Today is the day I am able to present very proudly number seven in the “Balancing series”. This time the angle is a bit different, it’s not “how women combine motherhood with a successful creative business”. No today we will hear how one can be an expecting mother while running a successful creative business. I look so forward presenting this interview with you for two major reasons. One being the angle, it’s an interesting one don’t you think? And the second one is the fact that we will hear the story of the woman behind the successful Etsy shop and style blog, Nina from “Nina In Vorm”. I have come to know her as a very intelligent and kind hearted person. She lives in Holland like me and has an incredible eye for style, shapes and lines. I just love her personality and her work. You can visit her blog here and her shop here.
Can you tell us a bit about the family situation you are in at the moment?(are there children etc..)
After being together with my boyfriend for almost six years (or eight, if you count the first incarnation of our relationship in as well!), we're currently expecting our first child.
How far along in this pregnancy are you right now?
I'm about six months pregnant now, so we hope to meet our baby somewhere by the end of December!
Is your creative business something you were looking for in life like some kind of lifelong dream? Or did it in a matter of speaking found you?
No, it's not something I'd been dreaming of all my life. It was a mix of things that more or less accidentally happened and things that I worked (and work) really hard for to achieve. It all started very small, but along the way I learned that it was something I really wanted. However I'm not sure how my future will look like. I have no idea if I will still be working in this business in a few years, I might do something completely different by then!
When you create, do you create in a more organic way or is there a plan you follow while designing new work?
Usually it all works in a very organic way. Of course when I for example work on commissions it's all a bit more organized, but for myself I like to just start something and see where it ends.
Does that also apply to the way you attend to your blog?
In a way yes, because I just blog about whatever comes to mind, and I don't work with fixed categories like some other bloggers do (like a DIY-post on monday, a happy weekend-post on friday etc.). My blog can go in many directions: it's mine, and though of course I hope to please the people who come to read it, in the end it's all about what I want to share and not necessarily about what others like to read.
On the other hand I do feel a certain obligation to keep my blog updated and interesting to visit. I do feel bad when I don't post regularly, so in that way there is some sort of plan when it comes to blogging.
Have you got a separate studio space in which you work? And if so, is it going to stay that way when the baby comes?
I do have a studio at home, and lucky for me I don't have to give it up when the baby comes! I have a lot of fragile stuff I work with and a kiln, so it's important also for safety reasons when the baby's born that I can keep doing that stuff in a studio that I can separate from the rest of the house where the baby will be crawling around!
You have a well running handmade business on Etsy and you are a active blogger as well. Can you tell us a little bit about how you view these two major creative adventures now that you are expecting a baby?
In a way I found that they became less important to me during my pregnancy. I have sometimes neglected my shop and blog because I was tired, sick or uninspired, and I felt I could let go of it all quite easily. Other things were just more important. On the other hand I realized how important it is for me to keep creating and also generate some income, so while I previously thought I might slow things down a lot once my baby was born, I quickly learnt that I didn't want to give up this work. First I thought I would want to stay home with my baby all the time, at least for the first year, but during this pregnancy I decided I wanted to bring the baby to daycare for 1 or 2 days a week, so that I would have the chance to keep working.
Does your household income depend on your sales at Etsy?
No, we're not dependant on it, but I think it's important to contribute to our family income so I definitely try to make a serious contribution.
Is there someone in your life to help you maintain your shop after you give birth (like an assistant)?
No, not really. My younger sister incidentally helps, but not regularly.
Do you feel supported by the people in your life, most importantly by your boyfriend/husband, when it comes to your creative business?
Yes, absolutely. My boyfriend is very supportive and really encourages me to follow this path and make it all work.
How do you feel about daycare?
I don't have super strong opinions pro or against it. If it's up to me, I don't want my child to spend too many days in daycare (my boyfriend and I think for the first year two days a week is the maximum, we'll probably start with one day after a few months and then we may extend it to two), because I want to have an important share in the care and raising of my child. However I realize that I can have all kinds of ideas now, but I have no idea what I will feel like once my baby is born. Maybe I want to take care of her fulltime, maybe I really want to get back to work for more hours than I currently think.
How does it feel when you think about possibly not being able to spend as much time on blogging and your shop as you do now? Is there a kind of business planning going on in your mind at the moment for after the baby comes?
I'm a bit blank when it comes to this: I guess I will just see what happens during the first period, how it all evolves. Sometimes I fantasize about putting the baby in a sling and just start working again after a few weeks, but maybe I really don't feel like it. I do realize that I will have to work more efficiently once the baby is there, maybe with more fixed hours. But that may also be a good thing, maybe I'll work in a more focused way? Though of course it's also possible that I'll constantly be short of time and will get very stressed! I guess there's only one way to find out, and that's just to see how it goes...
I don’t know if you are willing to share this, feel free not to. What is your biggest fear regarding your business when it comes to the time after the birth of your baby?
I guess like many people with a business (or any other job) I worry that I won't be able to do a satisfying amount of work, or that I'll feel frustrated constantly because of all the ideas that I have but don't have time to work on. I often feel like that now already, so that'll probably only get worse... I sometimes also worry that I just can't do it anymore once I have a child: in general having a creative business like mine means working a lot for relatively little money. Maybe I'll find I just don't want to do that anymore when I'm already working hard on the daily care of my child.
If you would ask a successful creative business owner who is also a mother for some advise what would that be?
Probably I would be interested in smart and fun ways to do parts of the work while you have your kid around. Maybe I'm too optimistic about being able to work while your child is with you, but I can imagine there are ways in which you can (sometimes) combine those things.
Thank you so much Nina!