My journey started around the time our second daughter was born. It was May 2013, she was 10 weeks premature. I had spent my entire maternity leave in and out of hospital, and before I knew it, it was time to get back to work.
It only took me 2 months back at the office to know that this was no longer where I wanted to be. I needed to be home with our girls, but having a job in the corporate world made that very difficult. I was an Executive Personal Assistant for over 13 years. My life revolved around making sure everybody else’s lives was run smoothly, yet I was missing out on crucial developmental stages. I missed birthday rings at school, I missed PTA meetings, I missed swimming lessons. Most of all, I was missing out on time. The one thing I could never get back.
The Passion, the Project.
I’ve always had an interest in interior decorating and carpentry. My ideas were great, but my skills were limited. I knew deep down that someday, this passion would come to play. I just had no idea how.
I took on a project at home. I had just finished redecorating the lounge, the dining room, the main bedroom and now it was time to tackle the girl’s room. For me, this was the most challenging of the lot. I needed to please two very different personalities. They were sharing, so it had to be colorful and pretty yet practical and spacious. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so teaching them to keep their room clean and tidy would be an interesting saga for us all.
We had recently installed new cupboards in our bedroom. Our carpenter had asked if he could take the old cupboards ‘off our hands’ but I decided to keep it. This wood was strong and it had character. I knew I would find something to make, using my new found skills at the power tool and woodwork workshop I just completed.
Sitting at my desk with some down time, I decided to start searching the internet for furniture ideas. I must have scrolled through hundreds of pictures. I had no idea what I was looking for but it needed to be something easy to make but practical with multiple uses. Scroll scroll scroll. I passed a picture of a beautiful toy box and remember saying to myself ‘have to get one of those’. Scroll scroll scroll…and that’s when it happened! That, right there, was THE moment. I swear, in my mind, I actually saw a light bulb appear above my head!
Sharing the Idea.
My first reaction was to get confirmation, that THIS was a great idea. Earlier, I read an article that said ‘Ideas are meant to be shared’. In this day and age, we are so scared to share our ideas in fear that it might be stolen. True, that does happen, but I decided not to let fear be a factor, so I decided to share my idea anyway.
I was privileged to work with the most amazing team of women. We were all wives and moms so naturally, had so much in common. We spent hours together each day, laughing, giving advice on anything and everything, helping each other with workloads etc. We were an awesome group of woman, and I trusted them.
One by one, I called the ladies to my desk. ‘What do you think about this? All the reactions were positive. I love it! – Where can I buy that? – I really need that for my kids room! – Wow that’s beautiful – Are you going to make that? Because I’ll buy it from you!
My mind started working over time. Could this be a business opportunity?
As always, I would run all my crazy ideas past my husband and as always, he loves and supports it. This idea felt different though. I got butterflies every time I spoke about it. Smiled, every time I thought about it. Something as simple as this toy box, gave me goosies. This was to be my next business venture.
It didn’t take me long to formulate exactly what I wanted to do. Besides for it being practical with multiples uses, my toy box needed to be personalized!
After a few weeks I had my prototype ready. I spent the afternoon painting the toy box with a light pink paint. The same paint I used on their walls so it matched beautifully. I added some pretty wooden butterflies and a wall mural to match the theme in the room.
I needed approval from my first customers…. They loved it! “What is it mummy? What do we call it?”
Growing up, a friend gave me the nickname Vikkimonster. It had something to do with the Cookie Monster or something along those lines. I really didn’t know, but I liked it and it stuck so it didn’t take me very long to come up with a name. Monster box? But this box was for kids and kids don’t like monsters. … I was a mom now…hmm….. And there it was again…that light bulb I had gotten so used to seeing in my mind. I decided to call my toy box, the Momster Box.
In the next few weeks, I had some more boxes made. This time I added a soft cushion to the lid of the box using the most adorable fabrics that I knew the kids would love. This was the official version one of the Momster Box.
Within the first few weeks I had sold 7 boxes to my friends at work. After some comments and suggestion from friends, I designed version two and loved it even more than the first.
I had opened up a second operation in Cape Town, which my father in law was running for me. My mom was my upholsterer making all my pillows. They were very excited to get on board the Momster Box train.
Very little marketing was done in the beginning as I still had a day job and did all the painting myself. This was taking up a lot of time and energy, but I loved every minute of being a part time entrepreneur.
The Work Situation.
At this point, I was now starting to despise having a full time job. I thought changing companies would change the way I felt, but I was wrong.
I registered to study Interior Design as I thought I needed to do something I enjoyed. I loved the course; I just hated the studying part…so that never quite worked out either.
It wasn’t until 18 months later than I decided to take the plunge and leave the corporate world.
The Momster Box movement.
I knew that as soon as I left corporate, things would get real.
During that last 18 months at work, I managed to sell well over 100 Momster Boxes. I improved the design for the third time, really pushed hard on social media and started making some good contacts.
With my husbands help, I managed to reach over 3550 likes on Facebook in just over 6 months.
Words cannot begin to describe the love I have for what I do… that feeling I get when I see a happy customer…..PRICELESS!
Posted by Vikki Momster, 15th July 2015