1.20.2009

Supermom Series: THE MOM-PRENEUR

This is Crystal. She is a Supermom and an entrepreneur! I asked Crystal to share her thoughts on being a creative mom and finding time to start her own business. She's a wonderful example of how it's possible to achieve your creative endeavors AND manage to be a highly involved mom.
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Can I just say how honored I am to do a little piece for Lyndsay's Super Mom series. I've never considered myself a Super Mom in any way, shape or form. I look at everyone else and think: “How do they do all that??” But, after I thought about it, I guess I am a Super Mom. I'm super busy – all the time, super tired – all the time, and super fortunate – because I’m the mother of two super kids. There you have it. I accept the title, and your assignment to write.

I guess if there's one thing I've learned in life it's that we are always going to be busy, and there is never going to be enough time to do all the things we dream of doing. Me, I dream of creating. It doesn’t matter what – I just need to create. It’s the thing that keeps me going when I’m looking at piles of laundry, and a house scattered with toys. Personally, I think EVERYONE should make time to create, even if what you are creating is a beautiful clean house. It feeds the soul. So here is a little blurb about how I’ve made time for the things I love as I’ve gone through different phases of motherhood.

When my children were really little, it was hard to find time to be creative. They hit the ground running when they woke up (at 5:30 a.m) and didn't stop until they fell asleep at 8:00. That meant I had a small amount of time to spend with my husband, and an even smaller time to spend on myself. It was hard. But, I made a plan. Once a month I set aside a Saturday just for me, and sometimes I would include a weeknight. I used the time to take creative classes like sewing, cooking, art, ceramics, print making …. Taking a class forced me out of the house and into a world where I could focus -- where I could make a mess. It also gave me the opportunity to meet other people who inspired me. Most of the women I met were in their 60's and still creating. In fact, they were really good at what they were doing. I remember thinking ... “If I stick with this, some day I'm going to be amazing!” I loved those women and I loved those classes. It filled my cup so that I had the energy to deal with the routines in life. And you know something …. I never got AMAZING at any of those classes, but it didn’t matter. I learned that the joy is in the process!!!!!

When my kids entered elementary school, I thought: "Boy I'm going to have all sorts of time to do stuff for myself." Little did I know that I would spend half of that time at school helping out in the class. Then another problem cropped up. My kids got involved in all sorts of after school activities like dance and soccer. I had huge amounts of time where I was just sitting and waiting. So, I used that time to create. I sat at dance lessons with my big pile of craft supplies, and worked away at whatever I was interested in doing at the moment. I quilted, made books, jewelry, cards, blankets, hats, and get this -- pretty soon it sparked all kinds of conversation. I met tons of women, who said “Oh, I can’t do that … I’m not creative.” Guess what – they were creative, and they just didn’t know it. I taught them how to sew, how to quilt, how to knit. It was so much fun. In fact, the owner of the dance studio asked me if I had ever sewn costumes. I said "If you count Halloween, then.... yes!" And that answer lead to a job. I became costume designer/fabricator for the dance competition teams. (Visualize, the costumes you see on "So You Think You Can Dance times 150.) It was the hardest, most stressful thing I've ever done. I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I figured it out. Boy, did I learn a lot. I took my sewing machine to dance and worked while my kids were in class. I also had to work at night after they had gone to sleep. I was SO TIRED, but it was fun. That job gave me a creative outlet that lasted 5 years. I loved seeing all my creations on stage, and I made enough money to pay for all those dance lessons. I learned that sometimes you have to brave enough to take a chance. You never know where your creative energy will lead you. I learned that sometimes you have to overcome the f ear of failure. Look at all those women who learned to be creative!! And … I learned that you can make money doing what you love.

Now, my children are in middle school. I'm no longer sewing, or working in the class, and my kids don't require quite as much attention. I actually have time to do what I love!! So, last year, I was a little stumped. I had no idea what I wanted to do. My niece suggested checking out Etsy. "What is Etsy" I asked. When she explained it was a cyber store dedicated to "handmade" goods, I got excited. I took a look around Etsy and knew I had found just what I was looking for. I created my own cyber shop -- Crystal B (with nothing in it.) I got out all the "stuff" I had been making, took photos, and listed it in my store. Once that got going, I got all sorts of calls from friends who suggested that I hold semi-monthly open houses so that they could come and buy directly from me. I also had another creative friend say: “Hey, we should have a holiday boutique.” And we did! That is where I'm currently having the most success – open houses. I learned that if you have friends who are willing to open their homes in exchange for merchandise, you may be able to make some great money to support your creative habits. Now, I dedicate two afternoons a week to making inventory to sell. I treat it like I would treat a job so that I don't give up my creative time in lieu of dentist appointments and other things that seem to creep up on a regular basis.

One last thing, and then I will sign off. I can't say enough about blogging. I have visited many sites of creative women who have inspired me in ways that they will never know. I read their words and think: "That is one amazing woman!! If she can do it, so can I." Thank you all you crafting women who blog. It's nice having a world of kindred spirits out there to keep me motivated as I press forward into the unknown.
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Visit Crystal's Etsy shop here: (click on button)


Here is a sampling of some of her creations:


No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Babeich said...

Another really great article. Crystal is amazing!

Alison Taber said...

Very inspiring.

{april kennedy} said...

Great ideas! Thank you. It is the time issue that stops me and she has solved every one of them for me!

{april kennedy} said...

P.S. I agree with the open houses and home shows....I have been quite successful with my aprons in other women's homes...so much so that I can't even get them listed on Etsy before they sell. Once women have a chance to get their hands on something...they want it!

stephanie said...

this was great. so many good things.

About me said...

What a beautiful women. You can tell just through her words. What a nice thing to read at the end of a long day. As she so nicely put it "They hit the ground running when they woke up (at 5:30 a.m) and didn't stop until they fell asleep at 8:00"! However change the 5:30 am to 5am! Oh for the extra half hour."That is one amazing woman!! If she can do it, so can I."

KatieJ said...

I loved this post- her jewelry is so pretty too! Thanks for the inspiration!

Emily Ruth said...

Wow Crystal. You truly are a SuperMom. I am just so touched by your love for your kids and dedication to grow yourself. What a great example--Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Livin' out loud said...

Wow those are really beautiful! Very inspiring!!
Susan