Hope you are all doing good. I am back with yet another mom, another mompreneur who multi-tasks manages her home, office, and kids. While the last mompreneur was an exceptional doodle artist, the mompreneur featured today brings home happiness in the form of books and toys. Meet Melani Rayen, Founder of Little Fingers at Work. Melani is a mom to two little munchkins, blogger, and a mompreneur. Little fingers at work is a one-stop spot for wooden toys, imported wooden toys, pre-loved books. Melani also blogs about parenting, activities done by her kids.
Let’s see what Melani has to say about her mompreneur journey.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Born in a small town and living in a big city, I have enjoyed the best of both worlds.
An engineer by qualification, blogger by choice and an entrepreneur by chance. Mother of two lovely boys who keep me smiling in the midst of busy days.
How did the idea of LFaW come up? What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
My dad built a successful business after the factory he worked closed. So call it natural inclination for me to start Little Fingers at Work. I quit my IT job a year and a half after I had my first child, out of habit I kept researching for educational toys and articles for my child on the Internet. Found loads of learning toys, but most of them were expensive, as a single income family I felt we couldn’t afford. I wanted to make these toys, activities, learning tools affordable, also wanted to reach a broader section of mothers. That is how Little Fingers at Work came into existence.
How tough or easy was it for you to decide to be an entrepreneur?
The decision was easy. ‘Own your decision’ is the mantra. You will be answerable only to you whether it is going to be a success or failure. The other reason is I never wanted to give up without trying. I made a pact with myself ‘I will try and keep trying till I make it.’ 2 years later here I am.
How has your journey been? What did you enjoy the most being an entrepreneur?
The journey was never a smooth sail. It was about making mistakes, fixing, learning, unlearning and finding new ways to make things work. It is a constant Work in Progress mode. Balancing with the personal life and making the business thrive was a lesson worth learning. A journey worth taking.
What is your morning routine? What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Start the day with a nice cup of tea in my balcony. I declutter my house and work desk. I can’t think straight if space is messy, so that takes top priority. The next will be to write down the checklist for the day. A planner in place makes it workable for me. I quickly connect with the team to discuss the day’s action plan, check my email for customer reach out and make all critical calls. That is how most of my days pan out.
How do you juggle between being a mom and an entrepreneur?
I am an entrepreneur by chance. Honestly, the juggling act I have to perform was something I was always worried about. I take it one day at a time and stick to the plan I had written down to the T. Yes there are still days where the program goes out the window, those days I call Free Flow days. We are in a nuclear setup, so my husband and I take turns in managing the household. We try to respect each other’s work time, while one person is at it the other person will be spending time with the kids. This way we both are able to spend time with the kids. Weekends are strict ‘No work day ‘ dedicated to the family and household.
Do you get time for yourself? What is your mantra to relax and unwind?
Yes, when my kids have gone to bed. When I get ‘me time,’ it is books I get lost in. Lately, I have taken a liking to photography, so I click random pics – I am no selfie person, Netflix also helps me unwind ‘The Crown’ is the flavor of the season.
What is that one thing/person that keeps to motivated?
Little Fingers at Work getting positive feedback and encouragement from fellow moms helps me rejuvenate. When Parents reach out to me seeking suggestions, sharing the pictures of their little ones having fun with toys & books from Little Fingers at Work store, fellow moms wanting to collaborate on parenting forums, through all these and many such interactions I learn a lot as a parent. Such exchange of ideas, values, and stories keeps me motivated.
Do you have meltdowns? How do you handle such situations
YES. Internet at times becomes overwhelming, given I run the eCommerce business I can’t stay away from it entirely. With time I have learned to embrace and deal with it better. During meltdowns I take a quick break and focus on simple things, order take away, bake with my kids, or just step out to go to the park. A calmer mind helps me make better decisions.
Whom do you attribute your success to? Why?
My elder son. He was the reason I went exploring. His need for learning gave me a purpose. He still continues to keep me on the heels to come up with new ideas. I am also thankful for the support from my husband and my parents, for without them I would not have traveled this far.
What is your advice to people who want to be entrepreneurs?
Have a long-term vision. Be sure not to be dejected in the initial phase of struggle. Understand and assess the risk, plan accordingly. Calculate the return on investment if you are in it for the long run. Find a pillar of support & strength within you and around you. With all this in place surprise yourself.
Thank you, Melani, for being a part of this series. I have always loved shopping from Little Fingers at Work. You are indeed an inspiration for all the moms out there.
Thank you all for reading #mwiseries.
Until next time,