I'm Stephanie Lawes, mum of three wonderful children aged 6, 4 and 1. I had never really intended to be a stay at home mum as I have always been quite career focused. However, we had our first 2 children when we lived in Dubai. Maternity leave there is only 40 days and it simply wasn't an option for me to go back to full time work that soon. And so I became a stay at home mum, and as time went on we couldn't imagine it being any other way. However, I always longed for 'something else' and was forever brainstorming ideas of work that I could do from home so that i could still be available for the kids. I tried working with various MLM companies but they really were not for me.
When we moved back to England and the lovely Tarporley, in Cheshire, I continued to search for opportunities. I became a breastfeeding Peer Supporter with CHERUBS. Having breastfed my first 2 children for 2 years each, I felt that I could offer invaluable support to new mums. I volunteered at the Nantwich CHERUBS group for several months after having my third child. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was difficult to break into paid positions. However the role got me thinking... Could I start a business that might help breastfeeding and new mums? Teething jewellery had helped me through some of those tough baby phases. And so LoveBySteph was born.
LoveBySteph has been going for around 8 months now. The necklaces are designed to be worn by mum and pulled and chewed on by baby. My Teething Jewellery has many uses. The necklaces, also known as 'fiddle necklaces' are very popular with Breastfeeding Mums, as the bright colours and shapes help to keep baby focused whilst feeding. And if Mum is baby-wearing, the jewellery offers a lovely sensory outlet whilst baby is being carried. Probably the most popular use for the necklaces though, is for baby to pull and chew on the jewellery whilst teething. The angles of the beads are designed to soothe sore gums. LoveBySteph Jewellery is made using food grade silicone, the same material as a bottle teat or dummy. This material is safe for baby to chew on under supervision. The jewellery can be easily washed and sterilised. On top of all these practical uses, they also help to keep mum looking stylish.
I love doing what I do. I'm quite a creative person, so this allows me a creative outlet. I tend to make most of my necklaces when the kids are in bed, and it helps me to relax. I am enjoying the learning process of having my own small business. Most of my business is done via social media and it has been fascinating for me to learn how wonderful the likes of facebook and instagram are for us small business mums, and how supportive we all are of one another. I do feel guilty if I'm busy on my phone when the kids are around, but I'm trying to strike the right balance.
If I had to give any advice to other mums thinking to start your own business, it would be to just go for it. I have started small, but this year I would like to expand my product range. I already stock teething bangles to match the necklaces, and I will have some cute Bunny Teethers in time for easter. But I would love to expand into other accessories and clothing that would be targeted for new mums. All in good time though, my youngest is still with me full time at the moment, so I have to work around Mum duties!
You can check out LoveBySteph products at the Baby and Maternity Fair in Tarporley Community Centre on Saturday 23rd March from 1pm. Or search @LoveBySteph on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Abigail is a Children Photographer specialising in beautifully simplistic and timeless portraiture based in Cheshire. To book your portrait session, please get in touch.
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