Your name and age: Karen Jacqueline Gerrard, 55
What did you do before coming up with your business idea, and how was it making the transition?
From leaving school I went straight into the fashion industry, only taking time out to bring up my children and focus on charitable causes. The transition from mum back to working mother was not gradual: I threw myself straight into it. Although physically in the house I would disappear for hours into my office. I had always been busy with charitable causes but setting up a business is full on 24/7.I was oOften working late into the night when everyone was asleep. My family were very supportive so it quickly became the norm.
When did you launch?
I launched SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream in 2013
How did you get started?
It was during a millinery course, my hands got cut, burnt sore and dry. I couldn’t find a hand cream that helped to moisturise that wasn’t greasy so I created SEAMS.
I had always been in the fashion business, so I walked into my local pharmacy and asked advice. The pharmacist told me firstly you need a contract manufacturer, so google came into play. I worked with a formulator to create a cream that could be used whilst working as there is no greasy residue and which helps to mend and moisturise hands. Next, I worked with a branding company to start on packaging design then travelled across the UK to find a manufacturer. I am proud to say that I have kept everything made in the UK to support UK manufacturing. It also means we can have face to face meetings.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
Feeling inspired every day through the creative process and taking SEAMS through the different stages as it grows.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
I enjoy it all, I will say though that at the start working alone was the hardest part, sometimes not really seeing anyone for days on end. I did enjoy it though and it is incredible the amount of work you can get done when working alone. Every person I speak to during this awful pandemic tell me they are getting so much more accomplished working remotely.
What has worked well about your business?
Everyone loves our product, and it’s a lovely industry to work in. You have to follow your passion, don’t overthink. Also take advice – listen to people with expertise in your field of expertise.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
I don’t think you can really make mistakes, we all learn new things every day and often what you think is a mistake is a learning curve onto something positive.
How do you fit in work with the family?
Everyone soon gets into a routine, my children were teens when I started, they knew I was there for them should they need me, but they were also happy to help themselves and pretty quickly became self – sufficient. I think they were happy with the independence. A family Whatsapp group works well for us: we all keep in touch and any one of us can jump in to help when needed.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
No I can’t imagine ever wanting to do anything else.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time.
We have many international enquires and I see us expanding our global export over the next five years.
Find out more: http://www.seamsbeauty.co.uk
Karen J adds, “There are many woman now at home, with skills not being used. Contact us though the website and tell us what you do. We often commission a one off brief and can match your skills with what’s needed at the time. It works really well for mothers as they can accept the commission only if fits in with their schedules.”