This week we're talking to Pod Mama Karen Simpson, owner of Enamel Co.
Karen offers a fun, honest behind-the-scenes look at balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship (and a little humor).
Read on! And then drop into our Facebook page and say hello to Karen!
How would you describe yourself?
I'm a hot mess of a mama who seems to be perpetually under the illusion that things are about to get easier. But then they just... don't. I am NOT making this entrepreneur mom thing look easy or graceful.
What inspires you?
I care about empathy and authenticity, and I have the sense of humor of a pre-teen boy. So, compassion and understanding are big for me.. and so is using the word fuck in inappropriate places. Seriously, though... just leave space for people to be who they are, and don't be a dickhead. That's pretty inspirational to me.
What are you reading or listening to?
Before having kids, I used to read real books. ALL THE TIME. It was my thing. I had thoughts about those books, I took notes, I even had adult conversations about them. I didn't realize that was a luxury, until now. Now I'm too tired for much more than something unchallenging on Netflix, and when the kids are in bed, I'm probably working in front of the TV with a glass or three of red wine. I tell people my favorite books are by David Mitchell or Cormac McCarthy, but when I read lately, I'm much more likely to pick up something fluffy and girly that doesn't challenge my heart or my brain. I'm feeling overtaxed as it is. As a result of all this, I'm pretty sure I can feel myself getting dumber by the day.
What's your greatest accomplishment?
I feel very proud of successfully (mostly, anyway) navigating motherhood as an oversensitive introvert. I like to spend about 90% of my time alone. I don't get even a tiny portion of that. My kids are always around, always needing me, always wanting me, always making noise. And mostly? I'm able to enjoy them and put them first in a way I wouldn't have thought possible. I'm also CONSTANTLY frazzled and overstimulated, but I'm surviving, and I think my kids are thriving.
Why your biz? Why did you start?
I fell into it! I got my start in freelance writing, then web building, then graphic design and doing vinyl decals. Then I discovered that I love making art and being snarky and political and rude all over my products. I started doing enamel mugs, and they were so cute and so popular that it's almost all I do now. I love them.
Who do you look up to?
If I thought she'd be into it, I'd leave my husband for JK Rowling, and we'd live in a gorgeous old mansion in Scotland. She would entertain me with pithy, wise spoken-word tweets all day. She's my idol. She has introduced generations of kids to a love of reading that will follow them through life, that will never stop teaching them lessons of empathy and compassion and goodness. I think she's done more to change the world than the most ardent activist or most effective diplomat.
Biggest struggle in your business so far?
All the nitty gritty. I like ideas, but I suck at follow-through. I'm the quintessential creative-out-of-her-element when running the business side of my business. I'm pretty much constantly drowning.
Craziest Motherhood Moment so far?
They're all crazy. Anybody who watches me navigate my life is basically seeing one crazy motherhood moment after another. Yesterday at daycare, my kid's teacher had to remind me that if I don't bring his library books back on Fridays (I keep forgetting!), he'll be the only kid who can't get new books. Yes, I'm THAT mom.
Any tips for new business owners?
Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it some more. I have built my business with no help, enthusiasm, or participation from anybody. It's been lonely. There have been times I've screwed up monumentally. But I keep at it, and now I have this business I love to show for it, plus awesome people around me who are willing to help it grow. Don't get discouraged. Accept your inevitable screw-ups and get back up.
Um, JK Rowling, you guys. JK Rowling. Get me her address so I can send her one of my Harry Potter mugs? Thanks.
What are you most excited about with the Pod, and why did you join?
I'm excited about a community. I'm a homebody-introvert with mild social anxiety and little motivation to leave my house. People like me need community. I love the idea of a community of women who get what it's like to do all this on your own.
Do you give a discount for Pod Members?
Absolutely! I'm also happy to offer free graphic design help (logos and such) for any Pod members who need it.
Where can we find you?