Women’s Month Mompreneur #6 – Amber Toerien – Educational Toy Stockist, Graphic Designer and Branding Specialist

In light of August being Women’s Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to promote some hard working mums. You could find the service provider you were looking for or be inspired to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of.

Q&A WITH AMBER

1. Tell me a little about yourself without including details of your family and work (it’s tough I know 😂)

(damn this is a hard question to answer)

I have lived in Cape Town all my life. I have been working since the age of 15 as a waitress and the hustle has not stopped since then. I had my son at the age of 18 and I had to study, work and find myself as a woman whilst raising my little boy alone.

Now I am 25 and it has been quite the adventure. I have, over the years, worked and studied via correspondence online in order to get ‘paper’ behind my name. I have my advanced diploma in events management coordination, Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety, Content Marketing Certification, E-Commerce – Introduction To Internet Marketing Strategies For Businesses Certification and a variety of other certificate courses I have completed. I am self-taught in Graphic Design as I have taken design from High School.

2. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

One, a little boy named Tristan who is 6 years old.

3. What is your side hustle? And when did you start?

My side hustle or ‘’daddy job’’ as I call it, Little Lion Toy Company started in 2017.

My son was starting grade one in a Northern Suburbs School that specializes in special needs. He has sensory processing disorder and ADHD, so a school with small classes and individual attention was what he needed. I required a larger income to accommodate the costly private school fees in order to provide my son with the best future possible.

Education is something I value a lot in life. I decided to just save up the deposit and initial start up fees the year prior and take the leap in the new year with nothing but a business idea, knowing there was a market and that I would need to be driven every day to make an entire extra salary to give my son access to the facilities and therapies the school can offer him.

Since then, every day it grows and I become connected to a new parent, who often also has a child with special needs. Due to my drive for starting Little Lion Toy Company I very much try to focus on the educational side. And I ‘’specialize’’ in products that I know I personally could have benefited from and been able to afford over the years with my son and his at home occupational therapy. The costs can become astronomical and as parents we want to be able to provide our children a chance to excel. This is exactly why I try to make sure that I can provide them with a variety of products at affordable prices. My educational range is priced to cater to the everyday South Africa parent who’s financial belt gets tightened month for month by price hikes.

4. What did you do before starting your own business AND what made you leave?

Before starting Little Lion Toy Company I worked for myself as a Branding Specialist and Graphic Designer. I still do this as my main job but it is also an up and down industry as most companies are in South Africa.

Brand Alchemy RSA I started in 2017 after I decided to leave the building industry where I was working for a Project Management and Design Company. I left because I felt like I needed to have more time for my son and doing this would allow me to work form home, save on afternoon child care costs and have more mom and son time. It was not an easy decision at the time giving up the financial benefits. But I really wanted to focus on my passion which is Branding, Sales and Design and most importantly have more time to be available for my son. I was over working an entire day only to come home and spend an hour with him before he is off to bed.

In a way I had to spoon feed myself the notion of ‘’do what you love and you will be happy’’ as it took months to actually take the leap of faith. But if I am to look back now, the moments I spend now with my son and the improvement with his education and therapy has made the hustle worth every second and just drives me more and more every day to grow my businesses.

5. How do you allocate your time between work and family? 

I work Mondays – Fridays but working for myself this allows me to be flexible.

I have the blessing of fetching my son straight from school, something I never received as a child. I have the opportunity to attend school events and functions because my time is my own. Time is what drives woman as Entrepreneurs I think because once we become Entrepreneurs we become driven to maximize our time with those who matter most, our families!

6. What have been the hardships of running your own business?

My biggest hardship has definitely got to be the lack of capital. I started Brand Alchemy RSA using nothing but my own qualifications and drive. And Little Lion Toy Company was started with R1500 worth of stock, a Facebook page, my branding experience and drive.

7. What have been the highlights?

More time with my son and I don’t feel like I am caught up in the rat race. I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life, many with whom I have a common interest, being a parent. But the best highlight of all has to be the feeling you get when you see your efforts pay off. Its not like before when you worked that 9-5 job. You are no longer lining someone else’s pockets. You are finally able to afford that extra mural or attend that birthday party with a present and not have to think about the fact that you have to work. Because being your own boss allows you decide just what is important and when. Being an entrepreneur gives us our time back!

 8. What advice do you have for other women who are on the cusp of taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

Do it! It’s not going to be easy at all, it’s going to be one of the hardest things you will ever do. But it will only be that way for a little while until you reap the benefits of the effort you put into your own business, essentially the effort that you put into yourself and your goals and dreams, which at this point is that you want more time and financial stability.

You have to just jump head first. The endless over thinking about the financial cons starting up when you don’t have capital available does not outway the pros of biting the bullet for a few months and giving it your everything. As long as  you have a product that you know has a target market you are good to go. Its just about knowing how to convert your interest into sales.

9. How can we get in touch with you?

Little Lion Toy Company

C:071 559 3309

E:littleliontoys@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littleliontoycompany/

My branding business:

https://www.facebook.com/brandalchemyrsa/

*****

Disclaimer:

The services or products mentioned in the above post cannot be vouched for by this blog. Please use your discretion when hiring service providers. You can also follow me over on Facebook and Instagram.

xox

Nadia

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