Hi, I’m Stevie – the Mama behind the business, Defined. I’m here to give all you amazing mamas out there some insight into the small business world and let you know that you can achieve anything you set your heart and mind too!
But first , I think it’s important to let you in on a bit of background information, because that is really where my journey begins.
Let’s rewind 10 years. I’m 14 years old and I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). For those of you who haven’t heard of PCOS, it’s a condition which effects the ability of your ovaries producing and releasing regular eggs during your menstrual cycle. It affects 1 in 10 women, and in some cases, it leads to infertility. Anyway, back to topic. At 14 years old, I’d read all about the symptoms and the condition itself, but at that age, I never really thought much of it. Doctors would tell me it was a condition that could change with age and quite frankly, I had no idea on how it may effect me in the future.
Now fast forward back to 2016. I’m 22, I’m with a partner and we’ve just got engaged. I’m now starting to look into the future and my condition suddenly begins to play a huge part. “Do my ovaries actually work?” “Will I ever get pregnant?” “What will happen if I don’t ovulate?” Eventually, we managed to get a doctors appointment to discuss my condition and after numerous scans and bloods, it was clear, my body was just not made for producing eggs. I didn’t ovulate, and sooner or later my cycle completely stopped. I was scared, angry, frustrated, and unbelievably upset. Why did this have to happen to me? I’ve always worked with children and was a current Room Leader of five years in a nursery I loved so having children of my own was always on my agenda and to now face a hurdle like this, I was struggling to accept it.
But, we didn’t give up hope.
We were referred to fertility treatment by our GP where we discussed which option would work best for us. Months went by and every month I hoped I’d see that positive pregnancy test, but it never happened. My workplace was taken over by a new company, I was completely stressed and I spent many days in tears. I decided to focus more on making positive changes so I got an amazing new job, and we moved into our very first home together. Within a month of all this happening, I finally fell pregnant and I cannot put into words the emotions and feelings that went through me when I finally saw that positive result.
In August 2018, my beautiful baby boy, my little miracle, came into the world and from that moment, I knew I would do everything in my power to protect him and give him my everything.
A year on maternity soon flew by, and I had to start weighing up my options. We hadn’t settled for a nursery and we had no family that were available to care for Arthur. I loved my career, but I knew I just couldn’t go back. Deep down my gut was telling me that leaving was the right thing to do. How could I put my child in a nursery to go to a nursery and care for other people’s children? I just didn’t want to miss out on my own precious little boy.
Arthur is now 16 months old and my PCOS is still no better, despite doctors telling me my condition may develop after having a baby – like a reset button. More tests have been carried out and unfortunately, I am one of those Mamas who just wasn’t made to have children naturally. My body needs support in producing those little eggs and I have to accept that.
I was so worried about how I would find the funds for a second round of fertility treatment, especially now I was out of work, and so I confided in one of my amazing mama friends I met through the Instagram community – Jodie, the amazing lady behind The Unmistakable Effect. She reassured me that there would be a way and we discussed my little hobby of enjoying making gifts for friends and family. I’ve always been very creative and loved Art at school, so making small gifts such as personalised baubles at Christmas was always something I enjoyed doing.
These girls have been my absolute rock and have supported me from the very first day.
We put together a little WhatsApp chat with a few of the other insta mamas who also own small businesses. Hollie, behind BBrosebows and Mikalia, behind Silver Edition Designs. These girls have been my absolute rock and have supported me from the very first day. They helped me gather business ideas, gave me tips on how to set up my Instagram account and even helped me get started by making my business logo and helping me decide on a name.
I was SO SCARED by this point. It was all becoming real and I was spending a fortune on resources. All that was going through my mind is “what if.” “What If I’ve spent all this money and no one likes my products” “what if It doesn’t take off” “what if I can’t keep up with the workload around being a mum?” But I took the plunge anyway and now there is no looking back!
My account has been open for 5 months and already…
My account has been open for 5 months and already I’ve been swamped with orders, constant support from other mums and overwhelmed with positive feedback on my products. It hasn’t always been an easy ride, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learnt from them and that is one of the most important parts of owning a small business. Do not let mistakes defeat you. Whether you’ve been open for one month or one year, we all make mistakes and they happen in order for us to learn from them.
The advice that I found most helpful, is having some product testers before opening for orders. I made free products and created them and packaged them as if they were going to paying customers. They were sent out to my product testers in return for nothing but feedback. Although most was positive, there were some things that came up that needed tweaking. For example, the way I had packaged my cake toppers meant unfortunately they had been damaged upon the process of Royal Mail handling and delivering them. But I didn’t let that stop me. I listened to the advice I was given and made changes. Thanks to this, I now have happy customers and non damaged cake toppers! So yes, this is a huge tip for anyone wanting to start up a new business.
Find something that inspires you and let that be your focus for making your dream a reality. In my case, my inspiration is my family ❤️