THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FIRST ONLINE ISSUE OF MUMMAS TRIBE MAGAZINE! Such an honour xx ENJOY
To read this article go to: www.mummastribe,com
Meet The Maker
Hi! Im Amy! 36 & married to my best friend! When he gets up in the middle of the night to feed our little Olivia or hug her when she is teething, his status rises from best friend to SAINT! But believe me, there are other times when I feel like I actually have three children, he is the third. When I started the business I had 2 children under two. Double trouble? Yes! But definitely more than a double blessing.
My dream for My Tiny Wardrobe is to use the business to encourage other mums to work from home if they can and want to, and provide them with a platform to sell their designs. I am currently collaborating with women designers who are raising children in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Indonesia. It is a collection of working mummy designers, photographers, and suppliers, all woven together to empower women through small business.
Life is Too Short Not To Chase Your Dreams.
Yes, I am speaking to you, the one who is reading this blog. I feel that @mytinywardrobesydney (insert hyperlink) with the support of other women might lead to some mums setting aside their stilettos if they choose and continue to pursue their dreams of working from home. I want YOU to email me, Facebook me, Instagram me, tweet me (joking, I don't do twitter). Seriously before I launched this business I thought Facebook was “trending”. I had no idea. What a learning curve I have loved riding the wave of.
If you love photography or love marketing or you LOVE TO DESIGN, SEW, PRINT, STITCH and would love to do that while your little ones 'play' under your desk at home, it's possible. In creating this brand, I stepped out of the corporate world to design a future for myself and my family, and other mums who would join this collection of creatives, all working from home!
I design clothes for “All the places they'll go and adventures they'll have”.
I want babies to be snuggled up safe in my baby blankets and hold onto them as they grow up. I want to see little ones running up and down Bronte Beach to the tip of Cape York in swimming costumes designed by indigenous women highlighting indigenous prints. I want to see boys (and girls) skating, wrestling, and laughing, in comfy, casual, yet edgy and unique clothes. I want little girls to feel like Princesses, but feel free to run in the mud at the same time.
My Tiny Wardrobe is here to clothe our bubs, inspire creativity, fuel imagination, hear from real mums, resource our mums through fortnightly blogs, and empower women to dream, and take action. The majority of our products are made by mums, for mums, in Australia - with LOVE!
How do I cope with the juggle?
Having launched my business while my premie baby was in the NICU, I am not sure if I always cope. But I think that is normal. Being a stay at home working mum is a challenge. You usually are “at work” all day long. No paid sick days and no paid annual leave. I try and do most of my work after 7pm when they are tucked in or when they have their sleep in the middle of the day. However, many times I find myself trying to reply to emails in the playground, take calls while also trying to play tea parties and look at fabric combinations while also trying to feed my little one. Its a juggle. I think as long as you are not glued to your mobile or Mac, and you are present when they are awake for the majority of the time, you are doing well. Actually you are doing GREAT! There are many days where I have had to use the TV as a parent. BAD? I don't think so, as I'm not a superhero, I'm one up from that, I am a mum. And there is no more important job. I take that very seriously. But if that means a few hours of screen time to keep my sanity, so be it. I ain't judging. Great mums always try their best.
I won't sugar coat it and say it's easy establishing a successful small business, with a budget, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My obstacles in launching this business did not stem from just having a premie baby, with her gorgeous big sister Chloe at my side or rather trying to climb me like a monkey for extra attention. I have been fighting a muscle disease over the last 14 years called fibromyalgia. Instead of letting this chronic painful disease define me, I have let the journey with it REFINE me. I have grown into a strong woman with a passion for joy, adventure, laughter and fun. Some days it wins but this year I am going to work smarter and focus on ME, my family (and my business). Yes, I believe it's possible.
