Hayley Blease: Little Pinwheel
Hayley, how many children do you have and what ages/sex are they?
I have two little people, my daughter Keely who is 5, and my son Taj who is 2.
What has surprised you the most about becoming a mother? Is it what you expected?
The biggest surprise is the emotional attachment of being a mother. I knew I would love my children, I just didn’t realise that I would love them that much. They are forever in my thoughts, and everything I do for them is with a whole lot of heart.
What do you love the most about being a mum?
I love how my little people remind me to have fun. That you are never too old to jump off the couch, splash in puddles, and jump on your bed!
They teach you to really look at life, to feel every bit of your emotions, and that the small things in life are bigger than what we think.
Tell us about Little Pinwheel…
Little Pinwheel is my online shop full of cool threads for little people, from newborn through to 8 year olds. It was built from the love of the fashion industry, which I have been involved in for many years.
I always wanted a shop, and after having my daughter it felt the right time to launch into my dream. It is forever growing, and there will be tween ranges added next season.
There is always something creative ticking over in my head. I stock a lot of brands designed in Australia, and I am now broadening my thoughts of brands from all over the world.
Maybe one day you will see more than clothes for the little people! Next summer will see the age grow up to 14 year olds. It will be nice to test the waters with tween clothing. I find that to grow the business in this area will be a good stepping stone to adding more for the parents.
I have cool footwear for the little people, and for the mothers. This has been a big hit, and to add clothing for the mothers will make Little Pinwheel the one stop shop! It is nice to be living and breathing my dreams.
How long have you had the Little Pinwheel business? Why online retail?
Little Pinwheel is 2 years old! I dreamt of a bricks and mortar store, and was very close to leasing a shop before I fell pregnant with my daughter. I decided then that I would wait and launch online.
I wanted to be a full time mum, and work from home. Online felt like the best way of juggling both motherhood, and business woman. The dream of a shopfront is still there. Maybe one day when I feel more grounded with my life I will leap into living a bigger dream.
Your store is closely connected to your blog which appears to have a strong following. How important has the blog become to you?
I started the blog to reflect the business. I wanted to show off the other side of the online store. Share a little of our life. Little did I know it would become a place for me to be me. For me to open up and share my life.
I think it is comforting for other parents, or even people without children, to see that there is a real person behind the business. To me it gives Little Pinwheel a face, and that makes the online store feel like a boutique. You get to know the person that you are buying the clothing from.
It also takes a little of the loneliness of parenthood away. It can be a little lonely at times talking to little people all day. It is nice to know that I am talking to adults all over the world.
As a writer, how challenging is it to ‘turn on’ the creative juices when you have the demands of small children?
I rarely have writers block, and that is because of my little people. They open your world up, which in turn opens your thoughts. To put these thoughts into words is something I love.
I people watch a lot while with my children, and there is always something happening in our little world. Writing gives me a voice, and it is a beautiful thing to be heard.
On a daily basis tell us how you manage the logistics of work and childcare...
I have only recently put my son into two days of childcare. It was something I was not prepared for, but the demands of Little Pinwheel have left me with no choice, and it is a nice feeling to have the business step up to being a reflection of the amount of work I put in.
I work a lot in the evenings, although with the two dedicated work days this is starting to go. On the days I have my son at home, there is balance when Taj has his sleep. This is the time I pack orders, answer emails, and do as much work as I can as he sleeps. Beyond that it is all on the iphone! I would be lost without it.
And my little people now live and breathe the business. It is nice to have all hands on in the busy times.
Have there been times when you've thought 'this is just too hard!' and considered giving up your business?
No, there has not been one moment where I have wanted to give up. I love it. I love all that I do with the business, and I am forever thinking about the future of the business, and what is next.
I have such a great customer base, and some that I have become friends with. That in itself keeps the love going. I believe if your heart is in something, and it makes you happy that the love will never go.
What would you say is the most challenging element of being a working mother?
Balancing the mother’s guilt. I did not expect to have the guilt in working and being a mother. You try so hard to be the best mother for you little people, and there are times when the pressures of your business take over the routine of your day.
I am starting to accept that you just need to roll with it, and the little people end up rolling with you!
Many mums strive for consistent ‘me time’. Do you manage to get it and what do you like to do?
Being a single mum I do have some me time. At the moment I have five mornings a week where I get to be just me. I love running, followed by a swim in the ocean. It is the best way to start my day after the early morning chaos of getting the little people ready! I follow the exercise with a coffee and toast with the locals down the beach.
What websites do you like to visit? Who do you think is influential in the blogger space?
I love Shop bop. I should not love it, as I waste a lot of time on there, and somehow I manage to have a package at my door on a regular basis. I am a little obsessed with fashion, and this is something that has always been with me. I don’t think that will go! I am very much into other blogs. I believe that other mum’s that are writing are my influence. It makes you feel somewhat “normal.”
I love Lexi from PottyMouthMama. Her spin on life is a laugh, and I totally get her sense of humor, and her hard times. I love reading any blog that has something to say with substance. I like to read about a life and walk away and be in complete thought of their words.
I think Cathie from M.E (Melbourne epicure), is someone that I can relate to in more than the blog world. She is forever inspiring me in her life journey, her creativeness, and the same love for photography.
I have made a lot of friends in the blog world, and one of them happens to be my best friend, Nat, from the Pagoda Tree. She is a naturopath, and she writes a very interesting blog about health, alternative pregnancy choices, and Nat also does cleansing programs through her blog. She is a huge inspiration to me, and she has shown me, and others, how to eat healthy, and not crave those chocolate treats.
As a mother, what do you think you're pretty good at?
Showing them how much I love them in more ways than just words. There is a big world out there, with a lot of imagination and creativity. I have the creative head, and to share the world to them in a way that allows them to see beauty in it is what I do best. I believe in children being children, and using their imagination. You can do a lot with your little people with what is right in front of you.
You don’t need a toy, or a planned activity. They see more than we can see, and it is nice to have them guide you a little too.
...and what are you terrible at?
I am terrible at sorting out confrontation between the two of them. I am not into fighting, or arguments, even of the little kind. I cannot deal with it. I get too emotional. I am also not good at saying no. I do say no to a lot of things, but sometimes saying yes is easier than the tantrum you are about to get with the no answer. Of course there are boundaries, but there are times when yes is easier. I am a push over!
Hayley, finally a question all mums must face - what are you feeding your children for dinner tonight?
This question makes me laugh! I have one awesome eater, and one fussy eater.
Taj will eat straight out of my bowl. Even if he is dished up the same as me in his own bowl, he will still go and get a “big” spoon, sit on my lap and eat my dinner. Tonight it is brown rice, tomato, cucumber, goats cheese, sultanas, and roasted pumpkin.
Keely is the lover of simple. She is eating white fish, (with a crispy skin), mashed potato, and soya beans. Her dinner is usually plain pasta with tuna, or plain pasta with cheese.
Hayley is giving the first 20 readers of this article 15% off new season clothing at Little Pinwheel. (This excludes sale stock, accessories, and saltwater sandals).
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Interested in starting your own business? Chat with other entrepreneurial mums in the My Business Forums.