Hampstead Business Mums - Jana, TWO LITTLE BUTTONS
Jana runs her consignment shop (Two Little Buttons) from Belsize Library on Tuesday mornings (specialising in maternity, baby and children's clothing)
Rather oddly, I met Jana briefly as I gave her some clothes hangers (after seeing a request on the facebook group earlier that morning - hurray for local community interaction!).
What is your typical morning routine?
We all wake up around 7am, I'm still breastfeeding my daughter first thing in the morning, so we get another 20 minutes of lounging around in bed. We have breakfast together: she flings porridge all over the kitchen. While I tidy up and get some chores done, Emilia hangs out, walks around with her walker, looks through some books and plays with her toys. I'm so pleased that she enjoys playing independently. It gives me a chance to get dressed, brush my teeth, maybe run a brush through my hair if I'm feeling extravagant. At about 9.20 she has a nap for 45 minutes and then we head out into the big wide world. I go quite stir crazy if we're stuck inside for too long so we always head out in different outings in the local (or not-so-local area). Oh - and on Monday and Thursday mornings she's at nursery from 8.00 - 12.30 so I get A LOT done!
How long have you lived in the Hampstead area?
I've lived in this area all my life. I've moved away a few times - most recently, living in America for four years - but I always come back to this area.
Describe your family.
I live with my husband - we're both in our early 30s and our daughter, Emilia, who is just over one year old.
Are there any classes/businesses in the area you really love and would like others to know about?
My favourite class, when my daughter was young, was the Oldtime Nursery session every Tuesday morning in the Heath Street Baptist Church. It's run by some really great musicians and they cover a range of songs and genres. It's always a joyful and exuberant event! I just wish it wasn't at 10am, when my daughter is napping! I also highly recommend the Sheriff Centre in West Hampstead - a large church that also houses a cafe, post office and brilliant soft play.
Do you have much family around?
We moved back to London from America because I wanted to be closer to my family, after giving birth to my daughter. I love having my mum, dad and sister nearby. It's a treat for Emilia to spend time with them and - for my husband and me - it allows us some precious time to ourselves!
What is the biggest struggle you've had since being a mum?
I think my biggest struggle has been around the conflicting feelings you have while on maternity leave: love for your baby coupled with quite extreme boredom. Not wanting to be viewed only as a mum but still seeking reassurance and companionship from other parents. Because my daughter was born in the States, I didn't go through the NCT process and therefore, didn't know any other parents with babies of a similar age to my daughter. I think I would have really benefited from the sense of community you get by participating in the NCT course.
Do you think your ethos to business is different to other Business owners?
I think all business owners are ambitious and driven. I've tried to infuse my own business style with lessons I've learnt from my previous career as an Arts consultant and project manager: good communication, a friendly and approachable demeanor and great customer service.
Did you always know you wanted your own business?
Both of my parents have a strong entrepreneurial streak so I suppose that I picked up on that growing up. I think I've always been of the mindset that if there's a gap in the market or a potential niche, why not try to do something about it, rather than waiting for someone else to do it?!
Please describe your business? When did you start it?
I started Two Little Buttons in March of this year. While living in San Francisco, I had discovered many "consignment" shops that specialised in children's clothing. It really appealed to me on a number of fronts: it was economical, environmentally friendly and it meant that you could discover unique, one-off items. I bought all my daughter's clothes from these establishments and hoped to find something similar when we moved back to London.
Unfortunately, I could not find any shops in London that offered the same service - selling preloved children's clothing and also offering consigners a share of the selling price. So I participated in an incubator geared specifically towards parents, developed my business plan, networked and started my own business. I open every Tuesday morning at the Belsize Community Library, selling beautiful, secondhand kids' clothing.
What drives you to run your own business?
I love working. Looking after my daughter brings me immense joy but I also want a working life outside of being a mum. I am also driven by the fact that customers seem to really like the clothing I stock and they are also committed to the concept. It's definitely a challenge a lot of the time but, ultimately, I think it's worth it.