So for the first in our series of blogs on the amazing mums who come along to my sessions who are bossing it in the self employed world and either running their own businesses or freelancing in the most amazing way... meet Leanna mum to the ever so gorgeous Parker and owner of Lilypad designs.
So, tell us about yourself?
My name is Leanna, and I live in Bingham with my husband, six month old baby boy and cat. I am a graphic design graduate who has an obsession for all things personalised and a pretty home (my obsession may come from growing up without a key ring or mug with my name on it, because my mum and dad chose an unusual name for me!). I love country music, and all things Disney.
Motherhood; that’s an adventure isn’t it! Tell us what has surprised you most about becoming a mum?
The tiredness isn’t that bad.
I never thought I would be able to cope on so little sleep – I have always been a ‘got to have eight hours to function’ kind of person. I think that was my main worry about having a baby – everything else I’m a firm believer of just ‘winging it’. But somehow you just manage, and it doesn’t even feel like I have any less sleep than I did before. (I may change my mind completely on this when I’m no longer on maternity leave!)
I was also surprised by how much you can love someone so tiny, in such a short amount of time.
Tell us all about your business then?
So I own Lilypad Designs and design and sell personalised prints and notebooks. I also offer a bespoke design service – anything from wedding stationery and party invitations to logo designs and flyers.
At what point did you realise you wanted to work for yourself? Was there a moment that changed everything for you? What was that like?
I set up Lilypad Designs because I was frustrated by the prices many bigger companies charge for personalised prints and stationery, and wanted to create affordable, bespoke designs.
I love designing, and I love creating things that other people can enjoy. I started off just making prints for friends and family for Christmas, and eventually worked out I could do it, and decided to launch an Etsy shop, followed by my website. I designed wedding stationery for my own wedding last year, and from there began to get requests for other weddings too.
What are the highs and the lows of small business ownership and working for yourself?
I am a really small business (it’s just me - except when I rope in my mum and husband at fairs!), and really do appreciate every sale and order that comes my way. They say that when you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance – I can confirm that is true!
The highs are obviously not having to answer to anyone, I can make my own decisions, and take the business in the direction that I want to.
The lows are it’s hard. Trying to juggle a full time job (or currently being on maternity leave), with now raising a baby and still finding time to sort orders and promote Lilypad Designs does feel overwhelming sometimes. I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband and family though, who always bring me back to reality if I start to have a bit of a panic!
How do you relax?
You can’t beat a good cup of coffee!
My favourite time of the week is a Sunday morning. Parker comes into bed with us, and we have a cuppa and a cuddle (I say cuddle, as the baby becomes increasingly more mobile, it is turning into more a cuppa and ‘clambered all over’ cuddle – not quite so relaxing!
As a Spark mummy, tell us all about why you enjoy coming along to Spark sessions?
It is a really nice mix of doing something that Parker enjoys, while I get to catch up with lovely people. He loves seeing all his friends each week, and exploring all the fab things there are to see and play with.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new mum or dad?
Don’t worry. Babies are a lot more robust than they seem, and all the things that feel so big and worrying at the time, soon seem like a distant memory. Just try to enjoy the good bits.
Next steps for your business?
I branched out into personalised notebooks a few months ago, and I am now in the process of expanding into another range of personalised gifts – watch this space!
Funniest parenting moment?
I think it has got to be watching my husband changing a wiggly baby – whilst Parker giggles as he sneaks his foot into his dirty nappy.
Leanna has kindly offered 10% off personalised prints and notebooks using the code SPARKS10
Find her amazing work at www.lilypaddesignsuk.com