Welcome to FJ's special feature on local women-owned businesses! We are thrilled to have joined hands with some inspirational brands and we are so excited to share their stories with you.
1. What is the name of your business and how long has it been around?
Hello! Im Sam Oakley, I founded Lovebaby products (2017) and Sam O Interiors (2018)
2. How did the idea for your business come about?
I was suspended from my previous job with no obvious reason- except pregnancy! This was an absolute shock to both my heart, brain and family! It was a hidden blessing though, I promptly sat down (*pregnancy no filter helped) - wrote my first recipe food intro book for Lovebaby, launched Lovebaby and then subsequently Sam O Interiors. At the time I had already been making up changing mats and other bits for friends and friends of friends and having access to gorgeous fabrics as a decorator decided to give parents the opportunity to have bespoke custom items that are like no other!
3. Can you provide us with a description of your business?
Lovebaby provides custom made, bespoke baby and toddler goods and at Sam O Interiors we provide a holistic décor/design service from the ground up.
4. Who is the person(s) behind your business and what is your background (ie education, work experience, life experience)?
I originally started studies in Chiropractic, which then, I was very passionate about but after a few years I realised I really needed a creative outlet. I took a break and went backpacking through SE Asia for 4 months then worked at a Game Lodge for Richard Branson for a few years. After that I settled really comfortably into the Décor/Design industry. 16 years later my own passion business was born- Lovebaby, named after my daughter Ava Love and then Sam O Interiors followed suit.
5. Do you have a team behind the scenes or are you a one woman show? If you have a team, please share a little with us about them?
I have a very dedicated right hand Momma (left hand too most days) Pauline, she is the grease in both my businesses (and elbows). Pauline is a Momma of 2 sweet boys and juggles work and them like a pro! She is my rock and business everything! I honestly could not do it all without her…
6. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? How do you balance work and family?
The day I learned that there is a time to switch off and disconnect was the day everything became a little easier! I was working in hospital after giving birth to my second, my son. I can’t tell you looking back that I just wish I worked a little less, but unfortunately having your own businesses is like keeping 2 elephants as pets…the minute you take your eye off the ball-bam! For myself, I have a no phone, when with the kids policy. Playtime is playtime and I announce my work time out loud and remove myself (*laughing cause we all know that lasts 5 minutes before Snacks Mooom or wipe my bum!) well I do try my best! The juggle and struggle is real but I love it.
7. What motivates you?
My biggest motivation is my family, my husband is my unwaivering support and strength! He is also self employed so we tag team a lot to try and get a bit done each day. Having my own hours is the biggest blessing so we can pop to the park or do arts and crafts whenever we like! The time spent with my kiddies is something I will cherish forever.
8. How do you define success?
When you can lie in bed with a smile - knowing you have pushed yourself and done your best!
9. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Gosh, I think it was more the realisation - hey! I got 2 work babies and they all mine!
10. What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love innovating and creating, all in my own time, being an “mompreneur” I can do all that and more and if the wind changes slightly, I can steer any direction I choose!
11. What are your future aspirations for this business?
Lovebaby is soon to go international! Very exciting times! I am working with other Moms all over to build my brand…Sam O Interiors- my biggest wish is to design and decorate super yachts…dream! I love doing hotels and that would just be the next best for me!
12. If you had a magic wand, which are the three things you would change in the world?
Gosh tricky question…so many options! Prejudice/Racism, Hunger, Lack of education (on numerous topics) and of course COVID-19 (*eye roll))
Facebook Handle: https://www.facebook.com/LOVEbabySamOakley
Instagram Handle: https://www.instagram.com/lovebaby_products/
Disclaimer: please note that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the owner of this platform and associated brand.