Inspirational Interview #3: Kate Hope, owner of Hope and Rainbows
My daughter owns one of Kate's cute personalised bags. She loves it and keeps her most precious treasures in it. Check out her lovely creations on her business pages listed at the bottom of this page.
How are you leading a life 'doing what you love'?
Number one: by being totally present for my two daughters. My husband and I are in agreement that for the first years of their little lives, it’s really special to have Mummy at home and as available to them as possible. I love being able to give them that, more than words.
My happiness has been bolstered recently with the launch of my new business, Hope & Rainbows, which is a range of personalised childrens’ products. I am someone who loves to tinker at my laptop, who loves social media and who has discovered that when you are passionate about a product you have designed and developed yourself, you can confidently promote it. I’m having such a great time!
What did you do before this?
I spent over ten years in The City, working as a PA at an Investment Bank and subsequently a Hedge Fund. I then moved away from London with my husband and spent the last six years working at a Business School in a team which ran customised Assessment & Development programmes for a wide range of clients. I enjoyed that job in particular, because working so closely with Coaches and Development Experts allowed me various opportunities to explore my own passions and potentials. I’m sure that it was a weighty contributor towards my current direction.
What was your a-ha moment that pushed you to change things and realise your passion?
I designed my first two art prints to gift to two great friends’ babies for their Christenings. When we next met up together, the friends were exceptionally encouraging about the prints and their future potential. That provided me with the initial catalyst to progress the designs and brand. I am so grateful to them both!
How did you make it happen?
Firstly, I talked my ideas through endlessly with friends and family. I came up with a business name I loved and the branding quickly followed. I then purchased and designed a website and launched a Facebook Page to friends. Orders quickly followed and I’ve used those to develop and expand my range. I couldn’t have done any of this without amazingly supportive friends and quite a bit of passion on my part.
How do you see your new life affecting your children?
Its very important to me that it doesn’t really affect them. I currently do a majority of my work while my eldest daughter is at school, when my younger daughter has her daily 2 hour nap (long may it last!), and then again after they’ve gone to bed. Its difficult to find the energy and enthusiasm sometimes, but its at those moment that its crucial I’m doing something I love…. so I really don’t notice that I’m ‘working’.
What has been your biggest challenge during this time, and how did you overcome it?
Trying to conquer the areas of setting up a business that I’m not so experienced in. When you work alone and for yourself, its all too easy to be distracted by alternative jobs if you choose to be. I have to dig deep to keep the momentum going at times like this!
What is the best advice you have received?
I was lucky enough to attend a networking event soon after I had launched my website, at which a wonderful speaker discussed returning to work alongside Motherhood. She firmly believed that it was only worth trying to do so if you were going to do something you are totally passionate about. It was a perfect stage for me to carefully assess my direction and intentions and question whether I was doing the right thing. Being passionate about your work - whatever you do - gives you heaps of confidence. I think that this is all essential if you are going to try and split your time with your children, to make sure you get as much out of it as possible and maximise its reward.
How do you juggle your business with family life?
At the moment, the balance of the two is working well. I’m well aware that if business picks up substantially (which I, nervously, hope it does!) I may struggle to get everything squeezed into my day, but my girls are wonderfully patient and I’m very lucky that they play happily together for a certain amount of time to allow me to cram a few sneaky orders in every once in a while.
Tell me more about the business.
As I mentioned, my collection began as a series of art prints to hang on babies’ and childrens’ bedroom or playroom walls. These are personalised, alphabetical prints (e.g. G is for Georgina.. and for Giraffe) with adorable and colourful illustrations.
Following the popularity of the prints, I also now sell packs of postcards (perfect for thank you letters and invitations!) and two sizes of children’s bags (small totes, which work as reusable party bags or great shoe bags for ballet etc, and larger double drawstrings, which are better for sports kits and the like).
My latest exciting development is a pack of alphabetical flashcards which will soon be arriving in my shop. These are a lovely addition to a new baby parcel to make an older sibling feel special too - and are great for spelling practice, letter identification or even a pretty bunting-style decoration.
What is the biggest noticeable difference in your life since choosing this new path?
My time is exceptionally precious to me now (not that it wasn’t beforehand really; I think I’m just acutely aware of it these days) and so I don’t like to get stuck doing something I’m not happy with. I’m a happier person, who has grown in confidence enormously.
What is key to making a big change in your life?
Dissatisfaction and a lack of self worth (both professionally speaking).
Anything else you would like to add?
I will be taking part in the following fairs over the Summer: Trout n’ About on Stockbridge High Street on Saturday 3rd August 2014… Romsey Food Festival on Saturday 7th September 2014… Dummer Michaelmas Fair at Dummer Cricket Club on 15th & 16th October 2014 - and would love to see you there!