Married mum of two Rosemarie Mansfield, 32, runs Tilly & Tabitha – a personalised online jewellery store using genuine Swarovski elements with her sister Heather Brice.
She tells Motherswhowork.co.uk about the highs and lows and whether she has any regrets about leaving her job as a Deputy Manager of Ernest Jones the Jewellers to run the business.
How was the business funded?
Initially from personal savings
What was the motivating factor for starting the Tilly & Tabitha?
I worked at a high street jeweller, Ernest Jones, which I loved, right up until 2004 when I left to have my son. I knew almost as soon as I left that, as much as I enjoyed working there, I never wanted to go back to working for somebody else.
I enjoyed the freedom of motherhood – I loved the fact that I could do things whatever time or day I saw fit, rather than working to somebody else’s timetable. I am very self-motivated and have worked in managerial positions in the past, so I felt confident I could start my own business and draw on my past experiences to make it a success.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I essentially earn money doing something I would happily do for free. Every day I have the opportunity to be creative and artistic at the same time as engaging with the public – and best of all, it’s all done to my own timetable.”
What are the highs and lows of running your own business?
The highs of running my own business far outweigh the lows. The only real low I experience is sometimes, particularly busy times of the year like Christmas, I feel like my list of jobs as a mother, wife, homemaker and business owner can be quite overwhelming. Having said that, the highs more than compensate.
I love being my own boss, as it means I never have to miss a parents’ evening or Christmas party – I’m always around for the children. I have the comfort of working in my own home and on top of that I’d doing my dream job.
How have you managed to maintain the business while running a household?
It is very demanding managing a business and being a mother. While yes, sometimes it can be overwhelming, I tend to find the best way to cope is by being ultra-organised! I have to be strict with myself as to what gets done and when, or else it’s easy to find myself doing half a dozen jobs at once and none of them are getting finished.
I divide my day into three parts: while the children are at school, when the children are home from school and after the children have gone to bed. I then make sure I only work on my business during the times that they are either at school or in bed and that the hours after they get home in the afternoon is quality time with just them.
How has running the business affected your relationships with your husband and your children?
Overall, I feel running my business has had a positive impact on my relationships with my husband and children. For one thing I feel like I’m contributing financially, which helps us on a day-to-day basis – plus gives me a great sense of self-worth.
Also, I feel it is good for the children to see their mum working, especially my daughter, as I don’t want her to grow up believing she has to choose between a career and having a family. On top of this, I feel that because I have so much to get done in a day I really use my times well. I think if I had all the time in the world to do the housework, I’d probably never do it!
Any tips for expectant mums who are thinking if starting their own business who feel that they can’t have a successful career and a happy family life?
I would say I am living proof that you can. It takes self-motivation, but if you have that and you are truly passionate about the line of business that you want to working in then you can be a success.
You need to have a clear idea of where you want your business to go, a detailed vision of what your successful business will look like, realistic goals and great organisation.
Plus, never be afraid to ask for help – you can’t do everything yourself and help is out there if you look for it.
Motherswhowork.co.uk readers can get 10% off all products at www.tillyandtabitha.com. Just add the following voucher code at the checkout: MB48. Offer only open in the UK.