Mumpreneurs: Meeting the Mums Behind Our Independent CardsPublished on: March 10, 2023
Mother’s Day is all about shining some light onto the incredible mums in our lives, so this Mother’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the inspiring mums running their own design studios to deliver the cards you love! These super-talented mumpreneurs manage to juggle all of the demands of being a mum alongside designing beautiful cards to spread love and laughs for every moment in life. So, join us as we get to know some of these incredible mumpreneurs, learn about how family inspires them, how they overcome the challenges of being a mumpreneur, and what advice they have for other mums looking to kick-start their own entrepreneurial adventures!
You can jump straight to a certain section by clicking below, or keep scrolling to meet our Mumpreneurs!
1. Meet the Mumpreneurs!
Charlotte Rowlands, Cupsie’s Creations
Hi, I’m Charlotte, Mum of two Daughters aged four and two years. I’m originally from Barnsley, but growing up I lived in lots of places across the UK and even Cyprus for a few years, as my Step-Dad was in the forces. After moving around all over, I eventually ended up back in Barnsley where I met my husband.
My husband Michael was the one who came up with the idea of us starting our own business. I’ve always loved drawing, being creative, crafting etc, I’ve tried lots of different mediums such as needle felting, and even pyrography over the years, but I always come back to drawing which is a real passion of mine.
How did you get started?
We started Cupsie’s Creations in Jan 2021 just as I was about to give birth to our second Daughter and as covid rules were starting to relax, so it wasn’t really the ideal time to start. At the time I was drawing a lot just as a way to keep calm and pass the time, Michael was looking for extra ways to make money online as we had lost my income because I didn’t want to go back to a full time job, after having children. I agreed to it as long as Michael would help out with the technical/admin side of things, having a new born wouldn’t leave me much time to draw let alone do all the other things that come with running a business. Originally we started out designing apparel on Red Bubble, but soon we came across the greetings card industry and fell in love with it.
Emma, Emma Proctor Design
Hello! My name’s Emma. I’m originally from Wiltshire. I now live in Northamptonshire. I’m a single mum to my 10-year-old daughter and my VERY disobedient squirrel-mad spaniel Betty. I moved ‘temporarily’ to Northamptonshire in 1997 to get away from a computer based advertising and design job and to start a new illustration role with a greetings card publisher. I wanted to get back to ‘old school’ drawing again.
I thought moving to the coast and working more creatively would be a wonderful experience, however…on the day of my interview I realised that Corby was in the Midlands (I must do better with my knowledge of the UK!!). I almost didn’t go for the interview but I did, and the rest as they say is history…although I still long for the coast…perhaps one day?
How did you start your own business?
A started my own business after the studio I previously worked for closed down. I worked for a division of large UK greetings card company – Hallmark (am I allowed to say that?). It was great working with so many talented people and having the opportunity to work in such a diverse and varied way.
My boss used to say ‘slow to hire, slow to fire’. No one in the studio had imagined being made redundant and the whole London branch closing. Although sad, it spurred me to freelance and it fitted in really well with being a single parent (I do miss the technical support though when I feel like throwing my computer out of the window!)
Thankfully, after SO many years in the greeting card industry (I’m old!) I had a great many contacts working for lots of different companies. I was fortunate to build up a variety of clients quite quickly. I also had an agent who introduced me to children’s book illustration so I have quite a varied portfolio of clients and jobs. It certainly helped that I work in a great deal of different styles and techniques. I don’t limit myself to a certain ‘look’. I also conceptualise for humour briefs and write editorial.
Jessie, Jessie Maeve Studio
I am Jessie, I’m a designer and illustrator from London and I am mum to two fantastic and feisty girls aged 9 and 7.
I have been a fashion designer for over 20 years, designing garments and prints for high street stores. During lockdown I began designing cards for local friends and realised that my true love was illustration and greeting cards.
How did you get started with your own business?
I started small with a few cards and sold at local craft markets and online with Etsy. I also started selling online with greeting card companies. I found a lots of inspiration from other illustrators on Instagram, and did some online courses to learn iPad drawing.
Bev O’Connor, OCD
Hi, my name’s Bev and I’m a Mumpreneur! I’m originally from Southampton but moved to Bedford when I met my now husband, James. In 2017, after a difficult few years and a round of IVF, we finally welcomed our baby girl. She’s always been lively, bouncing off the walls from the moment she wakes until right before she falls asleep… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How did you get started with your own business?
