Women are truly amazing, between having children and running their households , they still manage to hold high-powered positions across different industries; they start their own businesses and they raise their families.

In celebration of Mother’s Day – 12 May – Absolute Mama will be interviewing 5 inspirational women this month, all Mother’s, all doing it for themselves

Q & A with Kate Shepherd – Something Different & Something Desired

1. Tell us about yourself and your company/venture
A little more about me. I am 33 years, a British mother of 2, balancing life and building a legacy. I love all things creative and try to live a simple life with a lot of emphasis on family time.

Something Different is a Décor & Design business specialising in custom designs, bespoke concepts , quality handmade products and premium service delivery. We like to say we over deliver on the smallest of details. Something Different takes care of every element of the décor.  From the hiring of the dance-floors, feature lighting, structures, furniture, floral designs and setup as well as the styling for all the above and more. We work closely with all suppliers and like to think we work harmoniously with event colleagues to create unique, one of a kind, events.  From weddings to corporate events, private parties to launches – we are your creative solution.

Something Different also has a sister business – Something Desired – an online custom shop that works hand in hand with both private and Something Different eventing work, creating bespoke items to the public. Last year we launched our first kids range and recently a bold Sorbet furniture collection.

Under the Something Different Group we have both the JHB branch and Desired brand.  Soon to come will be the Something Designed business, which connects them all curating bespoke interiors with the use of custom pieces and an eye for modern detailing. We are grateful to have already worked on a few celebrity interiors and unique projects like a treehouse and some holiday homes.
The final part of the puzzle, now that we have launched Johannesburg successfully, is to reach out globally, starting with London 2020/2021.

2. How did your business come about and has it changed your life?
It was a venture I took on in my youth, almost 14 years ago now and with little risk or responsibility. I grew it as my baby until I met the “one” and we had real-life babies of our own. My business has been a constant, but also the biggest stressor. It changes my life in allowing me to live the life I do, but my dreams and aspirations on top of the daily grind do create a challenging and pressure-filled norm.

3. Do you have any tips for working Moms who are looking to start their own business?

It has been almost 5 years of being a Mom. So, I am still fairly new to this, but with 2 now, I sure do feel the strain and constant mom-guilt. Am I doing enough for the business? Am I being a present mother and wife? It’s a constant pull and one thing I would say for working moms is go easy on yourself. Do whats right by your gut, and don’t be afraid to take risks, just remember your heart and know the guilt is always there and won’t go away, so keep at it and be the best you can be at both. Don’t make yourself feel bad and do less and be less because of it.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by mothers/women in business?
There are many social restraints put on mothers  and women in business. It is tougher and a greater challenge than perhaps a man would face. We have to juggle not only companies but probably still be primary caregiver at home, so the anxiety can be great. Sometimes the internal pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect is worse than society. You will not always make the right decisions, sometimes you will work too much, sometimes you will put more emphasis on family, but making sure we are confident and unapologetic in that decision is key. The rat race is there, you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ – be your own team running your own race. You don’t need challenges against others to add to your burden. I don’t think there is ONE big challenge facing women, but pages and pages of them. But the biggest one can be getting it right in your own head.

5. Where or from whom do you find support?
I didn’t do any maternity courses or antenatal groups. I was VERY unprepared for motherhood. For those fortunate to have incredible moms, this is the time to turn to them. When becoming a mother you truly appreciate your own mom and all she did. So I really connected on a deeper level with my mom in being able to relate. She was an incredible support for me. Alongside that I joined Clamber Club from early with both tots and have gained a group of lady warriors like no other from that. Our group helps us to feel normal, allows us to vent, and makes you feel ok even when you think you’ve lost it. Empower women around you, learning it’s ok to be part of the labelled “mom groups” – because sisterhood through motherhood keeps us sane.

6. How do you achieve work/life balance, and what do you do for yourself?
This is a tough question. For me the first year of both my children were a bit of a write-off. Both physically and mentally looking after myself. I breastfed for a year with both my children (probably still is my greatest achievement), I took no maternity leave and had BAD sleepers. I’m talking from 3-8 months probably 12-18 wakes a night. I was somewhat of a zombie. I don’t know how I started a business and ran others! It’s all a bit of a blur. But once they start to sleep again and the feeding reliance is gone, you can start to regroup. I get up now before they wake, exercise (online mom workouts) most days. I have a daily reading and spend 5 mins or so reading positive stories before I start my day. I feel strong. This is key to wanting to run around and play actively with the kids. But it can’t happen when they are awake, so taking time for myself is normally before or after they are sleeping.

7. In your opinion, c
an you be a good Mom and a successful entrepreneur/ business woman?
Oh goodness, I hope so!  I am trying to so hard to achieve this. Being a present and engaged mom is ultimately what matters and a constant battle, and I believe having less time to spend with the kids than a non-working mom perhaps makes you prioritise that time better. To see the importance in quality not quantity. As long as you remain on top of your screen time and one-on-one connection is top of the list, then you can be both business lady and active mom.  It does mean less ‘you’ time, it does sometimes mean selfless giving to have both, but it’s rewarding.

8. What is the most rewarding thing about being a Mom?
The most rewarding things have many facets. For me it’s what makes my heart most full.  These can range from bedtime chit-chats with my daughter at the end of the day, or the giggles you get from blowing raspberries on the tummy or kisses in the neck. For me it’s the face that lights up bigger than the room when you walk in from work, or even having them nestle into you when they are afraid. Also, the overwhelming emotions when you see your child perform, perhaps ballet, tennis or even music and whether they are the best or worst your heart wants to explode (and my face regularly does – explodes with tears, he-he) when they stand there so independently. I am often overcome at these silly small events that certainly make you feel most proud and rewarded.