Cathy Heaton – Make-up and Photography

by Claire Minnaar

Tell us a bit about YOU and your family (where you are based, single / married, number of kids, etc)

My name is Cathy Heaton and I run a Professional Make-up and Photography business from two studios in my home in Fourways. I married Mark almost 10 years ago and we have 2 beautiful boys age 6 and 7.

What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?

The name of my company is Cathy Heaton Make-up and Photography and I started my make-up business 9 years ago and my photography business 6 years ago.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I was in marketing before and knew that when I had children I would want to work for myself and have a more flexible job so I was available to my children.

What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?

As it turns out my business has become more successful than I ever thought possible and is still growing. This means less time with my children. It is challenging to make time for everyone but I do still manage to see my kids grow up and enjoy time with them daily. You just have to learn to say ‘no’ to clients and friends sometimes and ‘yes’ to spending quality time with your children. I really struggle when my children are ill and I have committed myself to doing make-up at a wedding. You cannot let your bride down on the day but leaving your sick child is so difficult – I have yet to come up with a solution to that problem but have decided to take on less weddings.

What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?

Doing everything! When you start up a business you generally don’t have the resources to employ help so you end up being the secretary, designer, ad-executive, marketing manager, accountant, editor, make-up artist and photographer. You have to spend money to make money, you have to work hard in order for work to come in.

How do you balance your business and your family?

I work 6 – 7 days a week but I try not to see clients in the afternoons so even though I am working on my computer, my children can come home from school and enjoy their home. They also come in and out of my studio while I work and I often take breaks to colour in with them or chat about their day. I also make sure I have at least one afternoon a week that is about them and doing something they love. We also try to see a kids movie at least twice a month. On a daily basis, we have special evening time where Dad and I read stories to the boys before bed, spending at least 30 mins cuddling and talking. I also don’t take calls after 5pm. (clients call at all hours Monday – Sunday)

What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?

My husband! He has supported me, helped me get set up and encouraged me. He also helps me with my tax which would be a disaster without him!

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I don’t think I would do anything differently. I used to think they I’d like to have become more involved in the fashion industry but I do go away at least once a year on a fashion shoot and whilst it is great fun, I miss my children too much. I am happy to be where I am today. I have lots of goals to still achieve but I like the fact that I can be with my children everyday.

What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?

Prepare to work hard! When you work for yourself, work is never done. If you want to make money, you have to be prepared to work at night when your children are asleep. At least in the first couple of years.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?

When starting your own business. Do something you know well but don’t copy anyone else. Be original and don’t jump into a market that is overly saturated. Just because someone else is making a success of something it doesn’t mean you will too. Find something where there is a need for your services. And then strive to be the very best in that chosen field. And believe in yourself and set yourself goals. Success doesn’t happen overnight but if you want it enough, it will happen!

If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?


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1 comment

Kashma Raju November 8, 2011 - 11:08 am

Wow, Cathy! You are such an inspiration! I am truly motivated to make my business (Cotton Kandy Kids Boutique) a huge success! Thank you for the advise!


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