Gayle Mansfield Designs
I'm pleased to welcome Gayle Mansfield, owner and creative director of Gayle Mansfield Designs to the Creative Parent Series.
Gayle started her design business in 2016 after deciding to indulge her passion for design and interiors. She is completely self taught and works with her partner who is a Graphic Designer.
Tell us more about you and your business.
I run a web shop selling minimal and typographic prints/cards. I set the business up in 2016 after a period at home with our daughter, having left my career in the public sector. My partner (graphic designer) helps realise the designs but I do everything else.
I am passionate about interiors and design so I knew that the business had to be something based around this. We were renovating our home and I was looking for prints etc. I thought to myself that I could design my own so I started sketching out ideas and then sat down with my partner and we created our first collection of prints.
When our daughter was much younger I had an idea for a business that I started pursuing but I was having difficulty trying to have more children and it wasn’t the right time/business model in the end.
Where you a parent before starting your business, or afterwards?
I was a parent before, my daughter was 6 when I started this business. I wanted to be around for her and do the school runs so I needed to find something flexible. I had gone back to work part time after having her but as I was working in London the logistics/ commute were not feasible.
What have been your biggest challenges in balancing being a parent and a business owner?
I think when you run your own business it is very difficult to switch off, particularly when it is run from your own home. I like to think that I stop work at 3pm (school pick up) but inevitably I am working beyond this time. My daughter is very used to post office runs now! She sees me looking at my phone a lot, something that I'm working on reducing! Fortunately at the weekends my partner is around so we can share childcare and I can work if I need to.
As she’s a bit older now it is generally easier. There is no way I could have coped with running the business when she was a baby/toddler as we had a really rough time.
There is always more you can be doing and it is hard to not be distracted all the time as I am aways having ideas etc and I don’t feel that I am as present as a parent as I should be.
What have been your biggest achievements?
Having our home featured in an interiors magazine was exciting. Also, creating something that people actually want to buy for their homes and that shops want to stock!
I have suffered with anxiety / lack of confidence for many years and am proud of myself for just going for it rather than staying in a job I knew ultimately wasn’t for me. I am on a completely different path to where I was 5 years ago; I know a lot of mothers take stock and re-think their career options after children but I wasn’t sure I had it in me to make such a huge change as I have.
Are there any lessons you want to impart to your daughter?
That if you really want to achieve something it is possible. It’s not easy but you can do it if you are determined. You will have to work hard but it’s easier to manage if you are doing something that you are truly passionate about.
What inspires you to continue doing what you do?
I love the freedom it gives me and the fact that the sky is the limit. I love being answerable only to myself and creating my own future.
What advice/ hints & tips would you give to another parent who wants to start their own business?
If you have a great idea or a particular talent for something then just get on and do it. Don’t overthink it or procrastinate too much. It’s always better to try rather than have regrets. Be aware that it may become all consuming and you’ll need to factor in time to completely switch off.