and then Quirkshop was born...
There I was. At home with a baby. One day running a Graphic Design team in a buzzing, energetic, young company, micro managing everything, because of, well, perfectionist syndrome I guess (not sure if its a thing, but how I loved to carefully organise e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g) .
And then the next thing I knew, my baby was born.
So wonderful, full of life and smiles. So tiny. So precious. So unlike all the books I had read. I was not prepared for a baby that didn't slot into any of the "categories" from the baby books. She just didn't need much sleep and was incredibly happy and full of life after a 10 minute nap. The "easy" formula (Eat-Activity-Sleep-You time) just wasn't happening. Or to be precise, the "you time" was not happening.
So I learnt to put my baby first, I decided to embrace this new crazy and unpredictable way of life, and see what worked best for us. My daughter thrived when we were out and about. She went crazy if we were home alone all day, she just didn't enjoy playing alone. She was always craving socialisation. When she was mobile, she would run to the garden gate and shout "hello" to cars in a desperate attempt to interact with one more person that day. We went out every day, sometimes twice a day. I organised play dates, and tried to take part in as many activities as we could do. But most activities were pricey, and most were just aimed at babies and children. I was so busy trying to keep my daughter happy, that I was starting to take strain. I desperately struggled not having something to do that was for me, and not my daughter.
I especially missed the feeling of having accomplished something at the end of the day. Having something to "show" for a day of hard work. As a mom you are working 24/7, feeding, changing nappies, doing laundry, cooking, etc and it just didn't really fulfil me, because at the end of the day, when my little one was (by some miracle!) asleep, and I looked around the messy living room covered in toys and crumbs, the laundry piled high and dishes everywhere, I felt like I had again failed at being the perfect housewife and mother I always thought I could be. I would start cleaning and tidying up, our home would be clean while we slept, and the next morning, within minutes, would again look like a bomb blast.
Then two other friends were about to have babies, and I started to organise their baby showers. I made baby hampers, carefully and creatively wrapped, and so loved sitting back and admiring something I had made. I have always been creative, but becoming a mom, those moments in which I created something that lasted, it made my heart smile. It felt good. And it made me a happier mom.
When a third friend had her son, my daughter was a few months old, and I made her some baby felt shoes. And something about the reaction I got for making them, excited me. When I brought them to her baby shower, I got so many lovely comments and such loving feedback, I felt like the Martha Stewart of sewing! Realistically, the day I had made those shoes, I had been up every hour the night before, the day had started at 5 am, my daughter had just found her voice and was squealing and shouting just for fun, most of the day, and I was a shaking nervous wreck. Chloe was on the move, and when I cleaned one corner of the house, she'd be in the opposite corner making a mess - crazy times! But I somehow managed to make these shoes while all that was going on, and it only took half an hour, but here I was getting so much praise for them.
No one praises you for changing nappies ;) Friends don't go all crazy over the fact that you did your third load of washing that day. And that warm feeling in my heart for having created something that was pretty and I had such fun making, made me think - I want to share this feeling. I wanted to help other moms feel the same way, who perhaps similarly to me, missed creating things or missed working on something while being a SAHM. And so the idea for Quirkshop was slowly formed.
I thought about offering craft workshops from home, just small basic craft workshops. They needed to be little sleep and little time friendly. Something you could do in between breastfeeding and nappies, something you didn't need to think clearly for or concentrate too hard on (some moms survive on 2 hours of sleep a night after all!) and also, something affordable enough to do regularly.
But I kept on coming back to the same conclusion - how do I get other moms to sign up to this? Facebook ads, even posting in a local facebook group costs money. It just wasnt worth spending hundreds on advertising. I asked at our local early childhood centre to put a notice on their notice board, but not even that was possible. I just had no idea of how to get the word out there. Quirkshop started growing from just me hosting these workshops, to helping others host workshops. My mind started spinning! How wonderful, if I could help other mums earn some money on the side! I thought about all the ventures I had tried, baking, succulent terrariums, etc but everything required many hours of work and I was always just breaking even. But workshops are different. Within the space of one or two hours, you can actually earn some money whilst sharing what you are passionate about. Its a win-win for both sides.
It has been crazy trying to set up Quirkshop. It has taken so much longer than expected, because, well perfectionist syndrome ;) and kids. And laundry. And life.
But now that we are set up, we are so excited to welcome you to Quirkshop. I hope you find the perfect workshop and perhaps if you're passionate and great at something, you might decide to host your own workshop too?
Much love from Anja xx
(Keep an eye out for me around the Lower North Shore, I'm the mum in the park chasing my two kids running in opposite directions, with no makeup and mum-bun hair, who forgot the wetwipes and is asking to borrow yours)