As part of The Mom’s Guide, I wanted to create a platform that introduces and promotes local mom-owned business who offer services and products aimed at new and expecting parents. Meet the #MomBoss is a series where I’ll be chatting to all sorts of moms who own their own businesses, to find out how they manage to juggle their many roles and share their advice for moms who are considering doing the same.
This week, we are chatting to Hanja who owns Sprouts Kids Co. Sprouts Kids Co. makes decor products for nurseries, bedrooms, and playrooms. Their style is minimalist and inspired by nature and the local global trends. They use only the best quality materials and fillings, opting for cotton and linen wherever possible, and their toys and cushions are washable, because … kids. They also offer a bespoke interior decorating service where they design spaces that are functional, practical, elegant and keeping with the current trends. Their rooms are designed to grow with your child and be a calm haven to inspire creative play.
What gave you the idea to start your mom-owned business?
I’ve always loved decor and had big plans to start a business in interiors. It was only when I was pregnant with my daughter, planning her perfect nursery, that I struggled to find trendy and good quality products locally. Most of the beautiful products I did manage to source had been imported and were very expensive. It was then that the idea to start an interior business for kids was born.
What is the greatest challenge of being a mom-owned business?
I have a big problem sticking to “business hours”, so I find that I never “switch off” and am constantly working in some way or another. Don’t get me wrong – I love it and it doesn’t really feel like working, but it annoys my family and I have to really force myself to switch off sometimes to be a partner and parent who is present.
How do you overcome this challenge?
I’m finally accepting that I can’t do it all and have enough time to grow my business. So, I’ve appointed a seamstress and I’m letting her do more of the sewing so I have time to focus on other parts of the biz. I’m also forcing myself to take at least Sundays off and although it’s not always possible, I find that when I do, I’m much more creative and productive in the coming week. There’s a saying I love, “a Sunday well spent brings a week of content”. There is nothing truer than that.
What is your secret weapon to managing the demands of being a business owner and mom?
A partner who supports me and helps with dinner, the dishes, our daughter’s bath and bedtime and so much more. He believes in me and the brand, and I would not be able to do all of this without his help, encouragement, and advice. He is a legend that man.
What do you love about being a mom and business owner?
Being a mom is just the most wonderful (and most important) job in the world. I love that my daughter grows up in a home where she sees me work hard and where she learns about work ethic. I love that when she’s sick and can’t go to school that I’m able to have her at home with me and still be able to work. I salute the moms who don’t have that privilege, who have to fight with their bosses to take a (often unpaid) day off work because their child is sick yet again.
What’s the one thing that you wouldn’t change about juggling these roles?
I’ve tried being just a full time stay at home mom and I was miserable. I’m one of those people who has to work. Although it’s not always easy and I feel like I have 3 jobs at the moment and the mom-guilt is eating me up, I know it’s not forever and if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are 3 things that you can’t go a day without, and that help you juggle your role as a mom and business owner?
- Water. I start my day with a big bottle of water (even before coffee) and I can feel every cell of my body waking up as I drink it. It helps with concentration, keeps headaches at bay and keeps me from eating too much (sometimes). I’m definitely one of those people who confuses thirst for hunger.
- My Your Weekly Edit planner by Blush Paper Company. It’s not just a diary (which I need), but helps me set goals (health, career and personal), plan my life, track my water intake, keep a gratitude journal, be inspired, and just much more. Every business woman needs one!
- My iPhone. I use it to take photos of my biz, do research and manage my social media accounts. I use it to listen to podcasts for small businesses on iTunes while I’m sewing. It’s my GPS when I’m driving all over Durban to suppliers and customers. I use it to set reminders to pick up my daughter from school (yes, I need that; bad mommy). And then there’s Siri. My go-to gal while I’m on the run.
What’s your one piece of advice for moms who are thinking of leaving their day-job, to become a business owner?
Network, network, network. Even before you leave your job, join a supportive Facebook group or 2 for biz women and/or moms. There are wonderful ones out there where the members are incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. You might have to try a few before you find the right fit. Get to know them, ask for advice, offer advice if you can and start building a support network so that when you do leave your day job, you have support, resources, connections and biz friends who will have your back all the way. Oh, and don’t see other women in your niche as your competition. They are there to offer their help, collaborate with and help to build you up. There’s enough for us all to be successful, trust me.
If you’re a local #MomBoss that offers services and products aimed at new and expecting parents, be sure to fill in my online questionnaire and be featured in my weekly series, with a free listing in The Mom’s Guide Business Directory.