Welcome back to Mama You Can, a series started to share inspirational stories of Mama’s who have changed career direction, started their own business or negotiated a more flexible role to fit in with family life.
This week we hear from Jenny Branson who is an interior designer. I love her story, from a London career to finding something that worked for her at home.
Mama You Can: Jenny Branson
Hi – I’m Jenny, mum to Jasper, 10, twins Kit and Jude, 8, and one year old Willow…
Throughout my twenties I worked as a Freelance Stylist for a fabulous variety of clients – styling magazine shoots, pr events, parties, weddings and a number of advertising projects to boot.
It was all fast paced and fantastic fun and latterly, with one baby who was happy to hang out at location houses, it still worked for a while. But when I had the twins 8 years ago, it was clear it was time to find another direction!
There has never really been a box on the drop down list of occupations that has accurately described what I do, so I was honestly pretty comfortable when it came to adapting my career path to work around our family.
Whilst doing the rounds of baby groups, you get talking to all sorts of mums and I got a real feeling that many of them would love to make changes to their homes, but re-decorating came a very long way down the list when it came to divvying up their time! There was also the obvious reality that in most cases there were no longer two salaries to play with.
But let’s face it, with small children you find yourself within your own four walls quite a lot of the time, and from personal experience I think it’s really important that that environment makes you feel good!
I could clearly see a gap in the market offering a service that could work with people to help them make their own design decisions using a simple, fast and cost-effective system. And so the idea of the Quick Fix Design Consultation was born.
It’s a clear step by step process starting with a face to face meeting at the client’s home to see the room(s) under discussion and find out exactly what they are hoping to achieve through the project. After that I ask them to make a collection of tear sheets from magazines and small items that appeal to them. This can be anything from a shell to a particular piece of furniture or a colour combination in a picture they have seen. You wouldn’t believe what you can tell about a person’s design preferences from this simple exercise.
I then take all the information away and come up with a mood board for each room suggesting a colour scheme, optimal layout, furniture choices (this may include existing furniture they want to keep) and any other finishing details I think would be appropriate to the project. All this is then handed back over to the client to make the changes in their own time.
There is a real misconception that great interior design comes with a great big price tag, but by using this process you can tap into my knowledge and experience without losing control or breaking the bank!
I love what I do. But most of all, I love that it fits round the school run and my daughter’s routine.
My advice? Be realistic with your expectations. Offering this kind of service is never going to make us millions but it gives me so much flexibility with our family life, and ensures that I never miss one of my kids taking a star turn as 2nd ostrich in the school play! Those are the kind of things that money just can’t buy.
And finally, make sure that you really want to add another juggling ball to this crazy whirlwind we call parenting! Other than that, go for it!
Mama You Can will be back next Thursday, until then why not read some of the other stories…
- Mama You Can: Kelly Pike
- Mama You Can: Julie Clabby
- Mama You Can: Claudette Anderson
- Mama You Can: The Baby Service
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