Today I’m sharing another Women at Work interview. I’m going through a few changes “behind the scenes” in this department so I’m always interested to find out how other moms are managing their manic lives. This month we are meeting Yvette who is a mom of 2 little girls. She is based in Durban where she runs an online shop called Artesense selling handmade crafts – from jewellery, to art, to furniture!
She calls herself a dreamer…. with a heart for the broken-hearted and poor and a passion for all things handmade!
I love the care and effort that goes into making beautiful things by hand, something that has become a little bit lost in this day and age. I am a bit of a late bloomer and have recently taken up my old passion for painting and creating.
I come across beautiful handmade treasures all the time and wanted to make them available anytime, anywhere…this led me to start ArtEsense, an online shop for handmade gifts and products.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
My daughters’ filled every inch of my life and my heart, but when they started growing up (all too fast!), their busy little lives left me with loads more time during the day than before…I am a dreamer and I really wanted to follow my dreams and passions. When I looked into starting an online shop, it seemed so achievable and that was when I just went ahead and did just that!
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I did not study anything in this field, but thankfully my passion has not required me to study anything except learn as I go along, with lots of trial and error along the way!
What have been the highlights?
The talented, amazing people I have met so far!
What’s the best part of your job?
Apart from being able to work from home, with flexible hours, I would have to say the best part is doing what I love! It makes everything worthwhile.
What is the most challenging part?
In the beginning I worked many ‘unpaid’ hours, which was hard but I didn’t mind because I was doing it for me. The most challenging would have to be not being able to swivel round in my office chair and ask an opinion from a colleague, I have had to come up with all my own ideas which can be hard. Sometimes it is nice to be able to get another perspective and share ideas with someone who is as invested in it as you!
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
My typical day would be to get my girls to school, after which I come back home to tea and breakfast, exercise or a jog on the beach, some days include abit of travelling, but most of the time I am at my computer for a few hours, before taking a “break” to paint, create and make a beautiful mess! My afternoons are spent driving my daughters from ballet to piano to art to friends then home again to do homework, start cooking and hopefully back to my computer before winding down to dinner and then finally its just me and my husband…
What are the “secrets” to your success?
Never be afraid to ask for advice. Since I am alone in my business I have done just that and it has made all the difference! I also think passion, determination and perseverance are a must, but if you do what you love, those qualities often come naturally.
As a mom how do you get the balance between your family and career life right? Your tips and tricks?
If I have to be honest, the balance is never quite right! As a mom I think you always feel like you are neglecting something! Having an online shop means you are ‘always open’, with no official working hours. It takes discipline to prioritize the most important things each day. For me, every day is different and sometimes something has to give, even if it means my children for one day! I do my best though to ‘work like mad’ while I am not with my girls. When my husband comes home this becomes our family time. I try to make sure I am not working during ‘their’ time. Even though I may have to put in a few hours of work on a weekend I try to do this after we have packed our days with loads of fun and family time. I think as long as you except you will never be able to do it all, you just have to do your best.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
Our happiest times are with our wonderful friends and family. We also love the beach and all that it has to offer – surfing, swimming, roller-skating, riding bikes! You name it, we never get tired of that. In Durban we have beautiful beaches and warm weather all year round! We also LOVE to cook and eat and so fun always includes a lot of good food in very good company! My husband likes to fish so good food often includes fresh tuna, crayfish and homemade pizza’s.
What do you still want to achieve?
I would simply love to see my shop grow and become something my very creative daughters can be part of if they want to someday!
Thanks so much Yvette for taking sharing her heart and passion with me and my Becoming you readers. It is so inspiring to see women doing what they love! Onwards and upwards for you and Artesense!
If you enjoyed this interview please leave a comment below. Also please note that I’m always open to featuring other inspiring business women in this series. Please drop me an email for more info!