Siobhan is Mama to One Beautiful Babe, Indie Rose, 5 months old and Wife to One Man One Shed (Sam)! Based in Ramsbottom, North Manchester, Siobhan creates a truly unique range of hand crafted, ‘up cycled’ vintage pieces. She has a strong passion for beautiful cutlery alongside a love of quirky, decorative uses which has resulted in a large range of handstamped pieces that make ideal gifts.
When and why did you start out?
My grandma had decided to get rid of some of her old cutlery and being the sentimental soul that I am I just had to find a way to make it useful in my life. My husband and I have always been quite creative and so we decided that we’d like to try to stamp them with messages for our wedding. We did. Everybody loved them. And before long, friends and family were asking us to create pieces for them and then insisting we sell them so we started our business under its previous name (Pop Up Vintage) back in May 2014 but it served as more of a hobby for us alongside our full time jobs.
My competitive hubby decided it would be a good idea to create a little spousal rivalry so he decided to leave me high and dry (in business terms!) and set up his own brand. Thankfully, girl power means that I am still running the more successful shop of the two… hehe!
During my maternity leave I realised I was going to be made redundant upon my return so I decided to focus more on my hobby and attempt to turn it into more of a business, ensuring that I could work from home whilst still being a mama to my beautiful babe. I like to keep busy and I love to channel my energy into creative projects so One Mama One Shed has turned into my second baby.
Do you have any formal training?
No, I’m a creative person by nature. It was a self taught craft that has been perfected over the many months of practice.
How do you fit in running a business with having a family?
It’s hard work! Before I was on maternity leave it was very difficult because I worked full time and then returned home to stamp and package all night long, all the while cheekily squeezing post office runs into my working day. I thought it would get easier with maternity leave but I’m sure all mums can vouch for me when I say that staying at home is not at all easy and is in itself a full time job. These days the post office runs provide the perfect nap time for Indie and all the hard work happens when she is tucked up in bed, which means late nights and a tired Mama. I can’t complain at all though because every order placed means more time at home with Indie. It supports my family and I, and for that I will be forever grateful, without my loyal customers my business wouldn’t grow.
What has been the biggest challenge since starting your business?
Managing my workload. I don’t want my customers to wait long for their orders. I strive to provide products that my customers love and customer service that brings a smile to their face. Sometime that happens to the detriment of my home life though because there can be very little time to just put my feet up and relax with the hubster. The run up to Christmas was so busy last year in fact that I actually hand delivered a package on Christmas Day!
And the best reward/achievement?
The actual process of making products that I then receive 5* feedback for is extremely rewarding, but, this year, the most rewarding for me has to be the fact that it has enabled me to stay at home with my new baby girl instead of feeling the pressure to return to work straightway.
What are your business goals for 2017?
In addition to some possible collaborations I have also been testing out some new product ideas that will complement my current range. I want to perfect them before sending them out to my Brand Reps for testing. If they’re satisfied then I will eagerly reveal them!
Are there any barriers to achieving your goals?
I don’t want to sound like a broken record but….having the time to perfect and market new items will be my biggest barrier.
Have you built a support network of other mums/women in business?
Instagram has been invaluable in helping me hook up with other amazing Mamas in the same boat. Some of them I’ve met in person at the Mamas Collective Meetups (@mamasmcr) and the Working Mums Club (@mancmamas) and others have been so generous in offering advice and support even when they only know me in squares!
Any tips for mum’s just starting out in business?
Starting a business, whilst exciting, can be a daunting and lonely venture so I think its important to reach out to others in a similar position. Instagram is full of small fledgling businesses, ran by people just like you and me, all looking to make a living, feed mouths, and realise a dream. Say hello, seek their advice, ask their opinion, see if you can help to promote one anothers work or simply learn from what they do.
You can find Siobhan’s work here