Friday, November 16

{Interview with} Ann of Beautiful Revelry

Hello friends,

Here we are today with the come-back of my {Interview with} monthly column! I wasn't able to continue it after we moved to Japan last May therefore it's been a while. I am very glad to resume it today with... Ann Thomas of Beautiful Revelry

We've known each other for quite a while now - a bit more than two years or so as I used to contribute to The Handmade Hullabaloo on Ann's previous blog {Little Red Bus}. Funny fact about us both: we have never met in person! 

Welcome on ECStudio Ann!

ECS: Ann, please kindly introduce yourself, your work, where are you currently living and anything else you would like to share about your background and your family?
Hello there! I’m Ann Thomas - a self-confessed inspiration seeker, I’m constantly on the look for all things that inspire me to be a better person in every way I can be.
Born and bred in ultra-modern Singapore, I took a huge leap from being a fast-paced lifestyle, full-time working, party-animal, single-lady to being a wife, mother, and business lady this year. Well, it started back in 2009 where I laid out my lifeplan and the then-boyfriend who loved my plan so much he knew he had to propose!
So began my journey to enrich my life. I quit my job as a pre-school teacher, attempted starting a business with zero knowledge, got married, had a baby, bought an apartment, re-focused on my business strategy and bang! Here we are.

ECS: You are a mother of one little boy who doesn’t attend pre-school yet. How does a typical day look like?
Do you follow a strict schedule (hmm...) or do you go with the flow?

That’s a tough question! Heh. My son’s just turned 20 months, and I honestly say I have never met a toddler with as much energy as he possesses - and this coming from an ex-preschool teacher. He’s an energy bar, and since I am his primary caregiver, he’s also very close to me.

I try my best to follow a schedule, although we do bend the rules on days that he doesn’t feel up to it. My parents brought me up military style, and that has made me do everything within my power to ensure my son has a childhood.

Plus, I am ultimately blessed with a husband who is both easy-going and understanding. He always tries to see things from my points of view, and tries very hard to accommodate my schedule and plans.

My day usually begins with a groggy kiss from my mister before he leaves for work. Keith, if I’m lucky sleeps in for another 10-15 minutes where I grab a quick shower and rush through my emails and orders received via my iPhone. Once he’s up, I start with the prepping of breakfast and morning routines. I make it a point to enjoy a slow and leisurely breakfast with him.
We have a shared space - playroom+home office. So soon as breakfast is done, and clean up is over, he plays ‘with’ me, while I’m bustling around the room packing orders. This usually takes about an hour, which is almost always interrupted with calls for cuddles and kisses - but who’s complaining?
Once I’m all packed, we throw my mail bag into his stroller and head to the neighbourhood park for outdoor play. After play, we’d both stroll to the mall - where thankfully a post office is located! - and drop off all orders. The post office has grown to be a favourite place for Keith, as the staff now know him by name and love playing with him. He of course enjoys the attention.
After post office, it’s a quick trip to the grocers and back home. Keith gets to watch Sesame Street or Veggie Tales ( his favourite cartooons ) in the living room while I prepare lunch. Again, I’ll have my meal with him, and after which he’s off to lalaland ( naptime ) for about two hours - on good days that is.
That precious two hours is a race against time where I work through my To Do list for the day. Once he’s up, it’s tea break, a little more cartoons - where I finish up whatever work I had left hanging - and some organized play.
By early evening, I would have exhausted myself from ideas on how to entertain him, and he’s usually left to self-entertain while I sneak and reply to emails and/or work from my iPhone while playing with him.
The countdown to 7:30pm (where Daddy’s finally home! ) often begins at around 6pm, and once Daddy’s home it’s freedom for me! We’d have a family dinner, after which my lovely husband helps with Keith’s bath, clean up and brings the boy down for some Daddy-Dude time alone. On alternate days, I’d join them about an hour later where we’d buckle Keith up in my stroller and have some pretend alone-time where we’d catch up with each other.

ECS: What gets you up and running every day?
My zest for life. I love living! I know that sounds so vague, but that well sums up my primary inspiration point. I have very few friends, family, and hobbies - and those whom and which I do hold close - I treasure them passionately. This helps motivate me to be a better person, everyday. 

ECS: What do you wish you would have known before being a mom? Would you have done things differently business wise?

I wish I’d known how difficult it was to function without the ‘village’ !! My husband and I are the only caregivers to our son - and as much as we enjoy every bit of it, I’d be lying if I say that it has not affected our marriage and lifestyle. We greatly miss those moments we took for granted.

Business wise, I wish I had jumped straight into Beautiful Revelry instead of dwelling on the ideas for almost 2 years before I finally got down to it!

