Monday Mumpreneur with Caroline Townsend-Sawley
Every Monday we feature a mumpreneur who’s ready and willing to open up their lives and their business to us.
They share with us their motivation, their challenges and their proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves.
If you’re looking for inspiration, then our featured business mums show you what’s possible.
I'm so delighted to introduce you to our mumpreneur this week because she is so inspiring and is sharing with us how a business can help you through a rough time and also because, as with some of our other featured mumpreneurs, I've had the honour of meeting her in real life. She not only came along to our regional mumpreneur network, but she loves music festivals, so we've been bumping into each other when I've got my other hat on (that of being Zoe's 'music mumager') and I must admit we've been swinging our trousers down the front a few times 😉 . . . . .
Your name: Caroline Townsend-sawley
I recently finished my new website which is to showcase the different things I can design and make. Most things I make are designed and made to order. My facebook and website give you the opportunity to browse and get a feeling about what I do.
Tell me about your children
I have three children, ryan, 22 years old, works at Tesco and is a good, quiet lad. Willian, 13 years old, quiet, sensitive boy who loves his Xbox and our family dog, Lucy. Then there is Cat (Catherine), 10 years old and my little girl who thinks she is a boy! She is very creative which for her also means messy! All my chidren are growing up in a home where nothing is broken until dad says it is (as he can usually fix most things) and we would much rather try and make something, before rushing out to buy it (unless it is a new Xbox game!!!)
Where do you live?
On the Outskirts of Dumfries, Scotland (the most beautiful place in the world!)
PC or Mac?
I'm PC, my husband recently went Mac
Tell us about your business
I'm a textile artist who works with natural fibres like merino wool
and silk in hand making felt fabric. This is used to make bridal bodices and full bridal gowns and accessories. I have also developed a way of weaving fibres to create tartan felt which can be moulded in to seamless bodices.
Handmade felt blends different fibres together to create colours and texture that are unique. The nature of felt also allows the felt fabric to be moulded, which when used in bodices and gowns, give a soft, seamless finish.
My bridal bodices and gowns are deigned with the bride, to create a bespoke gown that has been hand made and truly reflects the personality of the bride on her special day. The use of handmade felt in bodices and bridal gowns is unique to Elegant Originals and is perfect for the bride who is looking for a natural wedding, using natural fibres and techniques.
I also work with silk chiffon as this contrasts and compliments the softness of handmade felt in bridal gowns. Hand dying also allows me to create graduation in colour and my hand dyed scarves mixed with nuno felted fibres to create scarves that are light, sensual and unique.
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
My health and my children. I was ill early last year whilst in my
final year of a degree and my love of fibres and felt have been my recovery! My children also love that I work from home now, so I'm always busy, but still around.
What's been your biggest challenge in business?
At the moment it is the dreaded book keeping! As I'm new to all this, I have been concentrating on developing my work and being creative, rather than keeping up to date with paperwork. There is a pile of it on my kitchen table right now as I type this and it's glaring at me!!!!
How have you overcome it?
Got to put a shout out for our local Business Gateway! The people there have been so supportive and the courses that they run are brilliant. Just got to put what I learnt into practice now. Come back in a few weeks and I'll let you know if I did overcome this challenge!
What's been your proudest business moment?
Every time someone says something positive about my work! It always thrills me when I get a sale or a kind remark. I recently received my first proper commission and was over the moon. I love what I do, and when someone else loves it enough to trust me to make something for them for their wedding day - it is a wonderful feeling!!
What's your catchphrase or favourite quote?
'Don't dream it, be it' - that is from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I am a true Rocky fan and think that to be happy, we have to stop dreaming about what we want to be, we have to just take life by the horns and be it. I may not be rich or go on fancy holidays, but for the first time in my life, I am living my dream.
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
Wine, red wine! Not just wine, I am also a lover of music festivals
and being in a field in my caravan. If all three are combined - heaven!!!!!!
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
Just arrived this morning - for Elegant Originals really, but it means I can get creating. A full roll of silk chiffon fabric! I've been buying it in short lengths when I needed it, but thought if I'm going to be able to go with my creativity, I need to have plenty of silk to go at! I've designed a flapper style bridal gown to display at my next wedding fayre and need lots of silk chiffon for layers in that, so its all very exciting 🙂
Favourite colour: Purple! Just love it xx
Favourite flowers: Scented Freesias
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
Keep believing in yourself. You are a wonderful person with a
brilliant business idea and you can make it work xxx
Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mumpreneurs? Drop me an email over on the contact page – and I’ll be in touch. Or let me know in a comment below.