I was approached by the boys at Visual Line and asked if I wanted to write a blog for their new website feature.
My first thought? “Sh*t!”
My second thought - “Who on earth would want to read it?”
Those thoughts are still in the forefront of my mind as I type, but I’m going to give you an insight into my life any way.
At 18, still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up (who does?) I gained a place at university studying Fine Art. For me, it wasn’t your typical uni experience. I had an almost full time job waitressing and just two years into my course I bought my first house with my fella and we were expecting our first baby!
By 22, I had taken on more than a lot of 30 year olds and my creativity had been limited to cutting, sticking, glittering and fingerprinting with a toddler!
Roll on a few years, still in my early 20s and with two babies and two jobs, I needed something creative to do.
With no room for giant canvases and oil paints, I focused my energy on making things with my children in mind. First stop - wooden plaques! (Do you know how hard it is to find things personalised with the names Marley and Rudie?!)
Lucky to have supportive friends and family, they gave me just enough confidence to set up a Facebook page and start ‘getting myself out there’. For me, Facespace was, and is, definitely the way forward. It’s free, easy to use, easy to access on the go, and easy to advertise on - especially when you have friends and family to share the love!
But this sh*t is just boring now, you don’t care about my life story (but you got it anyway) - soz. The big question is how do you juggle kids, jobs, life and a business? The answer - I still don’t know!
I’ve been running Hazel Bay for over 3 years now. A small business that designs and creates personalised items and gifts for your home. The majority of my business revolves around wooden plaques, but I knew from the start that I didn’t want to limit myself to one particular medium. Therefore I now offer a wide range of products ranging from frames and plaques to wedding decor and gifts. The one thing that is consistent throughout my business, is that everything is made to order, with careful attention to detail.
Coming up with a name was unbelievably difficult to do. The boys at Visual Line have touched on this in their own blog. How do you sum up your Business with a name? It’s almost as hard as naming your child! For me, I wanted something unique. Something that was a reflection on me, rather my products. Hazel Bay. Only those close to me (and now you) know that Hazel and Bay are my middle names, taken from my Grandma Hazel and Granny Bay. The name may not describe the business, but it describes me, and I guess I am the business!
Rightly or wrongly, I only tend to produce things that I like. Things that I would choose to buy, products that I would like in my home. How can I put my all into making something that I don’t like? In part, Hazel Bay is a reflection on me, so in order to put my name to something and make it with love, I believe I need to love it.
I still spend a whole lot of time worrying about if I’m good enough for this. Are people ordering because they feel they have to? Do they criticise my work after they’ve collected their order? Do they question my prices and say ‘I could make that for the half the price’?
I guess they do...
Why do I carry on doing it? Because I love it.
Every order that comes in I get a buzz. Every single order I get I feel thankful that they have chosen my product to spend their hard earned cash on. It’s not about the money. That’s pretty lame, but it’s true.
When work is done and the kids have gone to bed, I sit down and get the paints out. This is the relatively easy bit - despite working late into the night, and making a whole load of mess that needs to be cleaned up and put out of reach before the kids wake at the crack of dawn! The hardest bit is keeping organised with the business side of things. I have to be a grown up. I had to register as a business (I now know what HMRC stands for!), keep receipts (and not like the receipts that fill up your purse that you end up throwing away after 4 months), file tax returns (whaaaat!?), juggle orders (I’m still learning). This was almost enough to put me off. My brain doesn’t deal with things like this; my brain deals with making pretty things...
If you have the skill, the determination and the love for something, then anything is possible. I’m doing it, but I’m still learning along the way.
Who am I?
I am a wife, a Mumma, an employee, an artist, a worrier, a dreamer and a business owner.
Visual Line's Note:---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well there you have it, you really can be a wife, mum, employee, artist, worrier, dreamer and business owner AND still be creative and successful. In fact reading this very much reminded me of journey we had getting Visual Line Ltd up and running. We we like to say a huge thanks to Salome McMurray for writing this truly inspirational post and look forward to seeing brand new creations in 2017 from Hazel Bay
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