Edwina Kelly — Wall Circus
#SWMamasThatCan is all about mums supporting mums. It’s about celebrating and showcasing amazing #SWLondon mamas and their independent businesses as well as the amazing and talented ladies they are.
What inspired you to start your own business?
It’s funny, I always loved being “employed” and I genuinely never thought that I would be the sort of person to start my own business but looking back now, I think it was always in the stars — both my parents ran their own businesses at various points & I was always very busy industriously making things when I was younger. I think it was pretty obvious to everyone except me, that I would end up running a business like Wall Circus! It just took me to have 2 children (later, 3) & an incompatible job to finally embark on the journey!
Before I had my children, I spent 10 years designing posters for the entertainment business. Not long after I had my boys, I started to realise there was a market for original personalised poster artwork for children. Also around that time, I met several other mums who ran their own kitchen table businesses, which was really inspiring and made me believe it was all possible. I started off with an experiment at one Christmas Fair & quickly realised that this could be the perfect, flexible business I needed.
What challenges / hurdles have you faced?
One of the greatest joys has been being able to grow the business around my children within the time I have had available but it’s that old cliché… time! There really aren’t enough hours in the day! I would love to be able to carve out a few more hours a week to focus on developing new products and ideas. The most challenging realisation for me has been how much time you need to plough into marketing when you don’t have a physical shop front. It’s not enough to just have a website, you need to regularly remind people you are out there & the biggest barrier to this is that Social Media is so crowded & it is increasingly challenging to reach people there.
What do you like best about your job?
Ooh, definitely the flexibility! I really value the independence too, the fact that I don’t have to answer to anyone, other than myself(!) & after years of negotiating client sign offs, all the final decisions lie with me! It’s also wonderful to make products that people actually want to buy, that really gives me great satisfaction.
Tell me a Mama That Can story…
I had some artwork I had designed illuminated in Times Square, New York, many years ago which I was bowled over by at the time but genuinely — other than growing three beautiful boys — conceptualising, starting & then running a business from scratch with no financial investment, feels like a real achievement.
Top 3 tips for other SW Mamas That Can
1. Trust your instinct. You are at the heart of your business, you conceived it & you know it better than anyone. There are often lots of people offering opinions or advice, it can be hard to know what to take on board but I think if you can tune in to what your gut feeling is telling you, that is usually the right path.
2. I often used to have attacks of self-consciousness when promoting my business but I soon realised there was no space for that if I wanted Wall Circus to be a success so I have learnt to switch off to that which has been really liberating.
3. Find a group of local small like-minded businesses — it’s wonderful to share each others’ highs & lows. I have learnt so much from connecting with other small businesses.
Do you have any Real Mama Moments to Share?
I still laugh when I think about the first ever fair I did with Wall Circus, my youngest was a few months old, I took him with me, juggling feeds whilst talking to customers & taking orders. Everyone kept asking me how on earth I was managing… I remember thinking they were mad for even asking! I was so absorbed by the excitement of starting the business, that everything was possible!
Any upcoming events?
Wall Circus will be at several Christmas Fairs in the SW London area in the run up to Christmas, kicking off with the CRUK fair at the Bank of England Club in Roehampton on 7/8 November. Come & say hello if you see my stand!
Favourite item / product?
That’s a hard one. I feel like I’ve been on a journey with each of products, each of them has taught me something valuable. My personalised London Bus prints are where it all began so I have a real fondness for that one. I also really enjoy the personalised postcard range, I love knowing that they will be used by someone & then posted on to someone else.
Who else would you like to see celebrated on the SWMamasThatCan?
I’d love to see Ethel & Po, Juniper Berry Kids & Little Print Jewellery here — all talented SW mums!
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