Welcome to Week 27 of Motherhood by Design – the series where mothers who also run creative businesses share their inspirations and their experiences juggling the demands of raising children while growing a creative career.
"I hope that my son makes his decisions out of love rather than fear. More than anything I want to show him how cool it is to be alive in this world – I hope my job contributes to that."
Kathleen Shannon is one half of Braid Creative & Consulting, a branding firm that helps designers, makers, writers, photographers and other creative professionals define their style and position themselves to stand out. Kathleen, along with her sister Tara, works with clients all over the world from their office in Oklahoma City. They embrace the fact that creative entrepreneurs don’t always draw the line between work and life and so in addition to their branding work, they offer e-courses and coaching that helps women design the life they want to live, at work and at home.
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Kathleen - can you please describe your family?
My husband Jeremy and our one year old son, Fox.
What is your business?
My business is: Braid Creative & Consulting – I own it with my sister. We do branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. We also just launched an Branding ECourse for creatives who can’t hire us one-on-one.
I also have a podcast called Being Boss with Emily Thompson – after we launched it quickly made it’s way into the top charts of iTunes and has been such a fun project.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
Haha – it’s funny thinking of having “free time” in my childhood. It was ALL free! I liked to express my inner ninja by playing in the woods. I also loved drawing and doing gymnastics.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
Totally – I was always trying out new crafts. I specifically remember having this little toy where you made woven potholders out of pantyhose material.
When you were a child, did you have ideas about your own future as a mother? Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
Not at all. I still don’t know that I imagine myself as a mom!
In your early years of motherhood, did you have/make time for your creative pursuits, or was your creative work put aside for a while? If the latter, when did you pick it back up?
Well, I’m in the thick of my early years of motherhood. I had to make time for my creative pursuits – it not only feeds my family but it feeds my soul.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
Before – but it certainly grew like crazy during my pregnancy and first year postpartum. It continues to grow!
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
Well, I went to college for fine art and worked as a graphic designer after I graduated. Starting a creative business just felt like the natural next step. It didn’t feel like I was breaking any mold or doing anything crazy.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
Well, my baby goes to daycare – so when I’m with my work I’m focused on my work. When I’m with my baby I’m focused on my baby. Admittedly, right now he’s in the living room playing as I’m typing this out – so it’s not always easy to be completely present, but I do my best. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for him to see me working.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
My work days are a little shorter. I have to say no to a lot of speaking or work opportunities that take me away from my family.
In what ways does motherhood affect your creative products?
I work with a lot of “mommapreneurs” – if anything it’s just given me a little more insight and compassion to the struggles they experience balancing work and life.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
My baby expanded my heart and that expansion has made everything in my life much more abundant. So having a baby helped my bottom line.
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children?
My creative pursuits make me happy. And a happy momma makes for a happy family.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
I hope that Fox grows up knowing he can be and do anything he wants. I hope that he makes his decisions out of love rather than fear. More than anything I want to show him how cool it is to be alive in this world – I hope my job contributes to that.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
Put your baby in daycare or mother’s day out!
Thank you so much, Kathleen, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Kathleen in the following places:
Braid Website: BraidCreative.com Being Boss Podcast Website: LoveBeingBoss.com Pinterest: Braid Creative Twitter: @BraidCreative Facebook: Braid Creative & Consulting Kathleen's personal blog: &Kathleen