I loved being on maternity leave but really missed my creative job. Once my daughter started to nap I took the opportunity to explore illustration by creating cards for family and friends. The cards had such good feedback I decided to launch OCD and put my cards out into the big wide world.
Once I’d decided to take the leap I bought myself a printer and a stack of card. I signed up to the socials and opened an Etsy shop. It’s pretty addictive getting likes and sales and it all escalated from there. I never imagined I’d end up designing for the likes of Funky Pigeon and still have to pinch myself!
Sarah, Silky Rose Design
I’m Sarah, the illustrator and designer behind Silky Rose Design. I live in West London with my husband and two daughters. I have been designing greeting cards for 2 years and can either be found drawing portraits, Mid-century modern illustrations, or working on my hand lettering for my greeting card designs.
How did you get started with your own business?
During maternity leave, I started imagining what my dream job would be. When the impending return to work after having a baby is looming it makes you re-evaluate what you want to do with your life. It didn’t take long to figure out I wanted to do something that allowed me to be creative, and allowed me to be home with my babies. It took a lot longer to figure out how I would make that happen though!
After a lot of trying my hand at different ways to be creative, I eventually returned to my first love of drawing and discovered I had a real love for creating digital art. So I splashed out on an iPad pro and the Procreate app and just started drawing every day, to help refine my skills. I still hadn’t figured out what exactly I wanted to design – patterns, art prints, children’s’ illustrations etc, but I was getting closer and I eventually landed in the world of greeting cards! I got hooked pretty instantly. I uploaded my first designs in February 2021, by Father’s Day I had a best seller, the same year I started working with The London Studio and had Christmas cards available through Funky Pigeon! It all took off a lot quicker than I ever expected and I’m so grateful for every opportunity that has come my way!
2. What challenges do you face as a mumpreneur, and how do you get around them?
“I still work part time, so finding time to design as much as would like can sometimes be a challenge. Also add in having to juggle childcare, school runs, homework and looming deadlines, and spending time with family and friends too – life can get busy quickly!
I need to be very organised with my time – my part time job is on the same 3 days each week, which leaves me two school days I can dedicate to my business each week – precious, uninterrupted days without requests for snacks and drinks, or needing to referee squabbles! I often work into the night, and use some of the time at the weekends when I need to. School holidays makes everything trickier again! I like to make sure I have free time to spend with my girls as they are the biggest reason I’m doing this. Also, a bonus to drawing on the iPad, it allows me to pick it up and grab half an hour drawing time at different moments in the day.”
“As well as being a Mum and designing cards, I also have a part time job, which takes the pressure off a little. BUT also means the biggest challenge I face is TIME! Luckily designing cards is a big passion of mine so it’s something I want to find the time for. You’ll often find me curled up on the sofa of an evening with the radio on, lost in an illustration.”
“Sometimes it’s hard to be present with the kids when my mind is flitting between so many tasks and creative ideas. I am always running out of time and having to pick up things in the evenings as the school day is so short!
I don’t always find the time to fit everything in, between a small business, freelance work, house chores, parenting etc but I don’t think any parent does! I am lucky to be able to work around the kids being at school, and am so lucky to have a creative job that I enjoy.”
“I’m a stay at home Mum now and even though my eldest started school last year, it’s still another year until our youngest Daughter starts nursery for three hours a day. This means I only get around 1 hour per day to draw, and in the school holidays even less. The girls are currently at the age where they are constantly wrestling and jumping all over me (even as I’m drafting this article sat on the sofa). I do however have a lot of time to think of ideas just not much time to sit down and draw them all.
Thankfully, I have Michael who gives up his time in the evenings or mornings (depending on his shift pattern) to format all my designs, and get them uploaded for me. I also have my Mum who is a massive help, she regularly looks after the kids one day/night a week so I can sit down and seriously draw without being interrupted. After speaking with a few fellow Mum artists who recommended it, we also invested in an iPad and procreate Christmas 2021. This gives me extra time to draw on the occasion that the kids decide to sit still and watch TV, it’s easy to pickup for 10 mins here and there.”
– Charlotte, Cupsie’s Creations
“My biggest challenge is the numerical side of things. I have to be really disciplined at invoicing and paperwork or I’d be having beans on toast everyday! I think a great many designers/illustrators struggle with the business side of things. After always working for companies that handle your pension, salary, health benefits etc. it’s quite daunting to have to ‘talk money’ with clients and negotiate royalties and fees. Let’s face it…we do what we do because we like to draw – I thought a ‘spread sheet’ was something you put down when decorating!
