Eileen Stapleton is a mother of three and partner in business of KIDsize Living. Readers may also be familiar with her husband, former Australian Idol winner Damien Leith.
Tell us about your business?
KIDsize Living is an online activity guide for parents with young kids aged 0-14 years; it's all about cool things to do with your kids, child friendly eating spots, shows and events, school holiday activities, classes and lessons, fashion and all located in Sydney's Inner West and surrounds.
Why did you start your business?
I was chatting to another local mum (Kathrine D'Costa) about how difficult it was to find fun things to do with the kids, having just spent the weekend being bored at home when there happened to be a big festival on that we totally missed as we didn't know about it. We decided that there was definitely a gap in the market, something really localised with all the information, hot spots, news and events for kids in our area was needed; alas KIDsize Living was born!
Has starting your own business lived up to expectations?
It has surpassed our expectations, Kathrine and I are living and experiencing everything with our young kids. Live theatre, shows, dance classes, cafe reviews, visiting new parks - we have a ball!
What have you enjoyed most about running your own business?
As our business is all about kids, I have become a very active parent as I am forced to find new places for them, new activities and I spend so much quality time with them. It is priceless to see their little face light up when we catch a show at the Opera House or skooter around a new found park, so from that point of view it's great. I also love that we are continually learning and pushing ourselves in multiple different aspects of running a business such as being creative with our designs, marketing, managing our site, writing reviews; it definitely keeps us on our toes!
What is the biggest challenge?
As we are an online business, we must constantly update our information and add new material as well as maintain our weekly newsletters which can sometimes be stressful to fit it all in and can mean evening work when the kids are asleep.
Do you have any children – what are their names/ages?
I have two boys (Jarvis is 5, Jagger 4) and a little girl (Kikki is 3 months old). My business partner, Kathrine has two children, Mason is 6 and Ivy is 2.
How do you manage to juggle the running of your business with family?
Our kids are our little guinea pigs - we take them to shows, parks and cafes and they are the best judges if a place is 'kid friendly'. I am very lucky that I have a great business partner, Kathrine, we can bounce ideas off each other, share the workload and take over if one of us is on holidays or in my recent case, just had a baby! Kathrine has really taken on all the work while our household has adapted to our newest addition, Kikki.
What is the hardest thing about being a working mother?
Being organised and staying on top of the housework, ironing, washing and dinners! It's a team effort in our house - everyone has a job!
What do you think about ‘me’ time? And do you manage to fit some in?
I love 'me' time and think it is vital for my sanity and to feel good about myself so I can function properly and enjoy my time with my children. I have an amazing partner who is very 'hands on' and mother who lets me have that time for myself and time with my husband. I also have an incredible network of local mums and dads who all help in raising our kids from taking turns in minding each others kids, to school pick ups and drop offs, car pooling to soccer and dance classes; it makes a real difference having that support.
Have you ever thought about giving it up?
No never, I love hanging out with my kids and Kathrine; we have a laugh a minute with all the activities we get up to and meet amazing, inspiring people along the way.
Do you have a favourite networking opportunity or event?
We have only been up and running for a year so haven't even had time to attend events etc but we have a great working relationship with local councils and PR companies that send us lots of relevant information.
Do you have any advice for someone starting their own business?
Just go for it, make it happen and work hard - it will all be worth it. There's nothing worse than looking back and thinking 'I should have...'
Find more mums in business in Family Finances.