How It All Began

Posted by Sophie Ingleby on

My wonderful little family

So I haven’t always designed beautiful personalised prints, in fact my day job was quite the opposite. I originally worked as a nurse on a busy surgical unit up until a few months ago. So why the change? Let me take you back to the beginning…

After I qualified, I went straight into full time work with two babies, both under 2. To say it was hard was an understatement. Mum guilt soon kicked in and I missed first steps, first words, birthdays and Christmas. I needed to be at home more with them and so after a year I moved wards and went part time. This obviously meant a drop in pay and I needed something that would bridge the gap (we were trying our hardest to save for a mortgage, so we needed the money).

My husband and I rented a little terrace house when the children were babies, but it was very bland and we weren’t allowed to decorate. In an effort to make it more homely, I ordered some prints to display in our living room. They were fine don’t get me wrong but they weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. My husband said, “if you know exactly what you want, then just make one yourself”, and it got me thinking. I got my laptop out and researched design software and soon created my first batch of prints. At this point I hadn’t even considered this to turn into a business, but family and friends would call round for a cuppa and comment on the prints I’d made. Shortly afterwards, I was making prints for everyone close to me and even the girls at work wanted some. That was it my problem was solved! I could work part time and sell prints as a little side hustle to bridge the gap in pay.

Eventually my new business had a name, I was armed with business cards and I had opened an Etsy store. Just to let you know that choosing a name for your business is much, much harder than choosing a name for your child. In the end I decided to name my business after my children, because they were the reason that I was doing this thing in the first place, and so Letters H&C was born (after Harriet & Charlie).

My business was thriving and after 2 years I’d established myself as a 5* rated seller on Etsy and had grown my following on Instagram. I grew passionate about the business; it was like a third child to me. I cared for it and I wanted it to thrive. I had reduced my hours right down at my day job and was working only 2 days a week. I had to work every Saturday & Sunday so that we didn’t have to pay childcare, in short, I had to work opposite shifts to my husband. This worked well for us for a while but then the children started school, cue the mum guilt again.

Well my shift pattern meant that the kids would be at school all week and I’d be at work all weekend. I hated it. Not the job, the job was brilliant and I (still do) loved being a nurse, but being away from my babies again just broke my heart. I’d get upset putting them to bed on a Friday night knowing I wouldn’t see them until Monday morning. I’d spend my break times FaceTiming them and insisted my husband would send me pictures so I could see what they were up to. The final straw for me was when Charlie started full time school. My little sidekick was gone and I didn’t see either of my children for fun stuff. I needed to leave nursing and be at home with my little family. I was adamant that I was going to do it and so my husband applied for better paying jobs (which he 100% deserves, he works so, so hard for us) and I set about building my business further.

I completely rebranded my business and told my work colleagues that I was leaving. I hated this part because my colleagues were absolutely out of this world and I knew I’d miss them. There’s something about being elbow deep in other people’s blood, vomit, urine and faeces that brings you close to people I guess. It was a tough job and it was important that we had a laugh to keep us going through some trying shifts.

My husband started as a manger at his current job in October 2019, and I told my boss that I was leaving. On the 8th December 2019, I took my business full time. I am determined to throw everything I have at creating a business that will allow me to take my children to the park on a weekend, and be a fun mum. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for my little family.

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