I start every tax year vowing to separate my receipts into month order and I’ve usually failed a few months in. My old school reports used to say ‘Emma must work harder if she wants to succeed at maths’…who knew that would come back to haunt me!?
To get over this, I pay for an accountant. It’s ok to acknowledge your weaknesses – the accountancy fee will probably be more reasonable than the fine for submitting a late tax return?”
3. How do your family inspire your work?
“A lot of my designs are inspired by people in my everyday life, and looking at my own family definitely gives me lots of ideas that I hope is relatable to other families! My two girls love telling me their ideas for cards too. Some of which I have designed – the less random ideas anyway! But they love getting involved and get so happy to see their ideas turned into cards. They are all my biggest cheerleaders and celebrate all the successes along the way – big or small! They are also pretty talented artists themselves (even if I’m slightly biased) so keep an eye out for the next generation of card designers!”
“Absolutely. One of the reasons I wanted to start my own business was so I could be there for the school runs and the holidays. They’re my biggest cheerleaders. My daughter is always asking how I got so good at drawing, and loves to help packing up orders for me. I like to think one day I might pass OCD over to her.”
“My kids tell me what is cool and inspire me all the time! We share a love of Japan and all things kawaii (cute), and we all like to draw animals and food. They love to get involved seeing what I have designed recently and giving their opinions, and often come up with a pun or two!”
“I love to design kids greeting cards. My girls aren’t very girly and I was the same growing up. My eldest loves superheroes and my youngest, dinosaurs and football. So I love to design their birthday cards as they aren’t “mainstream” designs, and other families with girls like mine can also buy them then too.
My family are always very sarcastic to each other (it’s a sign you’re loved if they take the mick out of you) so this has rubbed off on me growing up, and Michael is the same too. We love to come up with funny ideas that relate to everyday things.”
– Charlotte, Cupsie’s Creations
“My daughter really is a chip off the old block and LOVES to design. I’ve worked on quite a few illustrated children’s books and she skips off to school with them every time it’s publication day. I always dedicate the book to her and she loves to read it out to her teacher. I feel an equal measure of pride and embarrassment at the same time. I complain when she brings in all her paints and pens into my studio and makes a mess as I’m quite tidy and organised…but deep down I secretly love it.”
4. What advice do you have for other Mums thinking of starting their own business?
“It might seem impossible to get anything done at the beginning, use whatever time you can carve out of your day and don’t worry about the housework too much! The kids will only make it messy again anyway! Also don’t set yourself too much to do in a day – be realistic and don’t overwhelm yourself. Keep going and it will get easier as kids get older.”
“Do it! As long as you love what you do, others will too. You can make it work. Start small, remember you are always learning and are building the foundation for something bigger in the future.”
“Start small! I am still doing my ‘day job’ and it can be overwhelming sometimes, but I love designing cards and enjoy working in front of the TV in the evenings. Start before you are ready. There will never be a perfect time, especially for mums!”
“My advice would be to start small, don’t try to run before you can walk. Always make time to be a Mum and prioritise that over the business, your children are only young once and you’ll have plenty of time once they are at nursery/school to concentrate on your business later. Use this time to learn what works, what sells. When I started out, I drew lots of similar designs in quick succession thinking they would sell, but they didn’t and I’d wasted a lot of time, If only I’d have taken a slower approach and walked before trying to run!”
– Charlotte, Cupsie’s Creations
“My advice would be to not overcommit to jobs but I’m guilty of doing exactly that. I rarely turn a job down as I always feel I have time and end up working all hours. Being self-employed – there’s an insecurity that you’ll run out of work. I think running out quality time with your children would be a greater regret. I have to remember that it’s fine to say ’no’ to jobs sometimes.”
Making This Mother’s Day Special
So there you go! Thank you to all the independent mumpreneurs who took time out to share their stories and advice with us, hopefully you’re inspired! If you’d like you explore some of the designs from these incredible talented designers, you can click on their names throughout the article. Or, check out a mix of all our featured mumpreneur’s favourite designs below!
If you haven’t sorted your Mother’s Day yet, don’t worry – we have a huge range of thoughtful and funny Mother’s Day cards and loads of personalised and novelty Mother’s Day gift ideas! Plus, you can order beautiful Mother’s Day flower arrangements and bouquets to surprise her this Mothering Sunday.