Monday Mumpreneur with Sandra Dowse from Pickle Pie Gifts
On Mondays we feature a mumpreneur just like you and me 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.
This week we're peeking inside the business of a workaholic mumpreneur managing the busiest time of the year for her gift company to see how she creates the balance between busyness and family.
Name: Sandra Dowse
Tell me about your children:
William - Age 3
I'm also 34 weeks pregnant with baby No2! No name yet!
Where do you live?
Smarden in Kent, UK
PC or Mac?
Mac all the way! Never owned a pc - wouldn't even know how to turn one on!
Tell us about your business
Pickle Pie offers bespoke, personalised gifts that are quirky, fun and are quite literally jam packed with love!
We offer products from a wide range of Homeware items, personalised oven mitts, aprons, loom band tins, iPhone cases, iPad cases and even dog treat tins!
There is myself Sandra, Mel who is my right hand lady & Head of Customer Happiness, Clare who's the Chief Printer of all things pretty, Julia (who is my mum) and the Head of Beautiful Gift Wrapping, plus four Designers, a book keeper and 9 children between us (soon to be 10!)
All our products are bespoke yet affordable and we work with the customer every step of the way to design a perfect product. As each product is different and personal to you, there are no two the same!
All you need to do is tell us the nice bits, the happy bits and even the slightly embarrassing bits. You must then choose a colour scheme and design. Then wait while we squish and squash it all into a beautiful, personalised product and send it out to you.
All designs are trendy, quirky, contemporary and fun and the best part is making our customers smile with the end result! Get Pickling!
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
I worked full time for years in London, at several Design and Marketing positions. I then had William and decided that if the business I had on the side was really going to succeed and be taken to the next level, I needed to devote all my time to it and immerse myself 100% and live and breathe Pickle Pie! Which is what I did!
Having a family and running a business is very hard, but with the right attitude, devotion to both the business and the family, you can succeed at being a great mum and a mumpreneur at the same time!
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
I think the biggest hurdle that we have overcome as a company is being a gift company, our busiest time of the year is Christmas and that also coincides with the biggest family time of the year too! In the last quarter of this year we received our 10,000th order!
We are so passionate to succeed and grow, that the challenge of the amount of orders we have achieved and getting happy customers returning to us combined with the busy family lives we lead, makes for a very ambitious mix!
How have you overcome it?
By being ambitious, never giving up, being slightly crazy and never losing our sense of humour! (Ok, maybe we do in mid November - but we soon find it again!)
What’s been your proudest business moment?
I have a mixture of moments that I feel very proud of. Appearing in loads of cool PR and magazine articles, being featured on the notonthehighstreet blog, one of our prints appearing in "The only way is Essex", Achieving 10, 000 orders, Opening our new shiny office last month and believe it or not becoming VAT registered! (It means that we are now taken seriously in the world of business!)
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
"If at first you don’t succeed; you are running about average" - MH Alderson
“The best way to predict your future is to create it”
― Peter F. Drucker
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
Relax! What is that? I am a workaholic and Im often found in the office at midnight, printing out orders and dispatch notes! But when the laptop is stowed away and the weekend is here, I love to have country walks with the family, spend time on in our beautiful home and maybe a spot of cooking and baking too!
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
My husband brought me a Thermomix Food gadget for my birthday last week, so the last treat I purchased for me was some bread tins, so I can get making my own bread!
Its a close call between Charcoal Grey & Vintage shabby green!
Hydrangers - the bigger the better!
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
Make your work life as flexible as you can - this will not only be great for you but also be the ethos for the team that support you too. We all work flexible hours and around our family life.
When the kids are at nursery or school and then we are always there to do the school runs, attend sports days and cook the tea. But as soon as bedtime is here, we revert back to the laptop and get working! Its a hard slog, but well worth it.
Its possible to then get the perfect balance of being a great mummy and working for a great company!
Find out more about Sandra and her business on her sites and connect with her on social media:
Fancy inspiring others by sharing your mumpreneur story with our community? Drop me an email over on the contact page – and I’ll be in touch. Or let me know in a comment below.