This is the second post 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 Rachel, mum to super lovely Fred and owner of The Garden Room, a beautiful hair dressing salon in West Bridgford.
So, tell us about yourself?
My real name is Sarah, but some people call me Rachel! It’s like my nickname and a long hairdressing related story – ask me when I see you! I’m 31, married to Joe who is a teacher and Mummy to our amazing Frederick, age 1. We live in West Bridgford and we all love cake.
Motherhood; that’s an adventure isn’t it! Tell us what has surprised you most about becoming a mum?
I was so naive entering Motherhood, I’d say I was shocked rather than surprised!
I had read so much throughout my pregnancy, which in all honesty was a breeze (sorry!), but I was so unprepared for actually having the baby, that I spent the first few weeks in tears every day and contemplating how I would ever lead a normal life again. That coupled with a rough birth meant a very overwhelming introduction to being a Mum.
Fast forward a year and I couldn’t be any happier!
The surprise was how much I’ve been able to do in the past year. I went back to work after 3 months and managed to handle setting up my own business, alongside working and being a new Mum, all things that require major brain power! It’s like Motherhood ignited something else in me, a desire to prove myself and ultimately make decisions that would make for a better life for me and my family in the long run, despite the hard work that doing all that faced.
Tell us all about your business then?
I’ve been hairdressing for 13 years and been self-employed for the last 9, working in salons across Derby and Nottingham. I now work from my studio, The Garden Room; which is a lovely, contemporary salon space we created by converting the garage at our home.
I have a preference for working with colour and creating wearable and versatile looks for my clients, using the best products on the market. I love my job and get lots of satisfaction out of making people happy and giving a personal feel to the service I offer.
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?
Before becoming a Mum I was often a workaholic, putting in crazy hours and finding it hard to say no to clients asking for appointments. I had been self-employed for a long time and that meant taking on a lot of responsibility to ensure being successful.
However, after having Fred I knew I needed to make a change to improve the work/life balance that I had and so the idea of working from a professional space from home was born. This would give me the total flexibility I desired and mean that finally I would be in control of all aspects of my work, which is something I had always wanted.
We set about converting the garage and adding an extension to the house, all at the same time as having a tiny baby, no mean feat. But the hard work and hours of planning, research, painting and cleaning paid off and I’m super proud of what we achieved. Of course I didn’t do it alone, the endless support from family and friends and my husband, who is an amazing Daddy to Fred, meant it was possible in such a short space of time.
It felt liberating to finally become my own boss!
What are the highs and the lows of small business ownership and working for yourself?
The highs are being in control of everything, which for someone who has meticulous tendencies is a real revelation! Being able to say yes when I want and no when I don’t is the best part of being your own boss. The lows are the angst and worry about the ‘what ifs’ and having to be mega organised and constantly thinking ahead.
To be honest the highs massively outweigh the lows and it’s something you gradually learn to deal with over time.
How do you relax?
Gin and a bath during the week! Baby free time with friends and my husband is very precious and hard to come by, but it’s worth the wait and always makes me feel like me again.
As a Spark mummy, tell us all about what you’ve enjoyed about coming along to Spark sessions?
Well it’s been a lifeline! I have thoroughly enjoyed coming each week and meeting other lovely Mums and babies along the way. Fred has gotten so much out of the sessions at each stage of his development (we’ve been coming since he was 7 weeks old!) and I have always felt its something you can’t recreate at home! Helen is amazing at engaging each and every baby and creating a wonderful, nurturing environment. It means you can turn up and actually relax for an hour knowing that there are all sorts of stimulating and fun things going on in session for the babies and a chance to chat to other Mums to make me feel normal at the same time.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new mum or dad?
I am no expert but I’d say trust your instincts. No matter how much you read the manual or Google every ailment, you know your baby and you are the best judge. Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world and you can’t appreciate that until you become one so just go easy on yourself and know that every decision you make is the best one for your little person.
Next steps for your business?
I haven’t actually got any! I’m planning on enjoying what I have created over the last year and finding my feet with that elusive work/life balance. Who knows, one day I would love to have a shop of my own and work alongside some other likeminded people, but for now I’m so happy that I can do what I do at a pace that suits me, with a very minimal commute!
What has been your funniest parenting moment?
It’s got to be poo. Talking about poo. Poo everywhere. Constantly thinking I can smell poo. Googling poo… is this normal poo? Asking ‘how have the poos been today?’ becoming a regular part of everyday conversation. Who knew it could be such a minefield! Sometimes if you don’t laugh then you’ll cry and poo chat never fails to make me smile!
Rachel will be taking on new clients in the new year so feel free to get in touch with her if you'd like her to work her magic on your post baby hair through the following platforms
Facebook; The Garden Room