Meet Clare, the owner of Calladoodles, a independent card and gift shop in Carshalton. Clare is a mum of toddler and a 6 year old, and has tragically lost her husband. In this interview Clare talks about the importance of self-care to ensure she can give her all to her work, her children and to others.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
What’s your trade?
I started an independent shop in 2011 called Calladoodles, (www.calladoodles.co.uk) which was taken over by my mum when my daughter was born. I have since come back to work and now work primarily from home ordering and constructing our website.
What made you choose your career?
My ex-husband who tragically died last year, suggested I open a shop knowing how much I love art and design and product development. I was working as a complaints manager at the time and hated my job. So starting Calladoodles was a bit of a leap of faith but I wouldn’t change a thing as I am so happy with my business.
In addition to running my shop, I am currently studying Graphic Design online too, as this is something I have always wished I had done. Being 40 this year I decided to start something new. I’m also building websites and have worked on the Calladoodles website and created a website for a friend too. I am hoping this and the graphic design might create another work avenue for me.
I also have some back ground in visual merchandising which I love doing too.
How your attitude towards work changed since having kids?
I have become more determined to work and the creative element of my work has become more noticeably important to me. I find that I am someone who becomes out of sorts if I don’t work and I need the creative outlet.
My son is now at nursery so I can spend more time on my work. I’m not a stay at home mum as it’s just not me, but I do very much appreciate my days off when we don’t have to rush out of the house in the mornings and can wander round in pyjamas all day!
What’s your morning routine look like?
I don’t drive and so walk every where. I walk to work and like the chance to clear my head or listen to music.
My son wakes me up early so no need for an alarm! It takes me a few cups of tea to wake up and then it’s the usual chaos of running around like mad to leave the house. I drop Zak at nursery and Chloe at school and then jog home or go to the gym and then head back home to start work.
How do you balance childcare and working?
I’m lucky that the kids have supportive grandparents so that helps and the nursery is all year round, as I don’t have holidays. My daughter is going into year two at school this year. I am with the kids after school and every weekend and about half of the holidays, the rest is work. I have a strong routine now a days and that works well.
In 10 years… where do you see yourself?
To be honest I live a day at a time, I find it works best for me. I’m not a planner and I’m not very good at thinking beyond the end of this week. I hope I will still be working creatively and enjoying my work as much as I do today, other than that I don’t have a plan!
Best piece of business advice…
Do what you love and the rest will fall into place. Life for me is about this moment and if you are doing what you love you are very lucky, for me it’s a case of just keep on keeping on! I try to focus on what is in front of me.
Tips on managing the juggling act…
I think it’s different for everyone but the one thing that is universal, is that you can’t pour from an empty cup. So many people feel guilt if they don’t parent all the time or work all the time, or both! But it’s impossible! No one is invincible and there is a lot of pressure on women to be supermums. I’ve had to become tactical about fitting in time for myself. I go to the gym or jog and I am also big on self help. I feel very strongly about certain issues like domestic abuse and homelessness and want to help these causes. I also need to be involved in creative ventures and I am lucky to be friends with an inspirational group of artists locally to me. I love my friends and family and I am lucky enough to work with them. All of these things are what make me, me. I have needs that I must meet for myself, as I can’t give what I don’t have, to my work or my children or anyone. It’s taken me about six years to realise this and also to practically implement it! However since practicing self care my life has become more manageable and about a hundred times happier!
Want to find out more about Calladoodles – visit their website and say hello to them on social media: