The festive season is about indulging your senses, following your passions and seizing every moment. That’s why we’re celebrating the individuality and spontaneity of inspiring individuals throughout December with a series of interviews - as part of our #FuelCreativity campaign.
There’s a quote making its way around Instagram so powerful that it’s transforming the public’s shopping habits for life. ‘When you buy from an independent brand, a real person does a little happy dance’.
‘Shop small’ seems to be this year’s mantra for influencers, celebrities and business owners alike. Campaigns such as the Just a Card initiative are blazing the trail for independents, while magazines such as Design Giving are dedicated to celebrating the work of creatives.
But what’s it really like to operate your own business during the most wonderful (and hectic) time of the year? Delve into our chat with Stephanie from Home and Harper to find out.
Flexibility for family time
For Stephanie, the festive season is all about family (and cosy evenings by the fire with plenty of nibbles of course). It’s her second Christmas with her son and owning her own business gives her the option of making more time for him.
She says: “I’m finding owning my own creative business at this time of year wonderful. The demand for bespoke Christmas prints and activity frames for gifts gets me excited for my own present giving.
“It’s also nice to be your own boss. I have the flexibility to take a day off where I want to take my son to see Santa, or see a friend whose working hours may not be a flexible as mine. My previous job meant I pretty much worked up until the evening on Christmas Eve.
“I'm also more creative during the early hours of the morning and evenings, so if I have taken an extra day off I know I can easily make it back after dinner or before breakfast!”
How it all began...
Home with Harper is now Stephanie’s full-time job, but it wasn’t always this way.
She says: “My business first developed when I came up with a concept for the baby activity frame, I sourced the materials and made a prototype. And before I knew it, the requests started coming in and Home with Harper was officially born.
“I felt so nervous when I posted my first baby activity frame. I hadn't expected such a quick and positive response as it was initially a personal project!
"When the feedback starting coming in and people were sharing photos of their babies using my frames, I felt such a sense of pride and achievement. I fully believed I’d created something the wider public wanted and not just me. There's nothing better than knowing you’ve made another parent's life a little easier.”
With interest exploding in her signature product, Stephanie was then inspired to offer bespoke prints, cards and invitations - a side project she’s been passionate about for years.
Flying the flag for small businesses
Stephanie says: “A lot of people don’t realise the sacrifices you have to make being a small business. By buying small you’re helping someone continue to live their dream job, you’re helping someone support their family and you’re buying into quality.”
She believes everyone should aim to buy their presents from a ‘real person’ this year - instead of big brands. She says: “I love seeing and hearing my customers excitement when they receive an order. If it’s a bespoke print then I’ve helped them achieve a vision - this keeps me pushing to create more.
“My best ideas have come from situations that have happened to myself or when I'm looking for something in particular. This type of personal service isn’t something you can get from a global name.”
Making time for creativity
Juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship is no mean feat, but Stephanie also believes in devoting a little time each day to getting her creative juices flowing.
She says: “In the evening when my husband is working late, I love knowing I can set up all my work while doing my son’s bedtime routine. As soon as he’s down, I get settled and get lost in my own little world with a cup of tea to hand.”
“I find creativity for me is an outlet which gives me a sense of worth. It reminds me I am still capable of pushing my mind to its limits and that anything is possible.”