My name is Kirsten Friedericksen. I’m married with a beautiful and very busy 17 month old son called Christian. I’m a born, bred and proud Jozi girl, based in Sandton. I have a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design and have worked for many years as a Designer and Art Director in some of the biggest advertising agencies in the country.
What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?
My company is called Tailored Tales, it specializes in personalised and customised children’s books. What makes us so different from other personalised children’s stories you may have seen is that it’s not just their names but true-to-life illustrations too that put your child into the lead of every story. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents and pets can be included too! I write and illustrate the stories myself. I have been setting up my business for the last 2 years but I officially launched to the public in January 2011.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I always wanted to work for myself. Even though I loved being in the “big bad” advertising industry I realized very early on that having a family and coping with the demands of the advertising world would be very difficult for me, I worried that I would always feel that either my family was lacking attention or my work was. So I took the plunge, stopped work, started a family, started a business and am focusing on the real loves in my life – my family and illustrating.
What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?
The biggest shock for me after having had a baby is suddenly not having any time anymore. That was the hardest part for me, even though I’m a very organized person, working from home, not having set hours and then a baby who has his own hours which constantly change made it difficult to get a good solid couple of hours of uninterrupted work done. I also wanted to look after Christian myself rather than get a full time nanny or day-care so my days ended up being very long and tiring between juggling baby and work. It took quite a few months but I have finally figured out how to get things done on a daily basis without burning myself out. I guess you just get into the hang of it. Also, grannies are a ‘god send’ when you really need a free afternoon to do some work.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
Motivation. Even though I consider myself very determined and hard working I felt it very difficult to keep myself motivated – starting the business by myself I didn’t have a business partner or work colleagues to urge me on and to make sure things got done. Working from home you also get distracted by all the other things you have to do and with the busy days of being a mother I often thought if it was worthwhile trying to set up a business.
How do you balance your business and your family?
It took a while to get a balance. I have made a strong resolution to myself not to work on weekends (even though it is sometimes tempting to catch up on some work) – weekends is family time.
What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?
My husband. He is incredibly supportive, one of those great husbands that will get up at night to tend to Christian so that I can get some rest and he himself is a very active father who is fantastic with Christian. He is very motivating when I wonder whether it is all worthwhile and he is my business guru, seeing that he runs a very successful business himself, it is great to get his opinion and advise on things.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure yet, but I probably would not have stressed so much – now knowing that if the work is put in things will fall into place over time.
What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?
Not to be so hard on yourself. Being a mom is a full time job on its own. Accept that things take a little longer when you are trying to get things done with children around. Enjoy the time with your child when you have it, don’t keep on thinking of all the things you have to do, you are blessed to be able to send time with them during the day. Keep on persevering with the business venture, I had the attitude that there was no other choice other than to make it happen. I found setting personal deadlines and keeping them helped a lot. Give it the time and it will be worth it.
If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?
Email: Kirsten (at) tailoredtales.co.za
I will be on Facebook and Twitter soon.
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