Hannah Berg, Little Fern
Auckland-based Little Fern founder and mother of four Hannah Berg shares her tips on managing motherhood and being creative with running a business – and having a day job!
OB: Why did you set up your business?
HB: I didn’t want to spend my working life sitting behind a desk. I started my adult working life in the middle of a recession and ended up in a role that I hadn’t initially trained for. For my sanity I really needed to do something that I found satisfying and could have a creative outlet and where I could be my own boss and keep my own hours.
I’m also lucky enough to have come from a family of amazing women where they really can and do make anything and they have taught the next generations that we can do anything that we put our minds to. Most of my childhood memories of the women in my family are of them making something, dresses, quilts, dolls, hats, stained glass windows, you name it and they made it. And if you didn’t push their patience too much they were also all more than happy to teach you whatever craft they were currently working on at the time.
For me it was a natural progression to start the business. Like all the women in my family I’d always made quilts and toys for my own enjoyment. From there I started selling to friends and then over the years it gradually became a business.
I’m also not very good at being told what to do so being my own boss works well…
OB: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
HB: I was always going to be either an author or a doctor. I haven’t yet written a published book but did make it to med school, but then struggled too much with the balance of med school study and being a young mum.
OB: Do you ever feel "mummy guilt" about spending time working instead of with your children? If so, how do you deal with it?
HB: Not at all. My children are right there beside me. Sometimes they’re picking fabrics with me, other times they’re passing me beads and sometimes they’re sent outside to play so I can concentrate and get the accounts done. They know that we work hard and it’s important to me that our children grow up with good work ethics.
OB: What do you do to get ‘me-time’?
HB: I work flexi-hours and have amazing family support when it comes to childcare, so I often have lunch catch-ups with girlfriends or pop out during the day for a haircut or a sneaky long lunch with the hubby.
OB: What is the smartest thing you have done with your business?
HB: Believe that it can work. Ignore everyone that called it a hobby. And most importantly I listened to people who had already been there, even when it meant swallowing my pride.
OB: What is your favourite thing about the business now? What do you most enjoy?
HB: Seeing Little Fern products in stores. Every time I see them it’s still a WOW moment for me!
OB: What is the most surprising thing you’ve found in running your own business?
HB: To begin with it was people’s reactions, I hadn’t expected that not all my friends would be supportive of the business and this lead to a lot of self-doubt in the early days. Now it’s that everyone thinks it’s easy and that it’s something that’s just happened overnight.
OB: What is your philosophy to child-rearing?
HB: There is no right or wrong way, you just get up every day and do your best. If you have a bad mum day, it’s not the end of the world, just try to have a better one tomorrow.