Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, my name is Carol and I live in Forest Hill with my partner Tom and our little boy Max who will be 3 in January. I started my company 'Max made me do it' which specialises in greeting cards and personalised art prints for children not long after Max turned 1.
What is your business and why did you set it up?
I have been a printed textile designer in the fashion industry for 15 years but always liked to make my own cards and usually designed one everyone Christmas to send to family and friends. Max had just started with our childminder when I had a gap in freelance work and without really thinking about what I was doing I started drawing Max's toys and printing them on to cards. As more and more friends were having babies I started designing name prints to give as gifts, I then set up a Facebook page to showcase this new work and the reaction was so great so it grew from there really. I now have a broad range of cards, wrapping paper and personalised art prints on my website and am designing and developing new products all the time.
How do you balance running a business with motherhood?
I'm not going to lie running your own business is ALL consuming and you can never really switch off and I feel so guilty a lot of the time as I'm glued to my phone especially when I'm with Max. As I'm pretty much a one woman show, during busy periods like now in the run up to Christmas you do seem to find yourself working round the clock and multitasking a lot. However for me working from home is a blessing as not long after I had Max I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and I have suffered a lot with poor health over the last two years. In a strange sort of way this negative experience has been the driving force behind me making 'Max made me do it' happen and although its been a tough time I'm so glad something positive has come out of it and I'm now doing something I'm really passionate about. However it has to be said there is no way I could have achieved what I have done without the support of Tom who has been amazing!
What do you love about SE London and particularly being a mother here?
We moved to SE London two years ago from North London and we just love how much more open and greener it is and it feels like we are really starting to become part of a community here. Its so great to have places like the fantastic Horniman and the lovely Mayow park on your doorstep, it means just popping out for a couple of hours is always a great experience for Max.
Can you share one secret top tip to other mothers in this area?
My all time favourite place to hang out and meet friends is the Montage on Dartmouth rd in Forest hill. Its a cafe/second hand furniture/curiosity shop/gallery space all rolled in to one building and spread over three levels. But the absolute bonus is that there is a playroom in the basement so the kids can have a great time while you have their yummy coffee and cake (the carrot cake is amazing!).The owners and staff are super lovely and chilled, I even had a photo shoot in there once when I was shooting products for my website. You must check it out!
Carol is kindly offering a promo code for 10% discount on her gorgeous website: please use mama15