Parents in Business featuring Teacup Doodles

Parents in Business featuring Teacup Doodles

This week on my Parents in Business series I’m delighted to feature Toria who created and runs illustration business; Teacup Doodles along with local workshop under the name; Wonderful Me Workshops. The whole aim of doodling and setting up the workshops was to promote self-love and positive thinking in both adults and children, to support both mental health and creating a positive body image. 

Since Toria started the business she has seen great successes with some of the Coronation Street cast buying her doodles, and running a children’s workshop at Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival. Please all have a read of Toria’s story below and why it is so important to love what you do when setting up your own business. 

Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?

I started my illustration business Teacup Doodles from my kitchen table in 2017 selling bespoke family artwork. I’d just separated from my second husband and was at a particular low point in my life.  I’d suffered on and off from Alopecia since I was 9 years old and had finally lost all of my hair in my thirties.  My self-esteem and mental health were in tatters. I felt like I’d be failing spectacularly at life and wanted to feel proud of myself again. There was only one way to go and that was up! I’d always loved being creative but had worked in the TV industry and taken admin roles to fit in with motherhood. I realised needed to do something I enjoyed so I picked up my pencil and started drawing again. It was amazing for my mental health, it made me feel happy and I found that my artwork made other people happy too.

What were your motivations for setting up your business?

Within six months I was getting regular orders and even a couple of celebrity customers (Helen Flannagan and Cath Tyldesley from Coronation Street) which was a huge boost to my fledgling business. My Instagram followers tripled overnight. The illustration was going really well but I knew I wanted to get out from behind my sketchpad to run local workshops. It was a daunting prospect putting myself out there but the idea wouldn’t go away.  I created a workshop called the ‘Wonderful Me’ Doodle workshop which helps promote self-love and positive thinking.  I wanted to go back and help my 9 year old self and so many others like her.  Mental health and body image is such a huge problem in our society right now and the self-esteem issues I encountered are happening for so many people.
 
Wonderful Me Logo
 
The workshops side of the business really took off and I’ve started working with schools, clubs and charities running workshops for both children and adults. I’m now in the process of launching a separate website and product range to spread my ‘Wonderful Me’ message far and wide and I’m super excited to see where it goes.

How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?

Juggling work and home life isn’t always easy. I still work Monday to Thursday during school hours in an admin role for a TV company. As a single parent, giving up my job hasn’t been an option for me so far, therefore I work on my own business most evenings and weekends.  The up side to being a single parent is that I don’t have a partner at home to consider and my teenage son is now very independent. This enables me to work long hours at home but because I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like a job. I’m building a creative business with a social purpose, it’s something I can be proud of and that keeps me going.

Since setting up your business what has been your biggest success to date?

One of my biggest successes has been working with Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival recently running a children’s workshop at the Tatton Park event. It felt amazing to be part of such a positive event focused on well-being.  I’m also booked for Alopecia UK’s Big Weekend Conference at the end of September to run workshops and close the event by telling my story with doodle illustrations. I’m nervous and excited at the same time! If you’d have told me two years ago that I’d be standing on a stage in front of 500 people without a wig, I wouldn’t have believed you. 

Children with their doodles as part of the Wonderful Me Workshop

What’s your top tip for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?

My advice to anyone when looking to start a business would always be to do what you love!  Working for yourself is hard work but when it’s your passion, it keeps you motivated and excited. 
 
Thank you so much Toria for being part of my series, it has been an absolute pleasure to feature you on my blog.
 
You can find out more about Toria and Teacup Doodles by visiting the website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.
 
To find out more about the Wonderful Me Workshops head on over to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels. 
 
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: thepramshedblog@gmail.com. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Now Is The TimeRuth Wilson PR, and Honest Mum
 
Claire x

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