Our latest story of creating a life you love combing work with a family is from Charlotte the lady behind the gorgeous jewellery brand Stanley and Maud…
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello!!! I’m Charlotte (Dotty) from Stanley and Maud, I’m a mother of two and wifey of one! I’m 27 and I started my business whilst on maternity leave with my son in 2015. Before this I was a bit of a ‘career floater’. I’ve always been creative but I never really found anything I wanted to stick at…the sewing machines, knitting needles and craft materials in our house proved that!
Q. When or what was your Game Change?
I worked for a local venue as an events co-ordinator which I LOVED…the job was so rewarding but mentally exhausting…I would miss weekends with my family and lay awake at night wondering if I’d changed table plans properly and if I’d made the right decision with canapé timings etc…I had my son in September 2014 and I was told I probably wouldn’t have a job to come back to (a VERY long story) well it turns out I didn’t! I was always asking my husband for jewellery as occasion gifts and that year for my birthday he replied with ‘I think you’ve got enough jewellery’…WHAT?! Who says that?? So in November 2014 I started planning my new hobby…handstamping!! I could see my husband rolling his eyes and thinking ‘here she goes again…’ I made a few little bangles and key rings for friends and family and my friends kept telling me I should start selling them…I was so nervous but I took the plunge and in January 2015 I officially opened Stanley and Maud.
Q. What went on along the way?
It was all a bit crazed…I never really planned to own a business as such I just wanted a little hobby to keep me entertained on maternity leave…my son was a real ‘sleeper’. so I wanted to keep my brain active (I’m not very good at sitting still). I set up an Instagram and Facebook account and quite quickly I found I was getting lots of messages about how to buy my pieces so in February I set up an Etsy shop and registered with the tax man! I couldn’t believe how many people seemed interested in what I made but by July 2015 I made the very scary decision not to job hunt but to take Stanley and Maud full time. In September 2015 I opened my own website and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. In 2016 I was approached by Tatler, Elle and Glamour who wanted to feature my pieces in their jewellery pages…you can imagine my happy dancing around the kitchen!!
Q. Let’s talk money – what went on financially?
Well I didn’t have a lot! I was on the dregs of my maternity pay but I brought the basics and went from there. I didn’t and still don’t spent a lot on advertising, I have always been very active on social media as it’s important to me for people to see who’s behind Stanley and Maud. I don’t pretend to be this great growing business with a team behind me I’m just a mum working her backside off from the family dining table!
Q. How about the ‘balance’ question – how do you as a family hold it all together?
This is the hardest task I have…some days I smash it and other days I’m wanting to crawl inside a bottle of merlot at 4pm! I am such a stickler for routines though so I plan everything daily, I mainly work when my son has a nap or ‘quiet time’ and evenings but school holidays and when my husbands away can be really difficult. I try to keep working hours to a minimum but I don’t always get it right regardless of all the planning I do! My husband is a good egg and does what he can to help me.
Q. Do you feel like you are losing your sh*t on a daily basis and if so how the hell do you stop that happening?
Thankfully it’s not often I have my ‘merlot at 4pm days’ but when I do I’m often
found in the pantry cupboard snaffling the biscuit tin trying to get a grip on my life! I’ve come to terms with the fact that sometimes I will have a bad day and I won’t get anything I wanted to do done but another day I smash through my to do list and I should be given a super woman cape! I take the bad days as a sign that I need a rest and accept that the world won’t cave in because I’ve got to spread some jobs over to another day of the week.
Q. How has motherhood changed you?
Oh goodness I don’t know if I can pin point how it has but I know I’m different…asides from parts of my body heading south I’ve found my patience sometimes takes a holiday without warning! I’m definitely more caring and considerate of others, I will always try to see the best in people and situations however I’m learning that sometimes these can be taken advantage of. I want my children to be kind and brave so I suppose I’m learning how to teach them.
Q. What’s the best thing about what you are doing now?
The flexibility of working for yourself is brilliant. I’m at home to do the school runs, the school plays and craft mornings and to me the most important time is family meal times (I don’t know why because my children are fuss pots so I could have wasted an hour cooking a gorgeous homemade meal for them to poo poo it!) but I love the stability I’m giving them whilst I’m not missing out on special moments.
Q. What scares you?
Everything. I am a natural worrier…I’m scared of growing the business and it going wrong or the total opposite and it growing and I’ll not know what to do! but I know I have to take things as they come…what will be will be!
Q. If you could change one thing for your fellow mothers what would it be?
More time! I never feel like there’s enough hours in the day but more realistically I’d love it if people believed in themselves more. I’m a fine one to talk but I feel like if we were more confident in ourselves we’d be so much happier!
Q. Are there any bits of your life or career that aren’t quite right but you’ve just had to make your peace with?
That I’m not superwoman….I can’t always manage everything even though I damn try. I’m learning that people pleasing isn’t always the way and sometimes we just have to put ourselves and our families first.
Q. What are you most proud of?
Of everything I’ve achieved so far. I never expected to have a business so to have gained such loyal customers and a wonderful following in just two years makes my heart burst. I have customers who believe in me and believe in Stanley and Maud…that is the strangest most magical feeling!
Q. What is the last thing you read?
I’m not a big reader but I recently brought Sarah Knights ‘The life changing magic of not giving a f*ck’ it’s brilliant and it has put an awful lot into perspective for me.
Q. What’s the one thing anyone considering Game Changing should know or do?
That you won’t know unless you take a risk…if you can’t stop thinking about something then do it!
Q. Where or how can we get in touch or find out more?
You can find out more by visiting www.stanleyandmaud.com or following Stanleyandmaud on IG or Twitter.