-Tell us about your business.
Glamour & Grace is a party and event styling business in Auckland. Glamour & Grace specialises in dessert table styling, Vintage high tea parties, party & event styling and we also have a boutique hire service.
-What did you do before you had children?
I was a Medic in the RNZAF for 11 years. I left at the end of my maternity following my second child Luke who is now 4. Definitely some of the best days of my life and loved every minute of it. I was ready however to move onto a new phase of my life – I had no idea when I left the Military that I would be doing this. I didn’t really have a plan so needed to come up with one quick smart that fitted in with my family and lifestyle.
-How did your business develop?
It all started when I was looking for ideas for a friends Hen Party and I really struggled to find what I was looking for. I decided that there was a bit of a gap in the market in the high tea party business so decided I could give it a go myself. Without any more than a google search to see who else was doing it off I went. My business plan has been fluid and dynamic throughout the whole process and has changed many times. Throughout this journey I have found what does and doesn’t work for me – what I am good at and what I am not good at and really just developed my business from there.
-How old are your child/ren?
Jack 7 years
Luke 4 years
-How do you juggle the demands of being a business owner and a mum?
I find a school day goes very quickly! I have 3 school days a week to myself to get stuff done while my youngest is at day care. I read a great article about balancing and how we have the ability to do 3 things at one time. Work, family time, exercise & socialising are my main 4 things I do In life. I find that I can only ever really do 3 of them well at one time. One thing usually has to give in order for me to achieve well in the other 3. Usually for me it is socialising or fitness that has to give. I found when I was training for a half ironman recently that my work really did take the back foot though. I managed to keep things going but not really moving forward. Would I do it again – of course! Exercise and achieving goals that I set for myself that are not always work related is essesntial. It is what drives me to do better in every aspect of my life.
I do a lot of my work in the evenings when the kids go to bed – some nights are really late for me especially when I am trying to fit 4 things in at once! Lol.
Sleep, exercise and good diet work wonders for my energy levels – I achieve so much more when I feel good. When mumma feels good the whole family benefits J
-What’s been your biggest achievement as a business owner?.
This is a tricky one because I can be a bit critical on myself and I often think I have not achieved anything yet. I am not sure at what level that I will look at my business and realise what I have achieved – what level do you do that? On days when I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed in the whole thing I like to look at my initial planning diary that I started where I have pages and pages of notes – things to do, logo ideas, business name ideas right from the very start when it was a fleeting idea. That is when I feel a sense of achievement.
I get no greater satisfaction either though from a customer that returns or refers my business. A referral to me is the greatest compliment.
-What’s has been the hardest point?
The hardest point in the beginning was ‘not knowing what I didn’t know’. I have found that through trial and error I have worked A LOT of things out.
It was also really hard financing everything as I was determined to start everything up without any financial assistance. To do this I started another little business called ‘The Cleaning Lady’ and advertised as providing rental house cleaning when the tenants moved out of the Military housing. Every cent from that cleaning was put into Glamour and Grace. The opposite of Glamour and Grace = Grotty and Gross – there is no Glamour in cleaning out body hair from someone elses shower cubicle…believe me!!
I really enjoyed knowing every time I did a clean I was that much closer to buying my next load of stock or paying for my website etc. I just had to keep my eye on the prize really. Most cleans were a solid 12 hour day of scrubbing walls, floors and windows – On a good day I would get it done in 10hours. A good work out anyway, so killing 2 birds with one stone – financing my business and getting in some exercise.
The other part I also find hard is self promotion and recognising the value of the service I am providing in order to charge appropriately. To start I found I was happy just to be getting any business and would pretty much give my time away – well actually I did…lots!! The best thing my business mentor had said to me was to think of it like this:
Every time I provide freebies or discounts I am choosing to give someone else something instead of my own children who could probably do with a new pair of shoes etc. This helps to keep things in perspective for me.
-Any words of wisdom for other Mums?
Well I guess I initially thought things would progress a lot quicker than it has. Everything seems to have taken so long. I often thought how good it would be if I had a big lump of cash to just throw at my business and get everything done really quickly. What I have learnt though is: Pretty much everything I did for my business and my ideas I had initially, have changed anyway. How disappointed I would have been if I put everything I had into my initial ideas only to find I would want to change them a year down the track. My words of wisdom is there is nothing wrong with easing into things.
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