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Doers and Dreamers...Liz Cadman
Hi Liz tell us a bit about yourself? (and your business)
What was the driving force to set up Essex Mama?
I couldn’t return to work due to the inflexibility of my employer & extortionate childcare costs. My background had always been creative, and yet without my career I suddenly felt an emptiness inside, a loss of identity. I didn’t plan to start a business, but I knew I was looking for that window of opportunity to do something for me & use the skills I used to have.
What’s your workspace like?
Cramped. I have 3 machines taking up a tiny desk. I dream of a white desk with inspirational quotes on the walls but sadly I may have to wait a few more months for that!
Tell us about a typical day?
Henry wakes at dawn most days which is helpful (not) so you’d think I would be the most organised person in town, but sadly my body clock doesn’t work in harmony with his! Most days we do the mother-son dance all day, then once he is in bed for the night I begin work. Be it designing, admin or making the tees. I design all the logos & cut the vinyl print at home. I then apply using a heat press of 150 degrees so you’ll realise its not a job to be done when little investigative fingers are on the twitch - so often work into the early hours!
How did you launch?
By accident. I decided I wanted a t-shirt with ‘Girl Gang’ on it, it was in-tune with my vibes of needing my girls more than ever since becoming a mum. Be it new mum friends, my best friends or social media pals. So using a craft machine I had bought on whim in hope that I may rediscover my creative side, I designed & cut my own ‘GIRL GANG’ logo which I ironed onto an old tee. A little selfie later, and people began to message asking where they could buy one. So, in short, I began making them from shop bought tees, but as demand grew I realised I needed a platform, a supplier & to do it ‘properly’ - none of which I had a clue about! Nearly three months later, and I am still very winging it. I muddled through designing a website & had a logo designed, the rest is all trial & error.
What’s your favourite online resource (app/tool) that is indispensable for work?
Instagram, without a doubt. I have met so many people through this social media platform & built my own network of colleagues that I had left behind upon leaving my previous job.
How do you manage family and work life balance?
At the moment, probably not very well! it’s on my ‘to-do’ list! We are currently residing with my folks until our family home is built where I can then work to my own timetable & my own space. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if i said it was easy & not at all exhausting, but its certainly rewarding. I have my time with Henry & then, when I’m off parenting duty, I have my time to explore & create.
What have you found most surprising since setting up your business?
The network of people, mostly women, that exist within social media who without knowing you, will support you through any trials or tribulations you may face.
On the tough days how do you self motivate?
Take a step back, know when to relax & refresh. And, ALWAYS, talk about it. Never be afraid to ask for help.
What’s been your business highlight so far?
Seeing the daily photos of my customers wearing my designs. Building my ‘GIRL GANG’ out there in the world & seeing the positive energy that goes full circle.
What have you got planned next?
A new collection, as nothing was planned in the beginning I will now attempt to plan my next launches.
And finally….what’s your top tip for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
Just go for it, be it months in the planning or, like me, an overnight launch from your kitchen table, you won’t know until you try!
Find out more about Liz and join her girl gang or create your own here http://www.essexmama.co.uk
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