6 Tips for Balancing Motherhood and Creativity

 

 

 

 

 

6 Tips for Balancing Motherhood and Creativity

 

Despite giving many talks on signature style, market stall prep and business planning (yikes!) the topic I’m most asked about is how I’ve managed to combine creativity with motherhood. 

 

I’m so glad when this comes up because it’s a topic that’s incredibly close to my heart!

Firstly, let me tell you a little bit about me.

I’ve been creating for as long as I can recall.  It’d be safe to say that it’s in my blood, and it has helped me though many things over the course of my life.

For me, making and creating is a need that feels as necessary to my existence as breathing.

You can imagine then how it was to have my first baby, 10 years ago.  All of a sudden there was no time for self-indulgent weekends filled with painting!

I struggled through the first year uncreatively, yearning for the me I thought I’d have to set aside and then one day I realised I could be creative in different ways to before. 

Ways that would work with my new role, and ways that would fit in to my new timetable.

Jetta

The first thing I did was let go of the idea that my only creative outlet was drawing and painting.

I learnt how to sew and appliqué and made clothes for my first-born, which surprisingly to me satisfied my creative urge at the time.  Time went quickly as it does with a baby and pretty soon we welcomed our second baby into the family.

Not long after this I discovered something that changed everything for me.  I discovered a whole network of other creative mums online!  I connected with them and suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore.

I sketched out and designed complicated appliqué designs and began selling my work at local markets and on Etsy.

It’s now 7 years down the track from that first market and along the way I’ve landed back at my first love of painting and drawing with a little woodwork tossed in for good measure!

I still enjoying sewing and crocheting but now I just do those things for my family.

I look at my 3 kids and see the amazing influence staying true to my creative self has had on them as they see creativity as a normal and everyday part of life.

They are excited and encouraging of my artistic achievements and are most importantly confident in their own creative selves.

 

Jetta 5

Here are my top tips for combining motherhood and creativity

 

1. Relax your mindset

Sometimes you have to change your creative expression up a bit for a short time.

2. Connect

Join a group, make connections with other crafty people and other crafty mums either online or in your local area.

3. Value

Treasure your creative side, it is valuable and provides your kids with different experiences and skills.

4. Time

Create when you can squeeze it in. A quick sketch before breakfast or some jewellery making late at night, if it’s important to you make sure you fit it in.

Jetta 2

5. Include

Create around your family. Let your kids see what you’re doing and they will begin to create alongside you.

6. Let go

Release any guilt you feel from indulging your creative side. Having a mum who is sometimes a bit distracted by her latest creation is much better for your kids than a mum who is sad and lost from not following her dreams.

 

I also recommend reading both editions of The Divided Heart by Rachel Power. 

 

This book made me realise that I wasn’t alone in needing to create and it showed me that being a creative mum is not only possible, it’s inspiring and fun too!

If you’re a mum (or a dad!) for whom being creative is a deep need – how have you balanced this with parenthood? Share with us in the comments.

6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success

 

 

6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success

So, you’ve decided to do your first market, or perhaps you’ve done a few and are struggling a little with your setup.

Here are some things I’ve learnt over the past 6 years to make the lead up to a market and your setup time easy and fun.

  1. Plan Ahead

Setting up your table a couple of days before your market will not only make your setup time quicker and easier, it will also allow you to play around with how best to exhibit your products, give you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.

Set up just as you would for the market.  If it’s a night market and you need lighting, set up at night and use your lights to ensure they highlight your work in a way that will draw customers to your stall.

If you’ll be in a marquee set up in one or if you don’t have one, measure out the space so you can get a feel for your table layout.

Market Stall 2
  1. Promote yourself

Most markets rely to some degree on the fan bases of their stall-holders to drive customers to the event so make sure you promote your market dates to your customers and followers and in your e-newsletter if you have one.

  1. Packed and Ready

Packing your items and display pieces to take to market takes practice but having them packed neatly and concisely will make it easier to travel from your car to your stall site and to unpack quickly. 

Plastic boxes of various sizes are the most common way to pack your pieces if they are small.  Use bubblewrap for fragile items, you can use it again to wrap them when they sell.

If you sell clothes, you can set up a hanging rail in the back of your car so you can transport them to market without them getting crushed.

Buy or borrow a flatbed trolley and straps to keep boxes secure (you can get them both cheaply from lots of places and they truly are worth it).

  1. Display

You don’t need expensive display items to show your work off.

Creating height and balance to your stall can be achieved through using wooden crates or boxes or wrapping and painting cardboard boxes.

Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable display. 

Op shops are also a great source of display items and if you’re handy or got someone handy in your life, making bits and pieces for your display is not only satisfying but makes sure it’s the perfect size and fit for your products.  Remember that you’re creating a mini shopfront so make it inviting with business cards in a prominent place.

Market Stall 3
  1. Stock

Always make it bit more than you think you’ll need and be prepared with pen and paper to take any custom orders that might come along on the day if your business works that way.

Sometimes customers don’t like to ask the price so make sure everything on display in your stall is priced in a discreet yet clear manner.

Ensure that your items are priced clearly and that your table is not overcrowded. 

Price points are an absolute must so be prepared with entry (impulse), mid (affordable and the bulk of your sales) and high-end (draws people in) priced products to attract a range of customers and encourage repeat custom.

  1. Essentials for Market Day

It’s easy to stay up late the night before a market whizzing up last minute bits and pieces but it’s to your advantage to give yourself a cut-off point where you stop making, get your car packed and rest up for the big day or night ahead.

  • Wear your product if it’s appropriate and make sure to choose comfortable clothes and shoes suitable to the weather and your style
  • Have some healthy and wholesome snacks with you as well as lots of water
  • Pack a mini first-aid kit with some band-aids, pain relief, hair bands, safety pins, sunscreen etc in case of emergencies
  • Make sure you’ve got bags/packaging for your customers to take your products home in
  • Be sure to take business cards along so your customers can find you again!
  • Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making

And last but definitely not least, be inviting, courteous and gracious and most of all have heaps of fun!