ECS: We have collaborated in the past over on Little Red Bus for the Handmade Hullabaloo, which was a very beautiful experience for me. What made you switch to party planning, and do you enjoy the ride so far (it looks amazing from my point of view)?
The party planning business idea came to me early 2010, right around the time of my wedding. By then, Little Red Bus was almost a year old, and I was quickly losing interest in it. Professionally, I was both trained and qualified in Early Childhood. So it made ‘perfect sense’ that my business should be centered around children. I kept trying to put away the ‘party business’ idea, thinking it was merely my excitement over planning for my wedding, and it would be a stupid move. Thankfully, I caved and jumped ship! I’m enjoying every minute of Beautiful Revelry!

FREE Christmas printable by Beautiful Revelry {HERE}

ECS: Any future plans you would like to share with my readers? what will you have in store for all of us in 2013?
I’m looking into careful collaborations. 2013 will see Beautiful Revelry stepping out even more from the online world, and be in the flesh. Look out for more workshops, parties, demos and such!
As for our catalog, aside from more pretty products ( yay! ) we’ll be introducing some in-house designs and bespoke services. I’m also looking to evolve the blog to incorporate it well into our shop, where it’ll equip just about anyone with ideas and tips on how to indulge in craft projects.

NEW! fun and colorful pompom garland {here}

ECS: I am avidly following every step you take, always wondering what you will come up with next. Where did you get this business/ marketing 6th sense? I don’t remember reading that you attended a business school?
Aw. Thanks, Marie, that’s truly flattering and humbling. Back when I started Little Red Bus, I did spend lots of time reading business and marketing books and blogs. Over the years though, I’ve stopped reading them - especially with the business keeping me busy and on my toes these couple of months. I do wish I have more time to read and catch up with the new trends and ideas!
Quite honestly, this ‘6th sense’ is truly God. I love spending time meditating and worshipping, something which I do anytime I feel the calling to. I trial and error a lot with my business strategies and ideas, but I rest in knowing that there’s a higher power who looks over me and will see me through according to His riches and glory!

ECS: I am in awe with your graphic design skills, and receiving your newsletter is never boring as it’s always pretty. Any tips or advice for people like me who want to start learning some graphic design? Which tools do you recommend
Thanks once again! Although credit here goes to LOADS of creative people out there. I love design! I fell hook, line, and sinker with GIMP when my husband introduced me to it back in 2010. To date, I have never enrolled in any professional design courses - because truth be told, I hate ‘studying’ - I’m more of a project-based self-led person.
I’m still really rotten in Photoshop, and while I do have it, I find myself leaning on GIMP more often. Google is my teacher, and sites such as Interest, Dribble have been my guru. I also refer to Colourlovers everytime I need inspiration for new colour patterns and combinations.
Aside from these, I love botanical illustrations, with my favourite being the ever-so-popular Rifle Paper & Co. It’s a struggle not to copy Anna’s style! Heh. So I try my best to allow her to inspire me and lead me to creating my own works. 

ECS: As a supply seller on Etsy, what do you like most about this platform? Do you find it easier to sell supplies on Etsy rather than handmade goods?
I did try my hand at selling handmade goods, and yes in my case, supplies have been easier to sell. That is possibly because there is ah-mazing talent out there on Etsy. Talent I can’t even come close to!

Next I have asked Ann to pick up six favorites gifts to give or receive - on Etsy of course! Handmade gifts have more meaning and are very personal {that's my humble and personal opinion - Marie}.

from left to right, top to bottom:

ECS: Last, will you decorate your home for Christmas? Is there a family tradition that you love to follow as well? Please share.
We don’t have a home, yet. And given that our apartment will only be ready in 2014, Christmas is once again hanging over our heads. We do have plans for simple DIY decorations around our tiny space to set the mood for little Keith and ourselves, although I guess I’ll be holding myself back once again. All I can say is that I’ll probably go OD on Christmas for 2014!

My favorite part of Christmas (after Jesus) is family traditions. My parents weren’t big on family traditions, but I love the idea. Until we move, it’ll be simple - staying up till 12am, PJs, hot cocoas, unwrapping of presents, fairy lights, Christmas carols, air-conditioner ( we’re in Singapore! ).

I foresee our Christmas traditions getting more special as Keith grows up, and our family hoping adds another little one - but it will of course be centered love, faith, hope, and the true meaning of Christmas.

{... the end...}

Voila, I hope you enjoyed this interview. I am very happy to have had Ann over on ECStudio blog today, and I hope she inspired you to get started on your own business venture! If you would like to catch up with her, there are many ways to do so:

:: Ann is extending a special 10% discount to all my blog readers, Twitter or Facebook followers. Enter code ECS at check out to enjoy your discount. Code will expire on November 23, 2012. No minimum spending required.
Happy shopping!

PS: Or and I should I insist that you sign up for Beautiful Revelry's newsletter today? Tastefully designed and full of surprises and special offers. Sign {here} NOW!

PPS: You can read all the {Interview with} blog posts by clicking {here}. If you have started your Christmas shopping and are looking for unique, special gifts I have made it easier for you.

Have a great day and wonderful weekend ahead!


Chuzai Living said...

What a fun interview and her creations are gorgeous!!! How interesting that you haven't met each other.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...