If you are anything like me, reading the tweets and chatting to Anna from Funky Diva designs leaves me exhausted.
From being a single mum to 3 active little boys, sewing and creating beautiful handmade bags and her busy day doesn't stop there. There seems to be no end to this ladies talents.
As well as feeling exhausted thankfully she also leaves me inspired. Her drive and enthusiasm is amazing.
Well thankfully she has put aside a few minutes to answer our questions and opens the door into her life.
So sit down, grab a cuppa (and cake of course) and lets meet the lady behind Funky Diva Designs <BLOG_BREAK>
1. Introduce yourself and your company!
My name is Anna Ryan and I own Funky Diva Designs, the home of handmade bags, purses and quilts in the Cotswolds! I am also launching a sewing school in March - Funky Diva Sewing School. After school classes for kids and workshops of adults.
2. What made you start your company?
I have been a quilter since I was university and discovered patchwork quilts. I have spend many years making quilts for my family and friends and dreaming of running my own business. After a very traumatic divorce I was trying to decide what I wanted to do when I made a friend a bag for her birthday. Next thing I knew I was running a stall at the local school - I sold out and was taking orders from the boot of my car! After a few changes Funky Diva Designs was born!
3. Can you give us a typical ‘day in the life of’ – we’d love to know
what you do day by day, even the what-might-seem-like-boring bits!
My boys are all early risers 4.30am is the norm in my house! If I have a lot of work to complete I just get up and sew, then organise the boys their day.
When I have drop my 3 boys off at school and nursery and then I have a coffee so I can plot the days work load and answer emails. If I have custom orders I get started on those in the morning, I tend to do my supplies shopping in the morning too. If the order book is having a break, I make up stock and load photos onto my online shops. I usually have a break for lunch and use it to catch up on computer based work.
In the afternoon I juggle sewing with tutoring maths. On a Wednesday I have 22 kids at the local primary school learning to sew with me - it is full on! I pack up at 5 to get the boys and then start work again at 7.30pm when they are in bed if I have the energy!
4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
I love talking to a customer about their needs for their bag and the fabric choices. It is the best feeling in the world when you work through a design for them and they love what you have made! I love it that people email me or come to me at craft fairs and tell me how much they love their bag/ purse.
5. How do you come up with your designs? What inspires you?
I tend to dream about designs. They nag at me until I have tried them! I have bought a few designs from other bag designers, but I prefer to design my own things from scratch!
I get inspiration from the fabrics I buy and looking at other people's bags and spotting where the design could be improved. Customers themselves give me loads of ideas because they often have been frustrated by their current bag and have ideas for what they specifically need.
6. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life? Some secrets to your success please!
I am not sure I mix it very well! I have the 3 boys on my own, and whilst they see their fathers I do not have any time without at least one of them. I try to fit everything into Monday to Thursday when I have childcare of them, but I tend to end up completing computer work whilst they are around and playing.
I have also learnt to ignore the mess of the boys because it detracts from the time we spend together. I try to do one child based fun thing a week with them and I have Fridays with my 3YO all alone so we have adventures together and I try to not work - it is very hard!
7. Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always
sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?
The simple answer is NO! I am useless! I think when you run your own business and you love what you do it is very hard to let it go. You want it to be a success. I want to give my boys the future they deserve and I want them to be proud of their mummy. I want to show them that you can do something you love and make it work.
8. What top tip would you give to others starting in business?
Go for it! Don't invest too much money, but do give it your time. Business can succeed without much money - mine does - but you have to be 100% committed to what you are going to do. It is hard work, but the rewards can be amazing!
10. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
I don't tend to get unusual requests! Mostly it is about bag size and number of pockets! I did have an order for a custom Kindle case that was a nightmare, but the actual making of the case was fine in the end.