Karen from Simply Fun Families Spilled it…
In Your Dream Q & A
Meet Karen a busy mom of three who is balancing life, business and family as she follows her dreams.
Grab a tea and take a ” Me” moment, you deserve it
Tell us a bit about yourself, hobbies, interests, family, kids, husband, wife, pets, and your home life.
I grew up with a very large extended family that played a big role in my everyday life – grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. I always knew that I wanted a large family, and was blessed to meet my hubby when I was just 18 and still in high school. I am the ultimate planner and he has always been very spontaneous, so we are a good balance for each other. I became a Chartered Accountant, but I knew all the while that I would leave the corporate world to stay home and spend my days raising my children.
I have now been a stay at home mom to my 3 children for the past 12 years and cannot imagine a more wonderful way to spend my life. I live in a small town where my family has built many treasured friendships through dinner clubs, book clubs, and the families we have met at my children’s school and sporting activities. I am blessed to share lots of time with my wonderful (and so supportive) parents every week. I love to have a creative past time and have thoroughly enjoyed adventures in ceramics, quilting, and most recently upholstery.
Now it seems that all my life experiences, and especially my passion for being a mother, have become intertwined in this very new and very exciting phase of life when I am exploring a wonderful opportunity to start my own business, Simply Fun Families.
Your 20 second sales pitch? AKA elevator pitch…sell us!
Simply fun Families is all about making memories with our children and sharing ideas for having fun along the way. Our first product offering is called 25 days of Christmas. It is a boxed set that I hope will inspire parents to make time for family fun each and every day in December as Christmas approaches. I have delivered this fun program for several years with my own family, and they LOVE it!! Over the years, I have worked on tailoring activities to suit our busiest days, and to make the most of our available weekend days for bigger adventures. The kit offers tips on how to deliver the daily activities with ease in spite of the busy pace we all find ourselves in during the holiday season. In my home, we have actually turned finding each day’s activity card into a daily mini treasure hunt! It is fantastic fun that literally requires only a few minutes each day to deliver.
Each set includes
- 35 cards containing simple, festive activities to choose from
- 5 blank cards to personalize for your own family traditions
- Dated envelopes for December 1st to 25th to keep you organized
- Suggestions for organizing and delivering a month of holiday fun for your family!
” Simply Fun Families is bringing families a chance to add some extra family time around the holiday’s. This Christmas game tradition will have your family building a new Christmas tradition into your home. “
What inspired you start your business? How did you come up with the concept?
This spring, my husband casually commented that I should consider developing various product offerings for families on the run who would like to fit some fun into their busy, everyday lives. He thought that perhaps some of the fun things that we do in our family, which have now become much loved traditions, might appeal to other parents searching to boost the fun factor in their own homes. That was the seed that germinated in my mind through the spring and summer. Over the past few weeks I have started up a new company called Simply Fun Families.
What have been some of your major successes in business?
When I envisioned how Simply Fun Families would roll out, I initially expected to sell products through retail outlets. As I discussed my product ideas and target market with various friends and supporters, they guided me toward an online, web-based sales channel in conjunction with the retail avenue. For me, this was really a leap of faith, because although I am a very happy online shopper, I had no experience at all in how to attract online purchasers who would be willing to push the “buy now” button on my own website.
Well, this past week it actually happened … multiple times! What a thrill!! I had been telling friends that when I receive my first online order, I will really know that something BIG is happening. Receiving that first order was every bit as surprising and gratifying as I had expected it to be.
Along the same lines, I would consider the connections I have made with several entrepreneurial bloggers such as Tammy to be another huge success. The support, encouragement and wisdom that have been shared with me by these wonderful women has thoroughly inspired me. It encourages me to keep moving forward and chasing my dreams.
If there was one piece of advice you could give about running a successful business, what would it be?
