This week I feature the first ever supplier of Willow Boutique and her products continue to be a best seller for all those teething babes out there. Say hello to Jen Downie Founder of the award-winning (and local) Num Num Teething Jewellery.
1) How did your business come about?
I started my business when my oldest was 7 months. I had seen teething jewellery on Etsy but there wasn't very much in the UK at that time and not the kind of design I liked. So I bought some beads and made myself some. My oldest only napped on me, so I had a lot of nap sessions in a dark room thinking about whether it could be a business, pricing up designs, looking at saftey regulations online until one day I decided to just go for it!
2) What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?
Do it! But do your market research and make sure there is appetite for your product at a price which means you can pay yourself a wage.
3) What's the best thing about being your own boss? What's the worst?
Practically the best thing is the flexibility you have over your hours which is vital when you have two little ones running around but I actually think it is the pride you feel over having created something people will pay money for! The worst bit is not having any work colleagues to bounce ideas about with or complain about things to!
4) How has lockdown been for you? What coping mechanism works for you? Have you had to adapt your business to fit in with the 'new normal'?
Lockdown wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be. Homeschooling my oldest while also having a one year old on the go was busy but work really slowed down so I had more time (although less money)! My coping mechanism was having my oldest facetime my mum for some "let's pretend" time while I did some work or had a break. Luckily my husband was working from home too so he was there to pick up the slack when it all got too much.
5) Where's your 'Happy Place'?
My bath. I go there to chill out when it has been a stressful week. We had put in a new bathroom with crazy flamingo wallpaper the week before lockdown so it has definitely been a sanctuary these last few months!
6) What's your favourite song?
Oh that's a tough one! I love so many different songs. A song which will always put a smile on my face is "You're all I need to get by" with Marivn Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
7) Who would play you in a movie?
Reese Witherspoon - we have the same chin although that's where the similarity ends! I think she is a fantastic actress and also does a lot for championing women's rights which is important to me.
8) What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be on Broadway which I now think would be so exhausting. But I have always loved jewellery so if you had told me at 18 I would be making necklaces for a living I would have been thrilled!
9) What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that you work for a long time so you don't have to do the same thing forever. I decided to stop being a lawyer after 5 years because the thought of doing it for another 35 was not a happy one. Since then I have decided that every job is just for a period in your life. I love Num Nums but it is still nice to think that life is not set in stone and there might be other opportunities down the line.
Thanks so much for taking part Jen. New Num Num is arriving this week but you can check out what's coming here https://www.willowboutique1.co.uk/teething-jewellery-toys-1.