Christina from Christina Lowry Designs and I have gotten to know each other over time and share many things in common. We both have little men in our lives called Cohen that are the same age, as well as having some similar interests, passions and stories. One thing however we don’t share in common is a talent for making and designing jewelry, that is a talent I do not possess but Christina does in bucket loads and she runs a successful business from home whilst managing her brood Cohen and Emerson all whilst expecting a new addition to the family as well. See! I told you, we have a bit in common, we like little people in our lives and keeping busy with family whilst honoring our passions.
How long have you been making jewelry?
I made my first piece of jewelry in 1999, as a seventeen year old, while studying a Bachelor of Fine Art/Visual Art at Griffith Uni. My romantic notions of being a painter had proven to be just romantic notions, but my passion for art, design and craft found their medium in the Gold and Silver Smithing studios. Form there I decided to work in the jewelry industry and attain an apprenticeship and continue gaining as much knowledge as I could in my field. As a result I learnt Diamond Grading and Pearl Threading, completed a Vocation course, as well as numerous design, casting and tool making workshops, all the while making jewelry.
What prompted you to start a work from home business? Were you going that before having children?
It was while I was pregnant with Cohen I started a blog and gradually, at the suggestion of family and friends, started creating jewelry to sell. Prior to that it was more of a hobby, and I made gifts and repairs for family and friends. I had thought I would wait until the child/ren were in school before starting by own business. But eventually I took the plunge, opened a bigcartel shop and have been stocking it with my handmade jewelry ever since. My shop has gone from strength to strength, with many loyal, repeat customers. I started accepting custom orders and pearl re-threading, and then attended my first market in November last year, after being accepted in to the Brisbane’s Finders Keepers market. This experience really encouraged and inspired me and has lead to so much growth in my business – a new logo and packaging, new display, advertising, guest posts – and now being accepted once again to the Autumn/Winter Finders Keepers in Brisbane in July.
When do you create and how do you mange your time being a mum, wife and a creative?
Initially, when I had a little free time, I sat down and worked at my bench, it was a bit of a luxury . I had no set times or days, and everything else took priority. I attended the Big Hearted Business morning tea with Clare Bowditch in Brisbane, where she asked us to write down our answers to several questions, such as as where we wanted to be in five year time. I had a moment of realisation. In five years time I could have a clean house and both children in school, or I could also have a successful business. I just had to make it a priority. It seems so simple now, but that changed my entire mindset and the amount of time I was dedicating to my business. I took it all much more seriously, started keeping proper records of my income and expenses and surprised myself. You don’t really know where you stand until it is all written down in black and white.
Now I am at the bench most days except Sunday, which is our family day together. I walk my son to and from each day, Emerson and I have a weekly Playgroup play date together, and I have an intern who comes twice a week who I am training and who helps out. The rest of my time is really flexible and I make the most of my daughter’s naps to get things done, and work at nights sometimes too. Emerson loves to be in the workshop with me, and plays with my tools, draws, plays with play dough and dolls, and I am continually stopping to interact and play with her and to talk to her. I remind myself that she is the first priority, she is the reason I am at home and I am able to run my business as I do. So if she is tired or cranky, I down tools and go to her. Similarly, when I pick my son up from school I don’t go back to the bench again until both children are asleep. I love having that time to spend with them, even if it is just doing homework with Cohen and trying to keep Emerson from drawing on the walls (her latest trick).
Christina is going to be back next week here on the blog sharing more insights into having an at home business, being inspired and organised as well as talking about her inspirations.