This week’s instalment of the Friday Feature is a little different. It’s in the form of a Q & A that I’m so thrilled to share with you. Seriously Milestones is a business operated by a beautiful mumma that truly is an inspiration. This beautiful lady is seriously funny, genuine and compassionate. I’m so honoured to be in her cyber company. I feel privileged to be able to share with you this script today. Without further ado, scroll on and keep going all the way to the last word. Then, seriously just click on the link to find out more. You seriously will love this insight into the lady behind Seriously Milestones.
Introduce yourself. Would you like to provide a short introduction about you, your family and your lifestyle? Whatever you like?
Hey, I’m Issy! My business is all a bit of fun really, something that I hope makes you smile. It’s based around my family in that they are the inspiration, but also because I get to work around them, which is awesome. We’re not a very exciting family, pretty vanilla actually, but we don’t like to take life too seriously (seriously – get it) and we’re pretty happy with our little tribe.
How did you get the idea for your business? What was the inspiration?
Like most mums, I was right into Instagram and taking WAY too many photos of my kids. I was using the original style of milestone cards but, given this was the time I’d had my second baby, I didn’t find those milestones as exciting (sorry Fat Man). Also, I found that these weren’t the milestones that I was talking about with my friends, so I thought it would be nice to change things up a bit!
I probably need to also add that, my husband owns his own business, so he was putting the pressure on for me to do the same so I didn’t have to go back to work 😉.
What was the set up process like?
Particularly because I’m not a graphic designer, and I wasn’t physically making the product, I had to learn to be very patient. In the end I was glad I had so much time, because it meant I could add more things in BEFORE I launched, which in hindsight was the reason the launch was so successful.
Are your products handmade? Or how do you source your products?
I fold the boxes – does that count?
From the beginning it was really important to me to have a quality product, but one that wasn’t literally going to cost the earth. I’m really proud that the bulk of my product is made up of 100% recycled materials, and is all made in Australia.
What is the age of your business? How does it all work? How can people get their hands on some of these awesome cards?
I’ve been going for just over a year now, and for the first time since starting I’m slowing down a bit (on purpose). For the first year, I was continually developing new products whilst I was trying to do all of the other start up stuff – it was exhausting – but I got the products out that I wanted to. Now I’m just giving my brain a break for a bit so it can think up some even better products to compliment the current range.
(I might say where to get your hands on them at the end?)
Do you get all the work done on your own? If yes, how do you manage? If no, who is your help and what do they do?
Yup, it’s all me! Well, kind of.
I don’t really believe that anyone works in total isolation. And I know that I would definitely struggle with that. So I’ve built up an awesome support network around myself that includes my graphic designer, photographer and business mentor. We all own our own businesses so bounce off each other all the time, it’s invaluable.
And how do I actually manage? My kids are actually pretty ace and usually like hanging out together, so I can answer the odd email here and there during the day. If not, I work nights, but I don’t mind it because it’s fun.
How much more is seriously involved besides taking orders and posting parcels?
At a baseline level, that’s all I’d have to do. But I’m so invested in this business in every aspect, so it’s pretty all consuming.
Firstly, there’s the social media, which has helped my business grow so fast that I continue to feed it and give it the attention it needs. My husband may argue that it’s too much, but… I love it! And it’s my platform for connecting with other business and mums worldwide. So I can’t see myself slowing down on it anytime soon.
Then there’s the stockists, they’re my number one supporters so I need to look after them and make sure things are going ok for them. I don’t bother them too much, but I really do like to keep in touch.
Now there’s also the blog – once again, love it! I’m really loving finding out more about people’s lives, their parenting journey and what makes them the person they are. Some of the people I’ve interviewed have left me absolutely amazed. How they can work through so much personally and still have so much to give.
Would you like to talk to us a little bit about your experience in Motherhood?
I don’t feel like Motherhood has come naturally for me, despite wanting to have kids.
When Z was born, I feel like I was shell shocked, and I definitely didn’t get ‘that moment’ that everyone had told me about, when she was born. I went back to work pretty quickly because I needed to be me. But I also struggled then to figure out who the new me was.
Between our first and second, I had a late (15 weeks) miscarriage, which really knocked me around emotionally. It also meant that my next pregnancy was horrible as I was always on edge, and I ended up on (glorious!) anti-depressants.
Thankfully, once our little man was born, things changed for the better, and for the first time since I started my journey, I felt like I knew who I was.
I probably put too much pressure on myself, but I still don’t think I’m as into being a mum as some other people are. Sometimes it makes me sad and I worry that my kids don’t get everything they need from me. But other times I’m ok with it and know that I’m role modelling a strong and hard working person to them.
What’s your favourite part about being a business mumma?
Drinking wine? Ha!
Honestly though, it has to be the other business mummas that I get to share the journey with. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some amazing women who have not only been great for my business, but have become lifelong friends.
What’s it like being your own boss?
I’m pretty fucking rad!
I let myself stay in my PJ’s as long as I want. I don’t judge myself if I drink while I’m working, and I get really long lunch breaks. It’s great! I totally get why people do it. Even with all of the pressures, what you’re doing is your own, so it becomes easier because it’s part of who you are.
Talk time management to us. What do you find works best for you to achieve deadlines you set for yourself?
Ok, so after pumping up my tires as being the world’s best boss, I also have pretty strict deadlines in place for myself too. All orders go out within 48 hours. I have a blog go up every week. And I send a customer and wholesaler email every month, the list goes on. I really rely on my nights to give me a good start into the next day. But I also know that if I work every single night flat out, I’m no good to anyone. It’s all about that unattainable balance – I do what I have to do, but I also make sure I give myself a break. And I never miss out on a social outing if I can help it! It always gives me extra pep in my step.
Do you have aspirations to expand your business? If so, what are your plans for the future?
I’ve always been into having a five year plan, but I feel like for the first time in my life, I don’t. And I’m absolutely ok with that. I can’t imagine ever having an employee, but I also can’t imagine having the same products I have now forever either, so who knows what twists and turns life will bring.
What are your strategies for managing your time and keeping up with both work and family life?
I feel like I’m WAY better at this business stuff than I am at mum life – but at the same time I couldn’t imagine doing either without the other.
I am a mum for sure. But I’ve always been the type of person who knew that I had to be doing something else as well. That’s just me.
And my family, they help me realise what’s really important when business is annoying me. They’re the reason I started a business. Any time I think about getting a ‘real’ job, I remember how awesome it is to have this flexibility and be able to spend time with them. I probably actually take that for granted a lot, and need to try and remind myself to be more present when I’m with my family.
Is there anything else you do that you would like to share? Seriously…