I am excited to have new business owner and creative entrepreneur, Jodi-Ann of Clarkes Closet, gracing the blog for the first instalment of my business series, Belles in Business.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I'm Jodi-Ann, 32, mother of two beautiful babies Hamilton 6, Clarke 8 months and partner to my best friend David. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to London when I was 5. I'm a South London girl and I love living in the city.
I'm a do it yourself kinda girl. I would rather go on YouTube, find a how-to video and learn a new skill, rather than have to pay someone to do something.
Dance is and always has been my first love, which I studied to degree level. Being creative runs through my veins and I have always re-visited it throughout my life in some shape or form. From the way I've styled my home to the positioning of my son's toast in the mornings.
WHEN DID YOU START CLARKES CLOSET?
I started Clarkes Closet in August of last year, just two months after I had my daughter Clarke.
Clarkes Closet is an accessories line of hand-made pretty little things for the princess in you (as I have a son I have now started bow ties also). My line consists of hand-made hair bows, headbands, flower crowns, tutus and I have now also started making rag dolls. I also do custom orders. I work from home and my dining room table is my studio.
TELL US ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND CLARKES CLOSET?
My inspiration came from wanting to dress my baby girl in pretty hair bows and bands and not being able to find anything that I liked or was affordable. Every time I went out to shop for her I would get frustrated and was a little shocked at the lack of choice. I already had an image of what I wanted and that's when my creative side came into play and I decided that anything that I wanted for her I would make myself. When other mums started to ask where I got all Clarkes pretty hair bows from, I thought about starting my own business and sharing some of my creativity with other mums looking for something unique for their little ones. I have started to make pieces for adults and also love doing custom orders.
WHAT MADE YOU FINALLY TAKE THE LEAP AND START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I was made redundant from my job whilst pregnant with Clarke and that made me decide it was time to be my own boss and do the best I could to make a better future for myself and my family. I also wanted to show my children how to love what you do, do what you love and to have faith in it too.
I LOVE HEARING STORIES OF WOMEN BALANCING BUSINESS AND MOTHERHOOD. HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Deciding to become a mumpreneur hasn't been an easy one, but it has given me the opportunity to be at home and spend more time with my kids. As I'm new to running my own business its been trial and error, seeing what works better for myself and my family. Having a routine only works some times and my focus is more about making sure my children and household are happy rather than panicking that its 7.45pm and my son has only 15 mins to read a book, have a bath and get to bed for his 12 hours of sleep. It can be a juggling act sometimes.
I try to set limits and goals of where I need to be in my business and stick to them, otherwise I start to feel like I'm in a whirlwind about to come crashing down.
I try to prep from the night before so I know what I have to do the next day. At the moment while Clarke is young I usually work through naps, so while she's asleep I work.
I often have light bulb moments at the most inconvenient times and am itching to try them then and there but have to remember to balance home and work.
I am learning to delegate more and remind myself that I can't be everything to everyone even though in my mind I am a superhero!
LISTS!!! I make lots of them, they are how I get through everything but I have learned if something more important comes along like one of the children gets sick its OK. Like my mother always says "The best laid plans don't always plan out".
Another big one is time management and not getting side tracked by the pile of washing staring at me as I walk into the kitchen.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF CLARKES CLOSET?
Wow the future! My five year plan is to have a cosy little boutique that parents find inviting and exciting. For my online store to do well and to turn a profit big enough so I can continue to be at home with my children.
I am in the process of creating workshops so I can share my skills with young people through youth clubs and groups. I think art is a very important tool in opening up the minds of children and that's something I'm very passionate about.
My partner is a photographer and I make all his clothing props and accessories and I would love to create and supply clothing and accessory props for photographers and studios.