If you haven’t already heard of her, and I’m sure most of you have, Cathy is a 40 year old mother to two boys age 12 and 13 years. She is an award-winning professional makeup artist and photographer as well as the author of the pregnancy and baby journal, Our Incredible Journey. In 2014 she was the 2nd runner-up in the Mrs South Africa competition and has since become an official pageant mentor to girls and women participating in pageants. She is also a dedicated contributor and friend to two orphanages in JHB called Changing Lives and Ilamula House. Somewhere in there she finds the time to be a part-time plus size model. How she could ever be classified as plus sized is beyond me…
Cathy and I have tried to meet for coffee and a chat about six times in the last seven months but between my kids being sick (she is extremely careful not to be in contact with anyone ill or just recovering from an illness as she does a lot of newborn shoots and can’t risk the babies picking up a bug) and her busy schedule, we just couldn’t get around to it. However, I just had to feature her so she kindly took the time to answer a few questions for me via email:
1. It must have been scary to leave the corporate world. What was the push that made you take that final leap?
I knew that traffic and leaving at 6am and coming home at 7pm was just not going to work for me when I had children so I made plans to get out of corporate and start working for myself before my babies came along. I studied makeup and photography and started working part-time to establish myself. Once I was ready to leave corporate I already had work lined up so it wasn’t as scary ‘jumping ship’.
2. Your kids are older now at 12 and 13 so I imagine its easier now to schedule your work around their school times. How did you juggle your time when they were younger?
It is much easier now as my sons are so much more independent and they are less demanding of my attention. I had full-time help when they were younger and made sure I scheduled my appointments around their school and nap times. I still try as much as possible to schedule my time with clients for when they are school or playing sport and I do my admin and editing when they are at home. Wedding makeup takes me away from home during the weekend but other than that I am always at home and there for them. Fortunately the majority of my client base are mothers so if something pops up with my sons, it is understood and dealt with easily.
3. Do you have a support structure that you can call on?
I have a small support structure but I tend not to rely on other people to deal with my responsibilities but I have a ‘hands on hubby’, help at home and often my boys go to a friend’s house when I am very busy. I have found living in a secure estate has been a godsend as they are able to ride their bikes to the park or friend’s houses when I am busy and they are bored.
4. When you started your business 16 years ago, did you have an end goal in mind? Has that goal evolved or been met?
I have always been very ambitious and knew that whatever I did I wanted to be a leader in that field. I do believe I have achieved that and continue to strive to remain a leader and influencer in my field. I have been awarded Makeup Artist of the Year, have a published photography journal and continue to tick my goal boxes every year. I have another enormous goal that is about to be ticked so watch this space…
5. I love the Pregnancy and Baby Journal you created. How in the world did you find the time to squeeze that in?
My goal was always to be published by the age of 40 and at 35 I was out walking with my bestie and mentioned to her that I still wanted to attempt my journal and getting published and felt it was the right time to do it. So I put my mind to it and worked hard to have it ready within three months and was so incredibly blessed when it was signed immediately and published by Penguin Random House and is in its 4th print run. I have just received my contract for a second version!
6. Can you tell me a little about the charities/orphanages you support and how people can assist?
I have always been very involved in charity work especially for orphans and underprivileged children. I made a decision at the age of 17 that I would one day adopt a child and I did that ten years later. I really do feel that you cannot walk this life without seeing the plight of others and doing what you can to help. I always say “Do what you can with what you have – every bit matters.” I work with the Winnie Mabaso Foundation and their orphanage for girls named Ilamula House in Ennerdale. The organisation cares full-time for 25 girls and gives them opportunities to better their circumstance through love, care, education and a family environment. The girls are like sisters and it is so beautiful to see how well cared for they are. The organisation also feed the local community every Friday and they build new shacks, have established recycling plants, have opened a creche, play area, sewing club, gardening club and have had electricity installed in the informal settlement. The Winnie Mabaso Foundation is run by the most inspirational woman named Lisa Ashton and her incredible team. I urge you to look at their Facebook page , The Winnie Mabaso Foundation and get involved. We are always needing sponsorship, clothing (for anyone as what can’t be used for the girls is distributed to the community), food, fabric, volunteers etc.
7. Do you have any words of advice for the mums out there who are reading this and debating whether or not to take that leap to leave their jobs and follow their dreams?
My best advice would be to prepare yourself and have a good support structure. Know that you will be working twice as hard at times to get through everything but the flexibility will be worthwhile when you can schedule time to watch your child swim in the gala or sneak a movie with your children during working hours. You may have to juggle and work later but not having to ask a boss to be able to attend your child’s prize-giving or school concert is priceless! Just don’t jump into an industry already saturated, you will struggle. Rather be a trailblazer
Cathy is a living example of what can be achieved if you have clear goals and the focus to achieve them. As with the other Mompreneurs, she has inspired me to re-evaluate my goals and work harder at achieving them.
If you would like to be featured or you know someone who fits the Mompreneur role, you can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org