Meet this month's mumma of the month, Jenna. I met Jenna a few years ago through mums group and then got to know her more when she joined a bookclub I was running. Jenna is a truly great inspiration for any mumma who can use her talent and turn it into a business. I have been learning so much from watching Jenna's business Topknot Shop unfold and grow through using social media and word of mouth to create a name for herself and a growing business. I love Jenna for her passion for her girls and her drive towards To Knot Shop and think she will be a great encouragement to anyone that is thinking of starting a work from home business or trying something a bit different from your pre-kids career. Enjoy xx
For all our wonderful readers, Jenna is offering 10% off all orders until July 31st YIPPEEE! Just add the code word - TOPKNOTMUM10 when ordering. Thanks Jenna xx
Head to www.topknotshop.com
Apart from being a mum, what do you do with all the free time that you don’t have?
I have to admit, I’m getting a little better at carving time out for myself :) give me a good book, a hot latte, a donut (or two) and a pedicure and I’m a happy girl!
I’m not much of a homebody so we’re often out looking for our new favourite cafe and exploring our city - there are a million amazing corners of Sydney to uncover and little gems really just pop up all over the place.
Tell us about your business. How did you start it up? How do you run it? How do you manage that and being a mum?
Topknot Shop was/is one of those ‘wouldn’t that be fun one day’ dreams. I honestly just woke up one day surrounded by kids and normal life and decided, I’m going to do this, starting right now! I’ve always been one of those clever crafty people; crochet a little something here, sew a little something else there, so naturally my mind just started constructing little patterns and ideas into little goodies for my girls.
It started as a bit of a hobby to earn a little ‘fun-money’ and is now growing into much more than that. Give me another year or two and it’ll be my REAL job! (Totally not something I would have thought 12 months ago). We have a website, a fun little Instagram community and have popped into a few markets locally. I’m also looking into a few more exciting options as we grow.
Being mumma and boss-lady are both parts of who I am as a whole person; there are days where I feel like super-mum and do the craft/songs/reading/park/healthy snacks/bedtimes and there are other days where the tv is on ALL day and I’m working and creating and barely remembering to give everyone some lunch! Sometimes I finish the day feeling proud, like I lived that day exactly how I want to live and others that I am just grateful that I can go to sleep and wake up to a new day tomorrow. There’s grace for all of that and thankfully we all seem to be healthy and happy and growing in to great people for the most part :)
How did you see yourself as a mum before you became one?
I thought I would be the woman with a whole pack of kids. After having a healthy dose of reality, the two that I have are more than enough at the moment! I’ve been a kid-person since I was a kid myself so I always knew/planned/thought I’d be a pretty great mum (If I do say so myself, lol) but there is SO much more to being someone’s mum than any book or person could ever teach you. I learned early on that everyone adds a different flavour to parenthood and not to hold myself to my own rules or expectations - real life changes and adapts and so should I!
Can you give us three rules you made pre-mum that you have now broken? Have you stuck to any?
Ha! I had LOTS of rules before I had any kids, less rules when I only had one and now, who needs rules?! I was going to be the natural-birth-breastfeeding-healthy snacks-mama who kept the TV off and had beautiful wooden educational toys to encourage my child to become the next president/rock star/cure for cancer finding doctor/super athlete. My birth plan turned into ‘whatever it takes to get this overdue baby OUT’ (twice) and I breastfed (but quickly realised formula also does the job just fine). Now my house is full of the glorious sounds of ABC for Kids and plastic brightly-coloured Disney Princess toys. I’m doing my best to raise happy, healthy, kind children and I think that’s a good enough ‘rule’ to stick to.
What does your day look like as a mum?
Wake up to sweet girls YELLING (good morning/mama/UP! UP!) from their room, coffee, breakfast, get dressed. We’re usually fully awake/coherent/ready to tackle the day by 9 and that's where the daily similarities usually end. Sometimes we have errands, sometimes we meet friends, sometimes I make headbands from morning til night. We’re pretty flexible but our weeks are usually a combination of all of the above. My kids are young enough that we all just hang out together for the most part (while poor daddy has to go to work) and I know it’ll all change when we add school and homework and other activities to the mix. For now, we’re embracing the chaos and sticking to a very loose routine (afternoon naps are my sanity source during the week)
What do you love most about being a mum?
I love surprising my girls and watching them do or see something for the first time. We took them to Disneyland and even though they’re still very young, it was absolutely MAGICAL watching their little faces light up as they watched the parade or met a ‘real-life’ princess. Seeing the same expressions when they try their first babychino or watch fireworks or fly high on the swings are as special for me as for them, I think.
What are some of your challenges as a mum?
Sometimes my house is going to be messy, sometimes my kids are going to throw colossal tantrums in the grocery store, sometimes the Australia Post is going to take AAAGES to deliver a parcel, sometimes I'm going to forget dinner is in the oven and burn it to a crisp. I can either get all worked up and upset every time things feel out of balance OR I can choose to give myself (and my kids, and my friends, and my customers) grace and get on with life. Too much emotional energy is wasted on stuff that we can't change or that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I try to remember to whack on a smile, to put on my big-girl boots and carry on. Tomorrow is a new day to clean up or calm the child down or follow up on lost post or make a gourmet dinner :)
Who are your mum people and how have they influenced you as a mum?
I’ve got LOTS of mum people in my life! I’m part of a couple of Mums groups and playgroups that I try to keep as a priority in my week - they keep me sane and serve as a pretty constant reminder that we all face many of the same challenges. They’re really good at being the encouragement that I need, as well as the voice of reason or wisdom when I feel like I just can’t see straight. I’m also very close with my mum and she been a HUGE positive influence on who I am as a person, as well as my parenting style. I’m pretty relaxed and cruisey by nature (though pretty fiery and passionate) and I like to think that a lot of that is as a direct result of the great people around me just living well and rubbing off on me as we go along.
Tell us a mum moment of yours (funniest, grossest, sweetest etc)
I’m loving how hilarious our kids are - a little bit of attitude and a handful of cheeky comments just makes me giggle. A fave moment is when my 3 year old told me to straighten up and stop being difficult (Um, excuse me?!) For the record, I was telling her that she, in fact, could NOT have fruit snacks for dinner.
What would you say to a mum who wants to start a small business and can you give them any pointers as to how to do that?
If you have a great idea - do it! Set it up right, get registered, pay tax and build a great foundation for something bigger right from the start. That way, when it grows, you're ready! Even if it starts out slow, keep building. Keep following leads, keep posting on social media, keep using your creativity and build your skills. Get people around you who will encourage you and who believe in you and build a community with other people in a similar position. There have definitely been moments where I questioned if it was worth the hard work and if anyone even liked what I was making - I’m glad I didn’t let it all fizzle out when it felt like we weren’t getting anywhere because we’ve grown, slowly but surely. There were weeks where my seeming endless hours of work and consistency (and sewing and crocheting and instagramming) didn’t look like much but then literally allowed us to put food on our table and petrol in our car when we weren’t sure if we’d be able to. Anything worth building takes work - but lucky for me, the hard work is mostly fun!
I hope you enjoying this month's interview with Jenna and don't forget to visit her store Top Knot Shop for some gorgeous accessories for you and your kids. You can also follow her on Instagram @topknot_shop or her Topknot Shop Facebook Page.
I will be back in two weeks as I am heading a bit closer towards the sun for a family holiday. Stay tuned for my first week back on stories of my holiday with the kids including flying, which I am sure will be entertaining, although I'm currently dreading it now! Love you all, don't forget to subscribe and share my site with your mumma friends xx