First up is the lovely Sarah (I know right, great name?!) and her new on line shop 'Archies'. This venture is very new - so I hope you will pop on over there to take a little look at the things she is stocking, and hey, maybe even buy something if the impulse takes you! At the moment I love this brand and would love to see Stanley in these! If you are looking for a gift for a new baby these are pretty perfect. We got given one when Stanley was born and I used it as a cover up for breast feeding, a swaddle blanket, a burb cloth, a blanket to lay down at other peoples houses, to cover when he was cold and to keep the sun off him when he was warm. We still use it now and they really do get better the more you wash them! She also stocks vintage bits & bobs, prints (a few of mine!), toys, shoes ohhhh the list goes on!
Sarah is a lovely lady, a new(ish) mama too to the gorgeous Jonah who has just turned one. Can you imagine opening up a shop and juggling a one year old?! Us mama's are pretty amazing sometimes. She has taken a few moments to answer a few questions to tell you a tiny bit more about herself...
I am a Graphic Designer by training doing my degree at Kingston University. I worked for several years in design agencies before moving to an in-house creative marketing position at Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneers. I had a team of 15 designers and 6 magazines to publish each month so it was a high pressure, long-hours job, but I loved it - it was creative, varied, challenging, I got to travel the world and I found the group of print and digital designers that I managed really inspiring.
WHAT MADE YOU START UP YOUR SHOP 'ARCHIE'S'?
I had always planned to return to work after a one year maternity leave period, but when Jonah was actually born I realised that I couldn’t go back to a job that would take me away from him 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. So, I didn’t go back, but about 4 months in I was getting itchy feet to do something creative and knew that I wanted to work in some capacity, but doing something new where I could be my own boss, set my own hours and work around Jonah’s needs. I spent many a midnight hour dreaming up vague plans (Jonah didn’t sleep very well at all until he was 10 months old), and then I stumbled across a shop to let in Crystal Palace where I live. Due to my personal circumstances and a definite baby boom in the area, I decided I wanted to open a shop, selling stylish, design-led products for babies. I did a LOT of research, sourced my stock, developed my brand, wrote my business plan... and then days before I was due to get the keys, the property fell through. I was heartbroken. But, after a few weeks of Bridget Jones style depression, I picked myself up, re-wrote my business plan and decided to put all my hard work to use and open online. I had such a strong vision for what my shop should be. I wanted to combine style and design with craftmanship and quality whilst supporting independent artists and makers - and Archie’s is my interpretation of that.
HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?
I am not naturally a very patient person, but the patience and selflessness that being a mother demands from you has really chilled me out. If you had told me that I wouldn’t mind that it takes me an hour to get out of the house because I have to put the same pair of shoes back on Jonah’s feet 6 times because he keeps taking them off, or read the same story at every single nap time and bedtime, or listen to the same tinny tune on some VTech gadget without going insane; I’d never have believed you! It totally amazes me that one tiny little human being can have that effect.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST TIME MUM?
Relax a bit. Nobody is perfect, we are all learning as we go along. Don’t underestimate how much you can communicate with your child, even when they are very young. Guidelines are not rules. Do not spend time feeling guilty about your parenting skills - because a stressed-out, guilt-ridden mother doesn’t make for a fun childhood! Oh, and treasure every, single moment.
ASIDE FROM COFFEE WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?!
My family and friends (soppy but true) and liquid eyeliner.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS OR TIPS TO MAKING MOTHERHOOD A TEENY BIT EASIER?
Have some time away, even for a couple of hours a week. I sing in a gospel choir and I returned to rehearsals when Jonah was 8 weeks old. It wasn’t easy to start with, I would spend all day expressing enough milk to leave behind for my husband to feed him with, but I had 2 hours every week where I could completely escape, keep my own identity and relax. Although I was hugely sleep-deprived, a change was as good as a rest. I’m so grateful to my husband for giving me that time - it has been invaluable... and still is!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WANTING TO START UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS
Take a chance if you have it. As long as you have a good business plan, researched it a LOT and calculated your risk - go for it. No regrets.
PS They've re-set the top baby blog counter, so if you could take a second to vote for me, then that'd be just lovely, thank you xxx