full steam with my little business. Slow and steady.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Success in business is more about the sailor than the boat. Just keep swimming.
You can find Missellamaybows on…..