Meet Sarah, mother to a 6 year old daughter, juggling work, creating a business with a mission and single parenting! I think you’ll find so much that resonates with you, her perspective on life is refreshing and if even owning a business is not for you, you’ll find her take on life and the motivation behind her business an eye opener. I’ll let her introduce herself, (I don’t think I could have done a better job anyway!)
Now for the interview
Q. You have a selection of stamped jewellery that focuses on my word / my mantra theme, what was your inspiration behind this?
A. I love making these personal and uplifting pieces, and truly, it is such an honour to do so! When I created Rokkabella Made, I had a very clear mission and that was to give people a reminder of how amazing they are.
The Etsy shop opened with bracelets that were for kids, teens and adults and I had chose messages that aligned with my mission. These were positive and encouraging affirmations and mantras, even single guiding words.
What a joyful exercise this was for me to do! Soon after, I learned about the Word of the Year practice from my friend who had actually been practising this for many years. You are choosing a word that will be there to guide you, to encourage you with your every day. I looked at this next to what is usually done of making a New Year resolution, often a tangible goal that you may or may not achieve. I was thrilled to learn about this and it aligned completely with my mission.
I found that I was actually helping people – people I did not even know and I was making something so special for them. Truly, this makes me feel so good, and I put sincere love into every piece that I make. I have also added hand stamped washer necklaces to this collection and I really love making these too.
Q. How have you designed your business to support your life and your family?
A. I wish I could say that I have this figured out! It has been almost two years since Rokkabella Made came to be.
Starting a business in any creative field, there is constant effort and work and brainstorming, and it has certainly been that way for me. I have great aspirations for where I want to take Rokkabella Made, and I am learning more and more these plans take time.
For me, I have to find a way to keep moving forward with motivation while still being proud of where I am at. What has been helpful to me (and I am still trying to get better with), is writing down smaller goals and tasks to accomplish them.
I think we all need to do what we can to make things work for our particular situation. I live with my mom and my six-year-old daughter Lucy. I also have part-time work with Starbucks and Gallery Boom – a local art gallery.
I am so thankful to have my mom with us, we all take good care of each other. Work is constant for me and I look forward to the day when I am able to separate them a little more. What I do with Rokkabella is so so personal and I don’t think I could ever just turn it off. But what I am wanting and needing so much is to have more presence in my home life. I don’t have all this extra time, but the time I DO have available, I want to be more intentional with it. I want to be present with my daughter.
So, I continue to get more comfortable and confident in these areas. For me, I have to put focus and intention into my day from the get-go, and have greater self-discipline. This is definitely a challenge for me but I do know it will get easier!
Q. Tell me what are your most important values, it’s clear from reading about you that you are a highly compassionate person who gets so much from helping others but what else motivates you.
A. Well, thank you Kerrie! Yes, I definitely feel so much joy when getting to serve others and that is why Rokkabella is so rewarding to me.
Over the last two years, I have been learning more about ME, and this has been my greatest motivation. It has been why I have been able to remove unnecessary comparisons and expectations and just focus on me. I feel like I am finally validating myself for all my quirks and tendencies that use to make me upset with myself.
One very impactful has realization was recognizing my struggle with attention and focus, as well as analysis paralysis. Seeing a name to this, that this was true and real, helped me understand it more and not feel confusion and shame with it.
Very often, I struggle with my everyday responsibilities and working towards long term goals, but I know I am getting better because I am understanding myself and giving myself the grace I need.
I also began listening to audiobooks and podcasts and to be real, I have to give so much credit to these. The last time I read a physical book cover to cover was twenty years ago. I just could never finish, I felt terrible about it too. Realizing I could actual listen to a book was a life saver; I knew this technology existed but it took me until recently to dive in.
Someone recommended to me ‘The Book of Joy’. I wish I knew who that woman was who told me about this. She was a customer at the Starbucks I work at and I have not seen her since. I want to thank her because this book brought has so much light and love into my heart.
Audiobooks and podcasts are something I strongly encourage others to try. I have found different ones that have specifically helped my motherhood, my business, and my health. I know it can be intimidating with how many are out there but you just got to get started, in not too long, you’ll find one that catches your sincere attention. One podcast that has helped me to understand and be comfortable in my own motherhood is called “3 in 30 takeaways for moms”. Super simple, easy to listen to when you can, and has really given me valuable, honest support.
Q. You turned 40 recently, do you think there’s something special about this milestone. I’m looking forward to turning 40 myself next January and for me, it’s the feeling that I’m FINALLY old enough to be taken seriously is this something you can relate too?
A. Honestly, I didn’t think I was old enough to turn 40! It kind of came out of nowhere because I never put a big focus on my age. Often, I still don’t feel like an adult, is that weird? I accept that I am not the average 40 year old woman. Or the small business owner who has her act together, or the mom doing all the things. And that is okay! I had to stop the comparison to other women and moms and stop the expectation that I had to have this and that. I am me, working on me, loving me. I think when I am at my best self, I will attract the best for me. So that is what I am working on. An doing so also to set an example for my daughter.
