I’ve known for quite some time now that I’ve needed some sort of creative outlet for myself. After becoming a mom three years ago, it became apparent to me while I was off on maternity leave that I was not the type of person who could just relax while at home. I needed to constantly stay busy; whether that meant continuously cleaning the house, attempting to garden or learn to cook, I always felt like I needed to be doing something. I realized that because of my career as a Registered Practical Nurse, I was used to being ‘on’ all the time; always ready for the next crisis that might come my way. It was hard to be at home some days with a newborn and feel like I was bored or missing something. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED my time off with my son but I just felt like my brain and body needed to be utilized in another way. I began blogging as a creative outlet which also allowed me to connect with other women in similar situations as myself and that began to grow and expand my blog and other social media platforms.

As my blog and social media accounts began to increase, I started noticing I was being ‘followed’ by more and more online, home run, small businesses. Instantly I was hooked and began buying countless adorable items like onesies, shirts, hats, pants, etc for my oldest son to wear. It took my bank account and Visa card a long time to finally forgive me for all that spending! But along the way, I learned more and more about the women (and men) who were behind the businesses. Many were stay-at-home-moms (or dads!) who worked on their items while their babies were napping or kids were in school and used their businesses as a way to have the “best of both worlds”, others were part-time workers who ran a small business for a little extra cash on the side, and then there were those who worked full-time jobs and their side business was their ‘hobby’ or passion. I was so inspired by these small, local businesses that soon I found myself wanting to open up a shop of my own. I remember telling my step-sister (who was in fashion marketing at the time) that we should open up our own baby boutique and start selling cute, hipster baby clothes. I even went so far as to come up with a name for our imaginary, trendy online baby boutique.

It was something I dreamed about doing but never actually had the nerve to do. I mean, for one thing I can’t sew, so how was I going to make baby clothes if I didn’t know how to operate a sewing machine? But I think the main reason I was so reluctant to start my own small business was because I was afraid to fail. What if no one liked my items? What if no one purchased anything? What if I made my husband and I go broke on a dream that never took off? These were just some of the reasons that I used to convince myself that operating a small business just wasn’t for me.

But that itch to have a small business just wouldn’t go away. I tried to continue to use my blog as a way to fulfill my creative urges but having a small shop of my own was always in the back of my mind. I would stare longingly at some of the business accounts I followed and think “They probably weren’t scared to follow their dream like me”. Eventually, I went back to work and the thought drifted further and further away from my mind. I became busy with family life and my two nursing jobs and pretty soon it was just something that I would joke about. “Remember that time I wanted to open my own business? Hahaha wasn’t I crazy!?”

But was I? I began noticing more and more people opening up their own handmade small shops, including a couple of my own friends; maybe this was something I could do! Maybe this idea I had wasn’t actually THAT crazy. Maybe, just maybe, I could actually do this! But was I brave enough? That would be my ultimate test. It took my second son being born for me to realize that if I want my children to go for their dreams as they grow up then I should first set an example for them. After a few discussions with my husband and using my newborn’s ability to spit his soother out across the room and under the couch, I finally took the leap and opened up a small, handmade teething accessory business this past September. It has been one of the scariest things I have ever taken on in my life (besides becoming a first time mom and then a mom of two!). There have been numerous days where I have been so proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished, so far, in such a short period of time. But with all those good days, there have been just as many no-so-good days where I have completely doubted myself, shed countless tears, and almost given up on my dream, my shop, and myself .

But what has helped to get me through all the self doubt and uncertainty that comes with operating a small business is realizing that I’m not alone in this. There are others out there just like me chasing their dream of becoming a Maker, and because of my little business, I have connected with some truly AMAZING people that I otherwise would probably not have met. Because of this little business, I have given myself the creative outlet I have been longing for for so long. And because of this little business, I’m showing my boys that there’s no reason not to try. Becoming a ‘Maker’ and operating a small business has been the biggest (and scariest) leap I’ve ever taken but seeing my business grow and expand as well as seeing the evolution in the teething items and accessories I’m creating has been overwhelmingly satisfying and I’m so very grateful for each and every customer and supporter of my new venture.

Carly Chambers

www.frecklesandcheeks.com

 

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