Hey YEG Boss Babes!!
I’m Kendra of Kendra Allen Design + Photography. I have a branding firm that specializes in helping small businesses look great online. I do brand design, brand photography, as well as consulting, content creation, and social media management. I am currently working towards launching more consulting services and workshops this year specifically for women who need clarity on their brand image.
After the birth of my first daughter, I found my passion in helping small local businesses and entrepreneurs after my time making hand printed baby apparel and selling at local markets. I was freelance designing on the side, but this was when I found my niche and dream clientele!
Being a mother is a whole circus act of it’s own. Having my first daughter right out of college, my drive to hone my craft of graphic design and photography pushed me into entrepreneurship.
You could say I gave up a traditional career at just 19 years old when I took my first gig as a self employed brand designer. I had been freelancing for the past three years while in school, and now, as a new mom, it was a perfect fit. My partner had a steady job which allowed me to stay home with my daughter. But this wasn’t without a whole lot of mixed emotions.
While in the depths of post-partum depression, I knew I needed a steady flow of creativity back in my life. Enter, House of Posie Design and Apparel. It was 2014, and this was before walmart, superstore, and all the rest started carrying cool kids clothes. Believe it or not, I couldn’t find anything I loved in stores. Target, sometimes, but then it went out of business here in Canada. I felt an indescribable need to start up my own clothing business. I had this crazy idea of doing things as handmade as possible.
After having been working on a computer almost exclusively while I learned Graphic Design, I needed to get my hands dirty again. Back in high school I had learned the art of lino cutting, also known as block printing. This allows oneself to print things by hand without the annoyance of burning screens with chemicals in the dark like screen printing. My favourite part about lino cutting was the unique look of an illustration carved into a block. To me, there was nothing more beautiful. Fast forward a year and a bit and I was expecting my second child. Another hard pregnancy called for me to slow down with the hand printing. While I adored the local handmade community that I discovered on Instagram and in local markets, my passion project quickly became too hard to maintain. And I knew that with two littles, I would never catch up. Next came a diagnosis of hypothyroidism when I was 19 weeks pregnant. I had to listen to my body and pull things back a bit. But, I couldn’t stop creating. I learned that already.
Around this time I decided it was time to finally take my Graphic Design and Photography a bit more seriously and at least make an instagram account to showcase my work. After my two year old would fall asleep, and my ‘morning sickness’ would subside, I stayed up late laying in bed working away on my laptop. My body would rest, but I was still fulfilling my need to create. With my clothing business for babies and toddlers, I realized how much I LOVED helping handmade businesses with their businesses.
I joined the local chapter of Tuesday Together by The Rising Tides Society, and became fascinated with creative entrepreneurship. I was enthralled with all of the people I had met both online and in the community. And I knew I wanted to help these people grow their businesses.
I started photographing friends and making logos for local brands and was finally putting my long-time love of brand design to work! I had been doing the odd job of logo design over the past couple years, but I decided to take it a bit more seriously and go after the work I wanted.
Now, I am in my 6th year as an entrepreneur, and my 4th year as a mother; with my second daughter being born just a year ago. After 6 years, I may have finally come to terms with who I truly am. An entrepreneur by blood. I am still figuring everything out as I go, but I can feel that this is the year for me to finally align my goals for my business with reality! Being a mother and working from home (although by choice), isn’t easy. And I commend all who do it! I treasure this time I have had to figure out who I am as a person and raise my babies. Now, on a new path as a single mother, the #momboss game has shifted a bit.
Instead of juggling a million balls at once, I am now able to take my time with my children and dedicate it fully to them. And then once they are with their dad, I can focus on my work. It makes it so my work schedule is a bit all over the place, but it works for now! So what have I learned from all of this? Let me break it down for you.
1. One thing you can be sure of, you never know what the future will be like. So ride the wave, have big huge goals, but, be willing to adapt to the ever changing world. For example, social media has exploded since I was in school, so I have now added social media management and content creation to my expanding list of services! Being adaptable and keeping up with the trends is what will allow you to make this all work.
2. If you have a kid like my three year old, you won’t get any work done until they are in bed. Most times I pass out at the same time as them, so ya, its an every day struggle! She is currently sitting on my lap drinking a yogurt drink and my one year old is standing up in her high chair. Don’t worry, multi tasking quickly becomes a mom bosses best skill.
3. Indoor playgrounds and kid cafes are amazing for meetings with fellow mom bosses. Edmonton is totally rocking it lately with kid friendly cafe’s! They are popping up every where. And I am talking super chic adorable places with little play areas in the corner. Awesome instagram stories of fancy AF lattes, here I come.
4. Non work related, but if you are a mom-to-be, expect to have to sacrifice your cute styled coffee table and anything under, like, 3 feet for years to come. Thrifted and pre worn items make the vandalism of children slightly less noticeable and also less heart breaking when you haven’t spent a ton of money on it. Is shabby chic still cool??
5. The soundtrack to my life is baby bum youtube nursery rhymes. Now that I don’t have my kids half the time, I am trying to bring music back into my life that is actually made for people above the age of four. I am looking for playlist recommendations and suggestions on your fave vinyl records!!
6. Something I tell people all the time is, rarely take me seriously. If these random thoughts make me sound bitter, I am absolutely not. I like to find humour in life and I suggest you should too! Getting out of your head and just laughing about the ridiculousness of life seriously helps.
7. Mom brain is real… and there should be a support group for that.
8. I may forget a pen for our meeting… but I’ll always have diapers on hand.
9. Accept the ebbs and flows of work flow, and of your own wellness. I have personally struggled with a lot of health issues and drastic life changes likely, and it is ok to slow down. Slowing down is good.
10. Enjoy the little things. My favourite part about being a mother is being able to live vicariously through my children’s eyes. The taste of a bubble gum lollipop and the way the rain smells. One of my goals for 2018 is to embrace my inner child. We are all just pretending to be adults anyway, so why not let go of it all once in a while and just act like kids again. There’s nothing better. I would like to finish this final point off with one of my favourite quotes: “the creative adult is the child who survived.”
Photo Credit | @_sydneydawn