I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be profiling a brand new Design Diva this week; it’s been a little while since we’ve had one. Meet Sophie, a graphic designer with a fabulous new design business. We met on Twitter and I discovered we even live in the same city. It’s a small world! Sophie has some great tips for anyone starting out in business, and some lovely inspirational thoughts on being confident and brave.
What’s your name? Sophie Cowling
How many children and old are they? I am the proud mum of two lovely boys, Jack (4) and Seth (1)
What is the name of your business? www.personalisedgiftsboutique.com
What is your business and when did you start it?
personalisedgiftsboutique.com was set up in October 2012 with the idea of me both designing and selling luxury personalised gifts. My first range of designs include personalised posters, personalised thank you cards, personalised correspondence cards, personalised gift tags, personalised invitations and personalised stickers.
As well as my own designs I have recently added a selection of other personalised gifts and I will hopefully be collaborating with other designers later this year to offer an even greater range of personalised gifts to the website.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Myself and my husband have a graphic and web design company which we have been building for the past 6 years. personalisedgiftsboutique.com really started out as a bit of a side project from this, giving me the freedom to work to my own design briefs whilst encompassing all aspects of what we do for other companies.
Can you share 3 positive aspects about being a business mum?
The best thing about being a business mum is the ability to manage my own time. As a result I am able to work around my children and get to spend a lot of time with them. Now that Jack has started school, I am able to attend all of the school plays, sports days and reading sessions without a second thought and I have the luxury of spending the school holidays with them too. I also love that I get to work from home.
All of the positive aspects I just mentioned can equally have their downsides. The luxury of working around my children can often mean many late nights working whilst they are asleep and can mean extra pressure when I am working to tight deadlines. Working from home can also make it hard to switch off from work, it is hard to find a happy medium.
How do you keep motivated?
As with all things in life that are worth doing, there are no quick wins. It takes time to build up a business and a good reputation is paramount to your success.
Would you change anything you’ve done in building and developing your business?
It is early days for personalisedgiftsboutique.com but so far I have no regrets it the way in which it has been established.
What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own business?
My best advise would be to plan everything carefully from the start so you have a real sense of direction. You will be thrown lots or curveballs along the way, nothing is ever as easy as you envisage and it is easy to underestimate how long things really take to either make or achieve.
You need to have confidence in your ability, be brave and create your own opportunities. Customers will not just come knocking on your door, however good your products or service.
Thank you so much Sophie for sharing your journey with us and good luck for the future!
If you want to find out more about Sophie’s business you can find her at the following:
Design Divas is changing. In the past I have always featured business mums but now I would like to open this up to all women who run their own business in the design or interiors arena. If you are interested in being featured, sharing your story and inspiring other women to start a business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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