I think it’s important to remember that no one else gets to determine your worth. How you see yourself is what is truly most important. I am getting there.
I used to put a lot of value on how others see me, now I know that is not the way to be. I am free to be me – a bit of bashful, a good amount of awkward, a major procrastinator, understanding and compassionate, ME. Even though quite often, I have no idea what I am doing – I am more confident than I have ever been before.
Q. If you could share a message with every mum and daughter what would that be?
A. I would just want to encourage all moms out there to be true and proud of who you are.
Try not to compare yourself with who you think you should be or where you expect you should be. We are all living our own unique motherhood and that is something to cherish.
Our children are not looking for anyone other than YOU. You are in their heart and in their eyes and they want YOU more than anyone else. And when you are true to who you are, and to your values, then you shine so bright for them.
Q. Ok, back to your work, I’ve tried stamping metal myself, the family didn’t really appreciate the noise, but I want to know – How do you get your stamping so damn straight?
A. Hahaha! Yes, the stamping sure is noisy, especially onto Stainless Steel! I am super thankful that my mom and daughter were so easily accepting of it.
I do not yet have a secure stamping post set up, I will be able to make a better set up with this. So for the last two years, the stamping has been done in the kitchen! We have a small kitchen but there is a little island that is secured well to the floor, so I can stamp here without getting vibration like I would from a free-standing table. Like I said, I am so thankful my mom doesn’t mind! I guess it keeps things interesting.
Not that I went into the stamping world because I liked to write straight, but it has definitely been an asset. It just comes pretty naturally and I am very grateful for that. And I do love stamping circle washers, though that did take some time to improve. Staying perpendicular to the center at every stamp placement is quite difficult at the beginning.
There are probably a lot of individuals who are interested in stamping but find the stamping straight to be a difficulty.
Don’t get discouraged! There are a variety of helpful tips and techniques you can learn online, and even Facebook groups full of hand stampers that are super helpful.
I think you have to find what works best for you and have fun with it! Save those one’s that are mess ups – they are perfect for practising and it is fun to look back and see the progress you have made over time.
I look at my old ones, I used to hammer so hard, lol! Don’t do that by the way. Research and find what size hammer will work best for your stamps and your metal of choice. And I highly recommend investing in a quality stamp set. It’s a million times better in my opinion to have 1 or 2 font sets that are of great quality, versus many font sets or design stamps that are not of good quality. It really makes all the difference!
Q. What’s the most valuable lesson you have learnt selling your own handmade products, as an artist, I have so many insecurities about my own work that I find it hard to appreciate the value others see in it, so what issues came up for you and how do you deal with them?
A. Of course, this is completely normal in whatever creative field you are in. For sure it got to me too; especially at the beginning because I was brand new to hand stamping, yet I’m putting my work out there on to Etsy where there were hundreds of other stampers that had so much more experience than I did. How was my work going to even compare?
Honestly, I know this is difficult but I think you need to not pay too much attention to the work of others. I think it would benefit the artist to just not follow them. Without wanting to, we get sucked into their work and fall right into comparing ourselves to them.
We each have some form of inspiration and motivation that got our creative minds and hands to make something special – we can use that to continue.
That is one avenue of insecurities. The other impactful one is accepting that someone may actually like my work enough to pay something for it?!
You could probably split people into two categories – those who appreciate and put value into the thoughtful, creative, handmade work from an artist – and those who don’t.
We are not here to change the values and minds of those. If they prefer to shop through mass-produced stores, that is their choice and we don’t need to put one bit of worry into it. We do not need to convince them to buy our work.
I think understanding this can greatly reduce a lot of anxiety we may have when going to sell our own work.
But there are so many people in this world who do value handmade work and that is why I am so appreciative of venues like Etsy. And with the number of shops on Etsy that may be creating and selling something similar to ours, well the customers’ sure have their choice. And when they choose to support and buy from your shop – well then, you deserve to relish in that excitement!
I also sell my jewelry at a local art gallery and at the beginning, I found myself comparing my work to others.
I like to say this is probably one of the coolest galleries that exist, it is so very eclectic. And you know what – compared to the vast majority of what artists create here, mine is pretty darn boring! But I am okay with that because I am not trying to put myself into some other category.
I have a definite mission behind my work and that is brought through with the messages on the jewelry and other things I make. And I do sell quite a lot. I came to understand that yes, people actually value my work. And I have to and do appreciate that.
I’d love to share a great resource with you Kerrie and your readers, something that can be so beneficial to creatives who, like many have insecurities about their work and the idea of running a business. This is Jess Van Den of Create & Thrive. She has so many resources available, but I love listening to the podcast! I am so grateful to have found this and I know you will find it excellent!
And that ends my interview with Sarah, Did you resonate with her? I know I did and I honestly feel that my life has been enriched just by interviewing her.
Not only has she been so open about herself, her fears and her mission, she also wanted me to pass along this discount for her Etsy shop. This link will take you directly to it https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/rokkabellaMade/ Use the code “AWESOMEANDIKNOWIT” (without the quotation marks) to get a 15% discount for her hand stamped products.