My new Sunday blog series is dedicated to the awesomeness of other creative businesses in hope of inspiring you with their highs and lows. First up is Kristal of Sparklechild London.
Tell us about a typically 'normal' day in the life as the creator/founder of Sparkle Child?
We all get up about 7am. I start the day with hot water with a squeeze of lemon, hubby has tea, the boy sparkler has milk, the girl Sparkler water, and the baby gets whatever is left in my left boob. Hubby dashes to work - normally something very 'important' or to ward off and impending 'disaster' whilst I prepare 2/3 kids for school and do the school sprint. Our school is 4 minutes from our house but we STILL sprint ever day. After drop off I pop to the post office with the results of my evenings work, walking through London Fields waving to locals and catching up with mums/dads along the way.
With the miniest Sparkler in the buggy we grab a coffee from La Bouche (delicious local coffee shop) before having some fun until around 11am or do morning chores before heading home for his nap and for me to work for up to 2 hours.During nap time I work at heart pumping pace responding to emails, cutting patterns, sewing, making up orders, packaging, and preparing an Instagram post or story. When The mini wakes we have lunch, do the household chores and if organised enough prepare the evening meal. The mini plays with the older twos toys whilst I order materials online, do finance such as invoicing and updating the website. We might then sprint to the other side of Hackney to pick up emergency material supplies before heading to pick the kids up from school.
The 3.30 - 8pm slot is reserved for all three kids. It's a busy, fun, emotion juggling time filled with craft of some sort or another and good intention carrot sticks but mostly chocolate biscuits except on Fridays when we all get to lay on the sofa and watch a film with popcorn. After the school there are often play dates and so our home can have anything from 2 - 6 kids.
Hubby gets home around 7pm and often take over bedtime stuff with the older two whilst I deal with the baby. After we eat we go to the studio to work. He pops his laptop open and I turn on the sewing machine. We both hit the sack around midnight.
Who/Where/What are you most inspired by at the moment?
My kids. They inspire me every day. They know better than I do. Their imaginations are fresh and free and if I listen and let go the control then I see that they have the most awesome ideas. Sometimes I am able to respond to their needs with a sparkly solution and other times they feed ideas. Sparkle Child is really all about them.
Where do you work?
I have a 'studio' in my house. It is also the spare room when my mother-in-law comes to stay. I'd love it if it was a box with a light-well for brilliant photography and wooden floors that were conducive to a 'meet the maker space' photo shoot but until the mini sparkler is older and at school or we are richer working from the studio/bedroom is how it must be.
What do you wear to work?
Clothes. Gorgeous ones. Occasionally Candy Yum Yum lippy by Mac and glitter eyeshadow. I also discovered that if I include my hands in my product shots on social media I needed to have nice nails SO hooray for the excuse to go and get them done.
What is your favourite product?
I never tire of clouds and wands. Every single cloud and wand is SO pretty and I know the joy they are going to bring to the customer and this makes me smile whilst making each and every one.After having a shocker with our miniest Sparkler at the beginning of the year after discovering a whopping tumour I was so amazed and moved by the strength and positivity of the the children of Great Ormond St Hospital, where the mini was treated, that I now take clouds and wands to the children in the Oncology wards each time we go. Although I absolutely love to hear from all my customers I must admit I cherish the messages that are sent by the brave parents of the children from GOSH.
From time to time I do an All Dosh to GOSH day when I donate all money spent on the website to the charity. Keep an eye out for these on my feed and that way you can get some sparkle and do something very worthwhile at the same time.
What has been your surrealist moment so far?
I had for a long time ADORED the work of the Meringue Girls, makers of the most delicious little yummy things, and was in fact a little in awe of them. One of the women that set up the MG's bought one of my clouds from a local shop and then contacted me through Instagram asking to collaborate. Together we worked on a range of all size clouds in colours that matched their beautiful Meringue rainbow and I designed a limited edition cloud just for them.
They are amazing to work with. So totally lovely and have been the sweetest and kindest bunch of girls I've had the fortune to meet so far.
That said, my customers and stockists are all truly lovely and I love designing just for them.
Hardest Lesson to learn?
Ooo...shipping. I don't like it. I had a big client in the USA who placed a large order of magic wands to launch a new cosmetic. After almost a year of working out the exact design and order I got to shipping the product. I used Royal Mail as it had always worked for international shipping in the past but this time it was sent to Australia. It took 8 weeks to reach the destination, a lot of chasing, apologising, you name it.
Now I have a lovely DPD courier that collects from me at home and I can ship to anywhere in the world safe in the knowledge that it will end up where it's meant too.
Top three tips for anyone else who wants to run their own creative business?
1. Use social media and plan the content to represent the brand
2. Customer service is as important as the product. Without the ability to engage, thrill and retain your customers, the longevity of your product and business is reduced.
3. Every creative needs a break. Learn to say no or when to switch off.
Whats on your wishlist currently?
My hubby just did a sponsored bike ride from London to Cannes (France). It took him a week. I would LOVE a little break / headspace - spa weekend, meditation or yoga retreat, or a 'living it up' weekend in Ibiza with the girls ....no children and alas no sparkle.
Quick Fire Round;
Favourite Instagram Account; @lizziethorneflowers. She's my friend, is just starting out her own business and I love watching her grow. She's beautifully talented.
Music to listen to while you work;Lordes... just love her Or BOB Marley if I'm on a massive deadline and need to breathe!
Favourite Film;Little Miss Sunshine
Currently watching;The hours ticking by and my kids growing up too fast.
Hangout; Find me at La Bouche on Broadway Market, Hackney.