Hi guys! Thank you to Jayne for having me here. I’m Gemma and I run a business called The Seashack with my business partner Shirley, who also happens to be my Mum. If you’ve heard of us before you might be familiar with our love for positive quotes, creativity and wellbeing. We currently design and sell our own range of positive stationery, self care boxes and affirmation cards. I’m also a Mum to 3 (almost 8yrs, 5yrs & 2.5yrs) so life is pretty busy. Mum continuously not only acts as my business partner but helps me with childcare so that I’m able to part-time work around having a 2-year-old at home.
We set up back in 2012. Mum worked as a teacher and I was at home with our first child after taking voluntary redundancy from my job as a PA in London. I really struggled with that first year of being a Mum. When I look back now I missed so much because I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about what people thought; trying to get our little boy to fit in to boxes he wasn’t shaped for; wondering why I couldn’t get him to do the things that the babies in the books did. I knew I wasn’t going back to work in London but because I’d found parenting all consuming, I felt like it would be healthy for me to have another focus too. Mum was ready to follow her dreams as well and had quit her stressful teaching job the previous year. So we decided to go for it – we started selling handmade wares and artwork with words on that would mean something to other people.
Mum will vouch for the fact that I grew up in a house where negativity and expecting the worst was an everyday thing. My Dad had grown up in similar circumstances so it was no wonder that it would leave a shadow hanging over him too. But in that environment it is hard to build on self worth or to become excited about things and flourish. I was always very independent but also quite unsure of myself too. At some point in my late teens/early 20s I made the decision that I would look for the best in each day rather than expect the worst. I must have been inspired by Mum’s spiritual side and love for self-help books so I kept reading and became more and more interested in the way we all have the power to help ourselves. I practiced gratitude, sought out alternative therapies, crystals, healing, spirituality and worked on my self worth & self confidence…I read about everything!
Fast-forward a few years and 2 more children down the line for me. It has certainly been a huge juggle trying to co-run a business and keep up with everything else too. I cannot tell you how many times we have nearly called it quits – because that is the easy option when you are busy and overwhelmed with all life has to bring. We haven’t quit because we are passionate about this stuff. We want other people to know that they have the power to shape their thoughts and their lives and define their own happy – even when those negative thoughts creep in. Believing in yourself and finding time for you amongst the busyness of life is something we encounter every day and I think other people can relate to this too. It’s really important for us to share meaningful stories and messages showing the struggles as well as the good times. Growing from a place where you feel enough just as you are is key for me. As is understanding that no-one can continuously keep that positive mindset up, because it’s impossible when you are human, and that’s ok.
Right now we channel our thoughts and voices in to our products which we love creating. Creativity is the one thing that has got me out of a hole in the past and art and writing is my therapy! It’s amazing when people buy things to gift to others or to cheer someone up. The messages are reminders exactly for that; to gently inspire and encourage and allow someone to reflect on things from a different point of view. I know that when this stuff is around me or I nourish myself with inspiration, my outlook is so different!
But this year we want to explore holding workshops, speaking at events and stepping more outside our comfort zones to share some of the stuff that has allowed us to create more meaningful lives. Whether that’s self care as a busy woman, believing in yourself or learning how to become a positive force in your own life. From a personal point of view I get excited about things and have a tendency to want to help everyone – so take on too many things. So boundaries and self care are really important. The things we continuously work on in our business and our lives are the things we want to share – in that moment. And that’s what makes them meaningful. When you have 2 voices in a business there is so much to say and to share!
I hope you’ll enjoy my chat with Jayne! Lots of love, Gemma xx