It’s Monday and I’m back with another creator to introduce you to.. or perhaps you already know them? I’m hoping you took advantage of The Holistic Hideout’s exclusive offer last week? It’s running throughout the whole of July – worth checking out if you’re in need of a bit of a pamper. I know I do!
This week it’s the lovely Victoria from Baby Prints Cheltenham talking about the business she inherited from her sister, which she manages to run around family life – another inspiration – a real mum boss!
I met Victoria during one of her finger print workshops with The Motherhood Society. She’s just as nice as she looks in the photo – kind, helpful, a sense-of-humour and very bubbly! A fun character to be around and great to talk to. I can see why her business has been such a success so far, with a personality like that. The workshop was a blast too! Recommend going to one if you’re local to the Cheltenham area.
How did the idea of creating gorgeous baby prints come about?
Well, I was very lucky in that my older sister had brought the concept of Baby Prints to Gloucestershire, around 20 years ago when she moved back here with her family from abroad. She had three young children and setting up and running her own business from home was appealing. Once her children had grown up and fledged the nest, she wanted to focus more on her family photography business which she ran alongside Baby Prints. She wanted to keep the business in the family, so offered it to me.
I was a stay at home Mum at the time, with one child just starting school and a toddler at home. I had been wanting to do something creative to try and get back that bit of me that wasn’t just Mummy, but also bring some money into the household, as these kids cost a fortune! So here I am, creating beautiful keepsakes for the parents of Gloucestershire.
It sounds like it came at the right time for you! How long has Baby Prints been running for?
We’ve had a presence in Cheltenham for over 20 years but I’ve been at the helm for three years now. My sister started the business, having learnt the skills needed from a good friend of hers and we are proud to be an independent small business.
And you’re doing a great job! How has the business evolved over the years?
I started out just doing baby hand and foot imprints, but then my creative mind wanted to offer more. I now also create pet imprints; family hand prints; personalised star and heart hangers; Christmas decorations; memory frames for loved ones lost, and I also run fingerprint craft workshops around Cheltenham for parents to have fun and create keepsakes with their babies and toddlers.
I’d love to know how you manage to fit this around family life?
The reason I do this job and still love it, is that it works so well around family life. Both of my babies are now at school so I have more time in the day for working, however I don’t always work every day. Even when I had a toddler at home, I could still have appointments as they only take 15 minutes and I could still have him with me.
I am also very lucky to be able to use our home office as a studio (which is more often than not covered with plaster dust), so I can always shut the door and get on with family life. Family comes first, and my amazing customers always appreciate that. If I have a busy family time coming up or poorly children, I will be honest and explain that to my customers and they are always so understanding of my needs as Mummy first!
It’s so lovely that your customers support you in that way. What time of the day do you usually work?
I don’t have nap times to contend with anymore, so I work at all times of the day.
That must be the dream! So, the best and worst thing about working from home?
I’d love to be able to say that I get to work in my pyjamas but sadly I have to do the school run first! The best thing is that it is reasonably stress-free. I am in my safe space where I am most comfortable, the coffee’s great, my office colleagues (my two kitties) are lovely, the views outside my windows are lovely but the worst thing is the procrastination! There’s always something to do around the house, washing up to do; emptying the dishwasher; hoovering; cooking the kids tea; cleaning; putting washing on, so self-motivation is pretty key when you work from home.
It’s the motherload again! Breaks are good – how do you spend yours?
Coffee first thing and then fruit teas during breaks. Sometimes I make myself a tea and take it back to my desk but I try to walk around, do something else or if the weather’s nice, then I will sit in the garden, just to clear my mind.
Fresh air is always good to de-stress. I’m guessing organisation is key to less stress too – how do you stay organised?
Lists. I have so many daily journals and diaries and lists of things to do. With two kids in school and a business to run, it’s hard to keep on top of it all sometimes. and the motherload overwhelm does get on top of me. I find writing things down and having a brainstorm and a planning session gets me back on track.
Me too! I have a million lists on the go! How about your best business moment?
Being interviewed on local BBC radio with Anna King about baby keepsakes. That was great, but also the buzz I get from seeing customer reactions to my prints when they are collected.
That must be so rewarding. And wow, you’re like a celebrity now! Any big projects in the planning?
Christmas! Last year I did Christmas planning far too late and was so stressed, so I started planning Christmas 2019 things in January this year! I can tell you that I am working with the wonderful Victoria from The Motherhood Society to run not one but two amazing Christmas Fingerprint Workshops for parents with babies and toddlers, to create some stunning keepsakes. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information.
Ooh, I’m looking forward to Christmas now! And lastly, any tips for working at home Mama’s?
Routine is key. Set aside time first thing for a coffee and washing up, and then set yourself a few hours for work, then have a break and do anything else you need to, then get back to it. Lists always help too. I find they focus the mind on what has to be done and in what priority.
Victoria is offering readers of my blog £5 off any fully-framed baby print booked in August if you mention ‘Jess Cantoni’.
What are you waiting for? The prints would make a lovely gift for someone expecting or who has just had a baby.