handmade business with a baby

{Editor’s Note from Jess: While I usually answer most of our reader questions myself, today’s Q&A is answered by the lovely Katia, as this is one area in which I admittedly have zero experience! Mums (and Dads) please feel free to chime in your advice in the comments!}

Today’s question is by she who shall remain anonymous (you know who you are!), who writes:

I was wondering if you could please do a blog post about ‘How to keep your business alive while pregnant/ after kids’ or if you have perhaps done something similar already… if you have I couldn’t find it.

I recently found out that I’m pregnant (not yet at the 3 months telling people stage, so if you do a blog about this please keep it anon) and when I found out I started working like I was on death row. Determined to get several new products made (in bulk) photographed and ready to go so when the time was drawing near the business could tick over even if I didn’t have the energy to do much work. The last week the morning sickness hit and I’ve found motivation almost impossible.

The two friends with babies (neither of them creators) who I’ve talked to about continuing the biz after I’ve given birth both wave it off and say ‘oh you won’t have time for that’ and although I’d love to prove them wrong, I’ve never done this before so have no idea what it’s going to be like/ what to expect!

Help Jess, Help Create & Thrive! I’m determined to keep going, and would love advice from those who’ve gone before me!

Congratulations on your great news, how exciting!

I have a very similar situation, and although I have no experience just yet with running a business with a baby, I though I’d share what I am doing at the moment in preparation for the little one’s arrival.

About 6 months ago I found out that we are expecting a new addition.

It was an exciting and overwhelming time and, just like you, I started thinking that this is it, my creative days are over!

 

Luckily, I know a few friends with their own businesses and they reassured me that it’s all in the mindset.

 

Sure – there will be those first 3 months that you will probably have less time then ever and most definitely – as a one woman band – the production and sales will slow down.

I think as long as I keep the store open and not take custom orders for the first few months, it doesn’t seem impossible to make things ahead of time and run to the post office on the walks with the baby.

Being able to create is so important to me and I feel I won’t be the same person if I stop. Thus, I am determined to make it work!

There are a few things that will of course have to change and there is no doubt that there will be challenging times.

However, it’s very exciting and with a few things done ahead (made, photographed scheduled), I am determined that running my business with a baby will be possible.

Despite the fact that I’ve had some days with no energy at all, and others where I feel like nothing other than looking at baby things and renovating the nursery, I have been preparing my little business for the times to come.

 

Here’s what I’ve done.

1. As you’ve done, I am trying to make one creation a day that will go in the stock pile for those few month when I won’t be able to make much. I’ll be honest, some days are better then others but as long as I am making progress, I am happy.

2. I am releasing collections a month earlier then I would normally do. Simply because it takes me twice as long nowadays to get orders done. I give early bird offers to my newsletter subscribers and try to spread the orders evenly so I don’t get overwhelmed.

3. A few months before the due date, I will be making sure that I’ve got all the supplies for making so when I get a few minutes here and there, I don’t have to think about ordering things and waiting for them to arrive.

4. I let my customers know what’s happening and that I will have certain months off so they have a chance to place an order and know when I am ready to start taking enquiries again. The postage times will be changing for me as I post daily now but I do understand that it won’t be possible with the baby. I am going to change the policies and notifying about the days the orders will go out.

5. Having a shop full of ready to post goodies is my aim so I am tiding up the listings and taking items that I know will be impossible for me to make with less time and thinking of new creations that will take less time to make so I can offer a variety of things to buy.

6. I’ve asked for help. Luckily, my Mum is willing to give me a hand (whether it is with the baby or, maybe, a postal run once a week) which is wonderful!

 

Finally, I did notice that I am slowing down and getting the “baby brain” where I forget things so I try to ensure I have everything written down. I’m using more detailed notes then before: such as where to find the customer”s message and what needs to be done every day.

I would like to think that my ability to maintain a successful handmade business with a baby is not a false illusion I’m clinging to.

I watched my favourite bloggers having a baby and slowly getting back to doing things within 3-4 months with a few adjustments. It is definitely possible!

I believe that if Mum is happy, the baby is happy. And a creative mum that can do some crocheting & stitching while baby is sleeping is a happy Mum in my books.

Maybe there are a few Mums that run handmade businesses out there who can give advice to both of us?

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