The next of our incredible Jugglist Massive is the amazing Helaina, from Helaina Storey Wedding Design. She’s a finance lady by day, wedding designer by other days, and a supermamma to Heath, 8, Poppy, 5, and Imogen, 2. The usual struggles! She was part of our awesome Jugglist Massive photoshoot, and we'd like to attract your attention to her incredible eye for a slogan t-shirt. We stole her away for a bit to discuss all things weddings, woes, and wonder woman-ness...
|Imogen, Helaina, Poppy and Heath|
When did you set up the business? September 2016
When did you have your babies? 2009, 2011 & 2014
What do you feel the challenges are of running your own wedding business alongside motherhood? Time is my biggest challenge! I need more time! That and looking like a slob more frequently than I would like. Finding the energy (and time again) to look sleek and professional and wipe snot off my favourite jacket and de-clutter my handbag/filing cabinet of nappies, half empty Fruit Shoot bottles and Barbie Doll accessories before I head out to a meeting with a client or venue is tricky to say the least!
There are definitely two versions of me. The version that does the school run in slippers and the one that I spend around 3 hours trying to create before I leave the house to do anything related to the wedding business.
I also have a 'day job' in the finance industry which I do 4 days per week and that means that most of my wedding-related hours are juggled with screaming, squabbling, hungry, tired and ratty offspring during the evenings and weekends. I have Mondays off, when there are no children in the house for 5 whole blissfully peaceful hours! But by the time I have spent half of those procrastinating on Instagram and Pinterest, dreaming about beautiful, clean velvet sofas and adult only resorts with infinity pools in the Bahamas, there is very little I can achieve in the time remaining!
But also what are the positives? The key positive of juggling the business and the sprogs is that they are my main motivation. I do everything to make them happy in the long run and give them a nice place to live and amazing holidays, so they spur me on to be a success. It's mostly very hectic, but when we make a conscious effort to put everything else aside and focus on family, the time we spend together is truly wonderful, quality time. It's a work hard, play hard kinda set-up. I am also very blessed to have the flexibility that I do, allowing me to drop and collect from school most days and work the business around the kids and vice versa. I feel very privileged to be both a Mum and an entrepreneur.
|Helaina Storey and Heath, Imogen and Poppy|
How on earth do you make it work? I am very blessed to have an incredibly supportive husband who helps me every step of the way. The industry is obviously fairly unsociable hours and he will always drop everything to help look after the kids, drive me to random locations and lend a hand with my weird and wonderful creations, despite having his own business to run as well! My Mum also helps a lot by having the kids for one weekend every month which is the only time we manage to get some 'couple time' and I cannot tell you how grateful and lucky I feel to have that.
Luckily, I am a very naturally organised person and actually get a bit of a thrill out of multi-tasking and taking on the seemingly impossible, in every aspect of life. I would probably find myself very bored if I didn't have so much to juggle!!
Describe a day in the life of you and your business: I work all night, every night on the laptop once the kids are in bed. I work in the bath from my phone (which is my trick for escaping the carnage downstairs for a good hour or two, once Daddy gets home!) and I fit emails and phone calls in whenever I possibly can the rest of the time. I am a bit of a night owl, but that's more of a necessity than a choice. I am VERY tired most of the time but I think the adrenaline, fuelled by my immense passion for the industry and the amazing couples I work with keep me going.
How do you work best? I can focus best when I'm locked in a quiet room away from the mayhem! I also find working with industry colleagues and getting the opportunity to collaborate with other creative talent really motivating.
What time does it all kick off for you? There are no set hours for me really. I tend to respond almost immediately to most enquiries as I have a have pretty impatient, reactive personality. But it gets the job done! I just keep going until I have finished what I set out to do and then make up for it when I take time out for myself and the family, making certain we are all rewarded for the hard work that's put in the rest of the time.
What time do you usually throw in the towel? I usually close the lid on my laptop at about midnight when I feel my eyes starting to close!
What have you learnt the hard way since having your children and running a business simultaneously? I ran my first business in Recruitment (which I ended up loathing) when I had only one baby. After the second one came along, I was determined to make it work but as it was such a cut-throat industry I just couldn't compete and have a healthy life with my family as well. I used to think I could be Superwoman, but have now realised that getting the balance right is so important; and that's the beauty of this business. I have learned that to follow your passions and dreams is the most important thing but that no job should be at the expense of your family. It all needs to work together and I am so happy I have now managed to achieve this, although it will never be easy. But easy is no fun anyway!
You can do ANYTHING but not EVERYTHING. Although I work extremely hard, I always try to live by these words now. You have to know when to take a few steps back and look after Number 1. Otherwise everything else will fall apart. I have also learned about what I am truly good at and have finally discovered my identity again after feeling like I gave that up when I chose motherhood! It really feels like I have the best of both worlds now.
Let us know your most stressed out/most jugglist/most frustrating/most challenging moment so far? I have to literally lock myself in the garden to make any important phone calls so that the person on the receiving end doesn't think I work at a crèche or a ZOO! The dread of where I imagine I will find felt tip or cornflakes or poo when I return is always a nerve wracking experience. If I stay in the house, a child usually falls down the stairs on purpose just to give them an excuse to scream at me for cuddles during a very important Skype! Or they decide that that very moment is the moment they 'NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED a cheesestring NOOOOOOWWWW Mummyyyyyyyyy!!!!'
|Never fall in line, but always want a cheesestring|
Do you think there is enough support for mothers running their own business? I'm not even sure what other support there could be other than financial incentives I suppose, as childcare is obviously stupidly expensive and when my third and final one is old enough for school (trust me, there will be no more babies), I think I will celebrate the freedom of a £1600 per month nursery bill by renting a Ferrari for a year or something equally extravagant! There should definitely be an after school club at every school! (A live-in Butler, Chef and Nanny would be awesome - maybe I'll opt for that in lieu of the Ferrari?) :)
Do you find the industry supportive? I am lucky enough to have a support network close to me, although my Mum also works full time, so day-to-day can still be tough. But I also know some working parent's don't get any help whatsoever and it can be easy for some of us that do to take it for granted! I think offloading to someone who understands your situation and just having a good old vent can help with general sanity and emotional well-being. Not all of us are lucky enough to have that either. Most of us are probably just winging it and that's what makes us Mumtrepeneurs so powerful!
You are all inspirational and we salute and celebrate you all! What do you want to say to all the jugglist massive out there? Keep winging it you fabulous fellow Jugglists! There are no right answers and you are all amazing. Being a parent is a full time job on its own. So anyone taking on extra work on top (and smashing it) deserves huge 'Jugglist Massive' respect.
Images by Most Curious Wedding Fair Sponsor Matilda Delves Wedding Photography | Other than Penny Baldry’s images by Darina Stouda | Balloons and Paper decos by Pop Pop Papier | Calligraphy by The Golden Letter | Flowers by Rebel Rebel | Jugglist Massive Cake Claire Owen Cakes | Geometric pink cake Blossom & Crumb | Peach and red cake Frenchmade London