Its taken me a year to realise that you can grow a business at any pace you like. At first it was a marathon effort, little sleep, constant hustling, little sleep, so much work, no sleep, more hustling, IG learning etc etc. But this came at a cost to my health and my family. So in year two of the business (2017) I plan to work smarter. HOW you ask? Ask other mums for advice, you don't need to research everything alone. Some mums are more than willing to share industry contacts, tell you what loops/markets are great and why. What hashtags are trending. Just take a chance and ask. What do you have to lose?
Also, as long as you are moving forward with your strategy and vision then you are creating growth. It doesn't need to be all work and no play. Your business will still be there next week/next year if you take some time out. Life gets busy and somethings have to give, so remember it's not all or nothing.
Best organisational tip to other working mums?
If you have the energy on a Sunday night, plan out the week. Have a list of actionable items and plan the week accordingly; including social media, urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, daycare, sleep times and think what you can get done and on which day/s. Otherwise a week of work can appear insurmountable on a Sunday night after a big weekend and the last thing we need is extra stress on a Monday morning.
Greatest Advice: Focus on the Good. In the world of small business, there is a lot of “COPYING” happening & has come into the spotlight recently ten fold. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have heard about it happening more than monthly from fellow biz mums, I have seen tears and heard sad stories. I have seen anger and I have read comments. BUT, WHAT I CAN OFFER IS THIS:
If YOU have been copied, its distressing. My personality is to let that person know. Sometimes they may know they have copied you & other times they may not. So what I would also say is: If it is very obvious and they have ordered from you and then copied, or even if you feel concerned & can't move on, release that stress you feel and send them an email or a DM. Resentment is not worth it and your health is your wealth, so say something and try and move on or resolve the issue with the other 'maker'. At the end of the day, you just have to be the best you can be and as hard as this is to write, take it as a compliment that you are so amazing and original, people want to replicate your ideas. This sounds easier said than done, I know as this has happened to me, so easier said than done.
What I have learned about Social Media
Before I started my business I never had a personal IG account. NOPE. I knew nothing. Hashtag #whatsahashtag ? So I have learnt soooooo much and feel confident that it is a great selling platform for business when used well.
1: It is not all about the number of followers that you have. Facebook Or Instagram. You can have 40,000 'followers' and only 1000 'Supporters', who want to engage with you & buy your brand. So don't spend too much money worrying about numbers. Think more about how you can be seen and engage with your 'Supporters'.
2. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? This is essential when trying to connect with your audience. Is your content informing or inspiring your audience? No matter if you are blogging, creating FB Live Videos, or posting great images on Instagram you should aim to be doing at least one of these two things 80% of the time. In doing this your audience will connect with you more. Why? Because many people like to have that “know, like, trust” connection with a brand. And at the end of the day once they have that, it will be easier for you to make a sale (with less selling).
3. LOCATION? I have always thought the location of a post was important. For these two reasons: firstly, you can meet other mumma makers in your area and stores that may want to stock your brand. But also, just like we have trending hashtags, there surely are trending locations. THINK….. Where would your audience be hanging out? If they are mums: parks, carnivals, local swimming pools, kids pools etc. So if they ever search that location, they may also find your swimwear label if you are always at “Bondi kids Pool” for example. BOOM, a possible new follower or a sale.
4. HASHTAGS. What hashtags are trending? Ok, so this is a bit more difficult and I am a strong believer you need to keep working on hashtags and see how they rate. But again, what hashtags are your audience using? If you sell a health food item, is it gluten free? If so, there are so many hashtags that relates to gluten and coeliacs disease, so use those. General hashtags like #healthy #yum are not going to get you seen. They are too general. And as so many people globally are using these your photo will be lost under that hashtag in less than 3 seconds, so you wasted one of your hashtags..
….. and the list goes on and on but I think these are important points to think about….
Lastly, and most importantly:
“Empowered Women, Empower Women”….
“Mums Supporting Mums” will always lead to greater success for everyone.
Complete, don't compete.
All my love,
I love working with other mums!
So please reach out and send me a message xx
Facebook: My Tiny Wardrobe