Creative Business-Mamas: Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades

Creative Business-Mamas: Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades

The next Creative Business-Mama in our series also comes to us via Mum Plus Business - it's lovely Lisa Wilmshurst of Mobilampshades with her supremely clever invention - lampshade and adorable mobile in one....

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Excited, hopeful, enthused

What's the story of your creative business?

Mobilampshades was born when I was decorating my eldest son’s nursery and was looking to buy a lampshade. I love handmade items and had made curtains for the nursery so was looking for a lampshade to match the jungle/animal theme. Whilst looking online I couldn’t find anything I liked, it was either mass produced bland or handmade “grown up” lampshades - so I thought why not make one myself.

I came up with the idea of combining a mobile with a lampshade as I thought my son would like the mobile decorations hanging off the shade. I then enrolled on a lampshade-making course in January 2013 and then spent the first half of the year experimenting with the mobile parts.

From September 2013, I started to sell online on Etsy. I’ve always been crafty - from an early age I  enjoyed sewing and knitting. Mobilampshades was started to fulfil my crafting passion, to have a job that would fit around our home life, and to share my beautiful products with others hoping they would love it as much I enjoy making it.

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

The best thing is that I get to do what I enjoy, making things whilst it can still fit around my “day” job as a full time mother. It enables me to be creative and to pick and choose what I want to make to a certain extent.

And the worst?

The worst thing is finding the time to make and craft. Sacrifices are made such as watching tv in the evenings when the children are in bed. Also starting a creative business can be costly with upfront costs of supplies, setting up websites when you’re not earning any money. 

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama...

One of the most difficult days was when we did our first baby show last November. Planning for a baby show/craft show is time consuming and you have to be methodical - thinking about stock levels, how to present your table, making sure you have enough business cards, packaging, taking credit card payments and much, much more.

I decided to sell at a baby show to gauge the interest in Mobilampshades. As I was still breastfeeding my youngest son, the best solution was to have the family together at the show. The show started at 10am but you had to start to set up from 8:30am and it didn’t end until 4pm - so a long day to keep two young boys entertained...

Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades on Story of Mum

Amazingly the boys were very well behaved, my husband as always was very supportive and did whatever I asked of him, and my in-laws were at hand to help too. I was nervous about selling at the show as I’m not a natural extrovert, but found I was at ease talking to other parents there. 

I had anticipated it to be a “nightmare” day with kids screaming and crying, wanting to go home, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. All in all, with the support and love from my family, what was anticipated as a difficult day turned out just fine.

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Test out your product with family and friends, they will be able to give you constructive feedback and different views.

Have a business plan and know what you want to achieve from having a creative business.

Just keep going even when you begin to doubt yourself. It is always difficult at first when you are new to crafting business but you just need to keep on persevering and network as much as possible.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m working on a birdie nursery mobile, so something different. I’m excited about this, as it will be a new product range for mobilampshades. I’m also currently designing a dinosaur mobilampshade, which hopefully will be available from February.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

Can I ask for 3 wishes? My two boys to synchronise their afternoon naps; to have more hours in the day and for the housework to be done as if by magic (oops, it does at times, thank you lovely husband!)

 

If you have a dream of becoming a creative business-mama yourself, you might also like to find out more about our partner in this series this month: Mum Plus Business - a network supporting local mums to form business partnerships.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.