This woman rocks! Jen from Fuzzy Flamingo designs
Jen is an editor and designer specialising in book production. We met via Instagram as we are both active members of MIBA networking group. Jen wanted to order a bespoke hamper for a friend from Mama Jewels and we got chatting, realised we both originated from Leicester and instantly hit it off!
I really admire her work, seriously you’ve got to check out her Instagram feed to see how many book covers have been designed by her; it’s amazing and she recently designed the cover for the new MIBA MUms in business
Follow her @fuzzyflamingodesign
Tell us a bit about yourself and your career background?
I started my career in the publishing industry at the bottom, doing admin and picking and packing book orders in the warehouse of a publishing house. I worked my way up through the company to the top, finishing as Group Production Manager, overseeing the design teams producing the books, as well as editing on a freelance basis. After maternity leave with my first daughter I decided to work from home, editing, designing books and business branding on a freelance basis.
Tell us about your business? (for example, when you started it, what it does, how many employees if any)
I started Fuzzy Flamingo in September 2017 at the end of my first maternity leave, as it didn’t make financial sense (or sense for my health) to go back to my publishing job full time. So I took my skills freelance. I officially launched to the public in January 2018 and haven’t looked back. I provide editing and design services and specialise in book publishing as well as small business branding. Over the last 18 months I’ve worked with amazing people, from businesses on their logo designs to authors self-publishing their books or preparing to submit to publishers, to publishing houses. It’s just me, I’m the boss, and I love it.
What inspired you to start your business?
Talking childcare costs into account, I wouldn’t have brought much at all into the house financially, plus having autoimmune arthritis affected by stress, it didn’t make sense to go back to a traditional 9-5. I took the idea of going freelance, together with the support of my employers, and ran with it!
Tell us about your family? (upload a picture if you feel comfortable to do so)
I am married with two children and a dog. I’m just returning to work after maternity leave with my second daughter.
Can you describe a typical day, where you work, what your responsibilities are, timings, are you an early bird or night owl?
I do most of my work when my eldest is in nursery and I’m most active during the day. I don’t work very well when I’m tired, so it’s tricky for me to work in the evenings. On a typical day I make sure I have a good breakfast and a cup of tea and spend the first hour whilst having that working on my marketing (mostly Facebook and Instagram) and admin tasks. I then check the planner for tasks to do that day, which usually include working on books in the morning (typesetting, otherwise known as text design, and editing) and designing in the afternoon (book cover designs, logo designs, marketing materials, etc.) as I find I’m more creative in the afternoons.
How do you manage your time with work ?
My daughter is nursery two and a half days a week. I make sure I plan my week on a Sunday or Monday so that I can hit the ground running when my working week starts on a Tuesday. I schedule tasks and make sure I allocate a reasonable amount of time for each. I have the evenings and weekends to fall back on if I need a bit of extra time.
How did you fund your start up?
I came into some inheritance which was enough to look after us for the first 6 months. My start up costs were just for my office equipment and my overheads are low, so it wasn’t long until I was in profit.
What tools, resources, advice did you use when starting your business?
I had family members with their own businesses who guided me. My accountant was brilliant with her support and I also did a lot of online research. I was lucky to come across the Mums in Business Association very early on, and the support and training from that group has been invaluable.
What do you find the most rewarding about being a woman in business ?
I’m my own boss and I can set my own house hours to work around my children and my health.
What do find most difficult about being a woman in business ?
There’s not anyone I can delegate tasks to yet.
How do you manage running your business and family life? Are there any hints and tips you can offer?
Planning is essential. And streamlining tasks, such as making sure I take a load of washing down to put on when I make a cuppa. organisation and motivation are key to everything running smoothly.
Do you have/make any time for yourself? What do you do? Is it important to do this?
I need to get better at this. The little things I do every day are making sure I get out and walk the dog (fresh air and exercise are good for the soul as well as productivity) and ensuring I have a proper lunch break makes my afternoons more productive.
What is the biggest business challenge you encountered in your business and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was having my second baby. I was worried about what would happen to my business if I took too much time off. But I worked up until the last minute because I was happy to, then stayed active on social media during my leave so that my business stayed in people’s minds. This made the transition back to work so much better as I didn’t feel like I was starting from scratch again.
What is your biggest achievement in business to date?
I won an award for dedication to my business from the Mums in Business Association. Standing in front of my peers at a glamorous ceremony holding my award felt amazing!
What have you got planned for your business in the future?
I have some brilliant collaborations in the pipeline and I’m really looking forward to working with more authors than ever before.
What three bits of advice would you give to woman wanting to start her own business?
Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about as that makes the rough bits easier, research thoroughly and find a good support network who can lift you up and inspire you when you need.
What things do you delegate/outsource to others?
At the moment I only outsource printing.
Imagine you had an amazingly profitable year and you could go on your dream holiday. Where would you go?
Flamingo Beach in Aruba, of course!
You can follow Jen on Instagram @fuzzyflamingodesign
or visit her website here