We have many working mothers in our MiC community, whether as employees in companies or self-employed and running their own business. All have one thing in common: trying to achieve a harmonious work/life balance under sometimes very stressful circumstances.
Being your own boss however, has the added pressure of financial responsibility – when there’s no monthly income guarantee the daily challenges seem greater. On the other hand it is endlessly rewarding to be fulfilling your dreams and ambitions, and these mumpreneurs often are an inspiration to others.
Our interview blog puts the spotlight on these entrepreneurial women among us: who are they, what do they do and how do they do it.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce Stella Komninou Arakelian, (MiC nickname ‘Stellina’), the talented mind behind Stellina Creations, an illustration, card and graphic design business based in Nicosia.
Hi Stella. How and when did you come up with the idea for your business?
Hi Carine, Thank you for giving a chance to tell my story. I’ve been thinking about doing my own thing with graphic design for a good number of years now, but only found the courage to start my degree 3 years ago. It offers me great pleasure to lose myself in my creativity. My son has been my main inspiration and my illustrations are turning more and more into baby and kid’s art for christenings, birthdays, stationery, art prints, mummy calling cards and anything you might think of. I do still of course do grown up stuff, like business cards and flyers, or the occasional free press cover, but I still find that kids’ illustrations are much more fun! Ideally, I would love to illustrate children’s books.
What business achievement are you most proud of?
Well, first off, I am proud of managing to get things off the ground. LOL! I pride myself in the quality of my work. For me, the most important thing is ensuring that my clients are 100% happy with their product, whether that is a christening card or box, a personalisable set of notebooks or a painting or art print for a loved one.
A lot of new start-up businesses run out of steam when the going gets tough. Was there ever a time when you doubted yourself?
Are you kidding?! All the time! Lol! But I just keep going. Plus, I love what I do. It’s not just a job for me. It’s my passion!
Being your own boss means there are no mentors to learn from. Who do you go to for business advice?
My husband is always my first choice. Especially for the technical stuff. He is excellent at that. My professors are quite helpful with the production-related details. And finally, my friends and family are my pool of marketing research, I guess! So, to sum up, I search for my advice everywhere!
What have you learned about yourself since starting your business?
That I’m pretty stubborn! Lol! Which is not the worst of things. You need to keep at it if you are ever going to get anywhere!
Do you feel you have achieved a good work/life balance?
I think it needs a lot more balancing to be honest. My time management could do with some fine tuning, but I do try to give all special persons in my life the required attention (and maybe a little extra).
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘Mumpreneur’ starting out today, what would it be?
Never give up, never stop trying and never underestimate good timing (and a fair amount of luck).
What are your future plans for your business?
One step at a time, but I am always trying new ideas and try to give my clients a variety of new products.
Thank you very much for your time. Best wishes for continued success and happiness, both in your professional and private life.
Thank you and same to you.