They say if you want something done, give it to a busy person.  That’s me.  I’m the busy person.  I don’t say this to be smug or to be proud, it’s just who I am.  I move at a million miles an hour and I constantly have multiple things on the go.  I was never going to be someone who sat still for long, and I’ve always believed in creating your own ideal world.  That’s been the basis for owning my own businesses and that’s the thing that drives me.

I currently own two businesses – Alare Weddings, and Bear & Moo.  I also work part time, have a wonderful husband, Richard, and 2 boys, Regan (3) and Hadley (almost 2).  My passion for owning businesses is about creating our future, working in a way that means I can be around for my boys, and getting our mortgage paid off as quickly as possible so we can live a life of flexibility.  I don’t believe in get rich quick schemes (although I wouldn’t say no to winning the lottery!).  I believe in hard work, sleepless nights, and having fun along the way.

Alare (pronounced Ah-lair), was born in 2012 when I was working in a job I enjoyed but wasn’t getting enough creative freedom from.  I’ve always loved weddings and always wanted to be in the industry.  I didn’t want to work every weekend though, nor did I want my hours to be stipulated by someone else.  So working for myself seemed the obvious choice.  I made up the name based on my sibling’s initials and threw myself into the wedding planning industry head first.  I had minimal experience but a lot of passion and a ‘fake it til you make it’ attitude.  It worked.  

The biggest success for me has come from networking and doing my job well.  I believe word of mouth is such a huge factor in business today, so every time I work a wedding, I need to be putting the best version of myself out there, and the best experience for the couple and their guests.

Through networking, I took the leap to become a marriage celebrant.  I had friends who were celebrants and they were fully booked so they suggested I apply.  I was successful and have now officiated over 50 weddings.  I truly love my job.

I officiated my very first wedding when I was pregnant.  I had horrific morning sickness, and the day before the rehearsal I was on IV fluids.  I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to pull it off, but thankfully endorphins kicked in and I nailed it.  I have pretty bad pregnancies, I’m sick for a lot of it, zero energy, the usual.  

With my first son, hubby and I decided to go on a babymoon, 8 weeks before he was due.  We went to Auckland for one night (about an hour and a half from home), and had a magical day.  We ate delicious food, walked along the beach, swam in the hotel pool, and then that night, after we climbed into bed, my waters broke.  What followed was a little bit chaotic and totally unexpected, but Regan decided he was ready to meet the world, so the next day, we had our wee boy.  And ‘wee’ is right.  He was 3lb 3oz of perfection.  We spent 6 weeks at the hospital with him (we transferred back to Waikato part way through) before we could bring him home.

It was such huge surprise that I was obviously very unprepared work wise.  Thankfully I had finished my weddings for the season, but the couples for the following season got some very surprised emails apologizing that I wouldn’t be in touch for a wee while because of the early arrival.  It showed me the importance of being prepared and having a plan B.  Things don’t always go the way we expect!

With baby number 2 we were prepared for him to arrive early.  So much so that I booked a wedding for my due date (friends- and I had a back-up booked!) because we assumed he would be here weeks before.  He arrived 3 weeks early via emergency c-section (footling breech and the cord was around his neck).  But yes, this nutter decided to go ahead with the wedding.  My darling husband drove me there, I fed the baby, he wore him while he slept, and then drove me home again after the ceremony.  I loved it.  It wasn’t what I planned, and I wouldn’t do it again, but it was such a special day to be a part of.

The difference between 1 and 2 kids has been huge for me.  I had Postnatal Depression the second time around and struggled to find a balance.  I’ve realized that for me, I need to keep moving, I need some independence and something that’s just mine.  I need to feel I’m contributing and I need to keep my brain working.  My weddings have been amazing, but there is also a downtime.  Winter weddings are few and far between (although I wish more people would do a fireplace and mulled wine winter wedding!), so with a little bit of free time on my hands, I launched my second business.

Bear & Moo came out of a conversation with my husband about wanting to pay off our mortgage as early as possible.  To do that, we needed more income.  He works full time and makes a really good salary, so if we were going to make more, that kind of had to come from me.  I decided that I could import cloth nappies, because we have used them and loved them, and I think there’s a market for reusable products that are more affordable.  That way people can give them a go without worrying about wasting or losing too much money.

So one Monday I thought that could be a good idea.  Five weeks later, the website was live, the stock was on it’s way and we were away laughing.   I don’t do things by halves!  

It’s been a slow burner, but that’s ok.  As I said earlier, I don’t believe in get rich quick schemes.  Bear & Moo is a bit of a passion project.  As a family, we are conscious of our impact on the environment.  We recycle, we reduce our waste, we compost and we try and use as little plastic as possible.  Reusable bags are normal for us, as are cloth nappies.  But I also find that some information out there can be very overwhelming for new Mums.  Bear & Moo has aimed to make it simple, easy and stress-free.  We started shipping to Australia too, when my best friend announced she had friends looking for cloth, and I realized that our price point was lower so that would make up for the added shipping.

When it comes to both business and life, my motto is to say yes as much as possible.  Enjoy experiences, try new things, travel, laugh and create a life that works for you and your family.  It doesn’t matter what you do each day, so long as you’re not hurting others.  Be passionate about making yourself happy.  Look after one another.  And don’t be a dick.

Nothing in life is easy, there will always be others that do what you do, but business is about relationships, about being a decent person, and about doing things that make you happy.  Because after all, that’s the best thing you can aim for.  Happiness.

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