Profile of Jennifer Thornton, owner of Geekling Designs, an online store that features affordable baby and toddler clothing inspired by nature and fantasy. This article originally appeared in Go Go Mama Go.
Profile: Jennifer Thornton
1. What or who inspired you to start your business?
After giving birth to my daughter Natalie in July of 2008, I settled into my stay-at-home Mommy role quite easily. Gone were those days of climbing the corporate ladder and adult conversation, and instead I began to immerse myself in playdates and “Mommy-talk.” I’ve always been somewhat creative, but most crafty things I’ve done have fallen by the wayside, being left for something new to try. One day, while searching online for something unique for Natalie to wear, I found a great DIY t-shirt guide. Interested, I picked up all of the supplies needed, and had a blast making Natalie something cute. After a few compliments from friends and family, I started selling at local swap meets, and started networking with local Moms. In April, I made the jump online to Etsy and have had a great time getting to know other sellers and have a place to showcase my items. In July of 2009, I opened up my own website at www.geeklingdesigns.ca as another place to offer my services. These days, I offer hand-printed T-Shirts and Onesies, as well as do custom orders for those who want something truly unique.
2. What motivates you?
I am one of those people who likes to get things done… now! When I get an idea, I’m off and running with it! I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’ve completed an order, or finished a new design. I am always trying something new, whether it’s a new design, new technique, or just perfecting something I already do.
3. How do you balance being a mom and an entrepreneur?
As my work time is somewhat limited due to the ever demanding schedule of a one-year old, I find the best thing to do is prioritize. My workspace is covered in to-do lists and notes. Having a computerized calendar has been a life-saver, being able to track work appointments with playdates, doctors appointments and the like. I find the best times to do work are during nap times and bed times, and try to get as much done as possible during those times. My husband is also a great help, pitching in to help care for Natalie if I have deadlines to meet, or even as a sounding board for my new ideas.
4. What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to control every single aspect of my business. I’m the CEO, customer service, production line and housekeeper. I love the smiles on customer’s face after I’ve handed them their personalized order. And, the part that I love the most? I get to stay at home with Natalie, and watch her grow and learn every day!
5. What single piece of advice would you give someone who is starting out?
Find something you’re passionate about. Starting your own business entails a lot of work, so better make it something you would love to do all day – every day! There will be good days and bad days, but having something you’re passionate about helps make all of the challenges and rewards worthwhile. Also, if friends and family offer to help you out – take it. The support I’ve received from friends and family has been amazing, and I couldn’t do what I do without them. Joining local networks with other mompreneurs is also a great resource.
To find out more about Jennifer, check out GeeklingDesigns.ca.