My best advice is to surround yourself with people who care about you, inspire you, and have the experience and knowledge to support you in making your dream a reality. We all have our own areas of expertise, but we cannot be experts in everything. For me, seeking out the people who could fill in the pieces of the puzzle that were not my specialty has turned out to be not only educational, but also inspiring! I am so blessed to have found people to work with who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge, connections, and experience with me. It has made this path so much easier than it would have otherwise been.
Also, many of my closest friends have jumped in with offers to help me get started, sharing their personal passions and gifts. A day building my 25 Days of Christmas kits is such a delight when I am doing it with a friend or two. Their encouragement and support really fills me up, and it helps me keep the home and family juggling act going!
What is next for your business? Any secrets you want to share?
Come January, I will be busy planning for my second product offering with a target launch of late spring 2014. This next product will be aimed at planning for summer fun in a way that really gets the children involved. It is another home-grown idea that my kids always look forward to as the school year draws to a close and they start seeing signs of it around the house.
Do you have a motivational quote, you would love to share?
Yes, I have many inspirational and motivational quotes that I love. I have found countless wonderful insights in the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson, and I recommend it to everyone.
My biggest inspiration comes from Katrina Kenison in her memoir on motherhood called “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”. I treasure so many of the insights she shares in this book, because they remind me time and again where I want my priorities to be focused. Here is one of my favourite quotes. It reminds me to stop and pay attention every day…
“And then, later, I’ll welcome the sound of tires crunching on the gravel drive, the thud of a heavy backpack hitting the floor. I will notice the way my younger son walks, tilted forward a little … I will listen to every note that sings forth from our piano tonight, will let my heart overflow with music, knowing that next year, we will keep the piano closed. I will proofread an English essay…. give a back rub, put ice-cream bowls in the dishwasher, remember to say good night. It would be so easy to forget to love this life, to just go through the motions, doing what needs to be done, as if it’s all going to last forever.
And I need only look into my sons’ faces, changing still from the boys they were to the men they are becoming, to know that time rushes on, whether we pay it any heed or not … And I remind myself : The life we have right here, right now, is the best life there is.”
Katrina Kenison, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”
What in life brings you happiness?
Family and friends are definitely the most important element to my happiness in life. I am a person who always has several projects and often a creative passion on the go, so my regular days are busy and often overflowing with to-do lists. While I love the fulfillment of a busy life, when I think about what brings me HAPPINESS it is the time I deliberately carve out to share with family away from all the business of our regular lives. My favourite thing to do is rent a cottage with my family for a week and have family friends pop in to share a night or two with us. I love to make special one on one time for important people in my life…. going for a simple walk with my hubby for 20 minutes is a special treat in an ordinary day. I love taking my son shopping – just the two of us. I have made an annual tradition of spending a day with my daughter at a local studio tour where we both find wonderful inspirations in art. I love walking beside my youngest daughter as she rides her bike up and down the street.
I am always trying to fit more of these moments into our busy lives. It is not easy sometimes, but it is always so worth it
Country or City girl?
This is a fun question to answer. I remember my grandparents watching re-runs of a 1960’s TV series called Green Acres … turns out that my sister and I are just like the sisters in that old show. I am definitely the country girl. I love living in a small town where forests abound, you have to drive for 1/2 an hour to reach a mall, and there are many opportunities to pause and chat with people as I do errands around town through the day. When I go for a jog, it is not uncommon for me to pass by horses or cows within ½ an hour from home. I grew up in the city, but have fallen in love with small town living and plan to be right where I am now for many decades to come!
My sister, on the other hand, is living in the biggest, brightest city in the world, right in the middle of Manhattan, New York. She has been there for 12 years now. It is just nutty to have 2 sisters landing in such opposite places and each loving it, but it sure makes for a huge change of pace for each of us to enjoy when we visit each other!
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Simply Fun Families is Generous
One In R Dream winner will WIN 25 days of Christmas, just in time for Christmas.
Canada Only, Ends November 22 2013.
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