Hello and welcome back to another instalment of 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 Kara who runs her business The Loyal Kingdom from home and is also Mummy to Willow. I’ll hand over to Kara to tell her story…
Mama You Can: Kara from The Loyal Kingdom
I am Kara Leal – Designer and Founder of The Loyal Kingdom. I live in Surrey with my husband and almost two-year-old daughter, Willow.
The Loyal Kingdom creates personalized prints and gifts for all occasions. Being able to do my own thing was something that I always had in the back of my mind, but my full-time job as an in-house designer at The Walt Disney Company left little time for setting up a business. I had a job I loved, that provided me with security, and allowed me to be extremely creative travel, and create memories I will treasure for years to come, but it meant that The Loyal Kingdom was always put on the back burner!
However, when my friend’s baby was born I gave her one of my prints as a gift. She loved it and showed it to one of her friend’s who then asked me if I could do one for her. This friend has become a very ‘Loyal’ customer and definitely gave me the nudge I needed. My husband built me a website and The Loyal Kingdom really went from there! For a year or so, I did a bit of juggling whilst working full-time – working evenings and weekends – but at this stage, I really was only selling to friends and family; Thanks, Guys!!!
When I fell pregnant, I started to rethink things. I was fully aware that returning to my job after maternity leave probably wasn’t going to be an option, so I looked into different marketplaces as a way of boosting my audience and applied to Not on the High Street. On the day that I went into labour, I officially signed up as a partner… time management at its best (though, I have definitely worked on this skill since!!!)
My maternity leave was spent getting to know our gorgeous little girl and whenever she napped – every chance I had – I worked harder than I ever have in my life! (It’s absolutely true what they say about working mums being focused!) I designed new products, focusing more and more on gifts for babies and parents, and eventually, I developed the milestone cards and nursery prints. When that first order came through from somebody that I didn’t know, it was amazing, and I would message my husband every time I received an order! It really felt like the hard work was paying off!
I signed up to promote and sell The Loyal Kingdom prints in physical markets and generally put myself out there! It was such a learning curve and a fantastic opportunity to get face-to-face feedback from customers. I loved that I was still able to do something creative and not lose that part of me.
When my maternity leave ended and the return to full-time work loomed, I felt so anxious. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do for our little family and it would mean that everything I had worked so hard for would be put to one side again. So, the decision was made that I would not return to work and I would continue to grow The Loyal Kingdom whilst also finding some freelance work that I could do from home. I felt completely terrified, but excited pursue this opportunity.
So far The Loyal Kingdom has grown month by month and I haven’t looked back! Working for yourself, by yourself, definitely takes some adjusting to, but I am so driven to make this work and I know that I am so fortunate to be able to earn a living doing something I love whilst being able to spend quality time with Willow.
My advice to other mums is that I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes something rubbish (like having a flexible working application refused) kicks you into doing something that you might have been too scared to do, but having children changes your perspective on things and they become your priority!
Oh, and I still message my husband every time The Loyal Kingdom gets an order – the novelty never wears off!!!
You can find The Loyal Kingdom here… and Kara has kindly offered readers 10% off with the code SURREYMAMA10
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
- Mama You Can: Property Potential Surrey
- Mama You Can: Lylia Rose
- Mama You Can: Amy Blackwood photography
- Mama You Can: Sunita from Lucky things blog
- Mama You Can: Jess Haworth
- Mama You Can: Claire Gillespie
- Mama You Can: Sarah Pool
- Mama You Can: Jo Harris
- Mama You Can: Laura Hollinger
- Mama You Can: Bridget from Bridie by the sea
- Mama You Can: Lisa from What2buy4kids
- Mama You Can: Kathryn from Best Day Ever Party Shop
- Mama You Can: Clare Murthy
- Mama You Can: Fiona Crossman
- Mama You Can: Amanda from Bundles & Bunches
- Mama You Can: Jo Mackay
- Mama You Can: Nicci from Stuffel
- Mama You Can: Selina from Elderflower & Delilah
- Mama You Can: Carolyn Radford
- Mama You Can: Danielle from OHSOBOX
- Mama You Can: Rebecca from Bows and Bowties
- Mama You Can: Megan from Positively Birthing
- Mama You Can: Jenny Branson
- Mama You Can: Fi from beanbaby
- Mama You Can: Jen from Etta Loves