Be inspired by the woman behind Fair + Square
Author of 'Wild Kinship: Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs' Monique Hemmingson chats to Carly Low from Fair + Square about her business and the family/work balance.
How did Fair + Square come to be?
To be honest, it was by accident. About ten years ago, someone gave me a soap-making kit as a present. For around five years I pottered around making soap at home and as gifts because I really enjoyed the methodical process involved in making it and noticed the difference in my own skin. It never occurred to me that it could become a business. It’s been amazing, but also quite a shock, that demand has continued to grow. I didn’t know anything about starting a business or what that entailed, but it’s been a really slow progression that’s grown with me, so I’ve been able to learn each stage as it comes.
How has the company grown?
It really has grown far beyond what I ever planned. We now have fifty five stockists across New Zealand and around 100 others waiting on a backlist. Huge department stores have approached us too, but we’re still really small scale and want to keep it that way, so we need to find balance in our growth and output.
How do you find the work life balance with young children?
It definitely is a struggle with the kids. Rye is almost four and Quincy is two and a half, so neither are at school yet. They go to daycare two days a week and initially I had a lot of guilt attached to that, but once I moved past my own ego I realised it’s actually so much better for them to have a few days away from me and off the farm. It also means the two days they’re there I can really invest myself into work, and then when they’re home, I can give them my all.
What would be your biggest sacrifice in running a small business?
Time with the children, definitely. I really had this vision of being an all-encompassing mother that was theirs full-time, but as life has evolved, this business has become another baby that demands my attention too. I’ve had to split myself across both, which isn’t what I expected and has been a bit of a sacrifice at times.
What are the biggest lessons you hope to teach your children when it comes to life and business?
If you make your decisions with honesty and integrity, you will always come out a winner. Take responsibility for your mistakes as well as your wins. Never stop learning and taking risks, you never know where they might lead. Build your community and work to keep them close, no one can do anything great on their own, so surround yourself with people who will help you shine.
With the busyness of being a business owner and raising children, how do you find time for yourself and what do you like to do?
There is always time if you make it a priority, but it can be a struggle for sure with kids in tow. My kids are at daycare part-time which gives me time to work on my business uninterrupted, but I need to make a concerted effort to put the business aside for an hour or so and take a break. For me, the best way to recharge is either getting my hands dirty in the garden, or hanging out with my horse (or if I am feeling lazy watching an hour's worth of animal rescue videos on YouTube).
What does being a modern mama mean to you?
Being a modern mama to me means showing my kids it is possible to be a mother and a business woman, not being perfect at either, but doing my best and being enough. Showing them what a strong person looks like, and that it will look different in each different person. Giving them the tools to adapt to a fast-changing world.
READ ABOUT TWO MORE CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURS .....
WILD KINSHIP AUTHOR
Wild Kinship: Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs,
by Monique Hemmingson, Beatnik Publishing, RRP $60, beatnikbooks.co
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 53 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW