Posted on July 29 2015
This week's Wednesday Woman is entrepreneur Candice Becklund, founder of Crafting it Forward, and co-founder of Mark Brooke photographers. We recently heard about her via the wonderful Mamahood and were inspired to learn more. Here, she tells us about how she came up with the idea for her business and how she manages to run it, alongside a busy home with three young children.
Bardega: Candice, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you were like growing up?
Candice Becklund: As a child I was super ambitious, almost to a fault, and I always remember having some sort of business going. My first business was window washing at the age of seven but I was only allowed to go four doors to the left and four doors to the right.
I also remember loving the outdoors, I grew up in Orange County, California but I spent the summers in upstate New York surrounded by bugs, wild animals, trees taller then buildings, and a big lake full of activities. The outdoors and nature has truly became a part of who I am.
Bardega: What led you to starting Crafting it Forward, and what is your mission?
Becklund: Crafting it Forward started as “just a business”; I’ll explain what I mean by those quotation marks. Basically, I was trying to think of something that lined up with the stage of life I was in - I have 3 children all under the age of 5. They LOVE to do crafts and be creative so, one day, I wanted to do crafts with them and being one of those fancy “Pinterest mums” (we all know what I’m referring to), I wanted to be really creative so hired a babysitter so that I could go to the craft store (doing anything with three little ones can be a bit crazy). But, I left the craft store with only a few items - some fabric, a bag of buttons, string, stuffing, and some beads and the total was $86.00! I almost fainted!!! So, from that moment, an idea was born.
After a month of hashing out the details of how I was going to deliver a cute and hip subscription craft box to families that was affordable, I started to get feedback from family and friends on how I should be different, how I should involve some type of purpose; I should try and make a difference. So I worked on it and after a month or so, Crafting It Forward as the public knows it was born (more details can be found here).
We are now a subscription craft box with a twist. In each box we include an address label so that once a family is done enjoying their craft, they can mail it forward to a senior center or children's hospital for further enjoyment. I have a few friends whose children have a form of pediatric sickness and it's devastating to watch them go to the hospital every few weeks for chemo, or check ups. Everyone loves to craft, so I’m excited to think that kids who are fighting serious illnesses, or a few of the 32 million seniors that are in nursing homes are getting an extra smile when they receive the crafts that are made by our subscribers.
Our mission is simple: We are crafting with purpose.
Bardega: As well as Crafting it Forward, you also run a photography business with your husband, and you're a mum to three little ones. How do you manage your time so that you have a work/life balance ?
Becklund: Yes, I am a mother of three, a wife to my high school sweetheart, and I run a photography studio as well. It's a little nuts over here, I’m not going to lie…. but in a good way. I’m super happy with where I am in my life and how everything is being pieced together.
For those of you that have kids, you already know that when you make any type of “plan” it gets altered due to your little ones so the first thing I have learned is to just to chill and be flexible. If something doesn’t work out that day, it's OK.
I keep a "work, mum, wife" balance by having early work hours. I wake up every morning two hours before my little ones open their eyes so I can get all my work done. I also have “work days” and usually have every Monday and Saturday to do photoshoots, as well as more office hours.
Since my work is done in the morning, I do my best to be a mum in the day (and nap a few times a week with my little ones, wahooo!), then in the evening I am with my husband when he gets home from work. I have one of those personalities where I am hyper focused when I’m doing something so when I work, I work, and when I’m not working, I’m not working…if that makes sense? Also, I have a date night with my husband every week!
Bardega: Who / what inspires you?
Becklund: Other mums inspire me; people that find time to run every morning, couples that are constantly working on their marriage inspire me, good design magazines, a huge bright colorful wall inspires me, and leggings that are annoyingly bright and fun bring me joy… which inspires me!
Bardega: And what advice would you other women looking to start their own business?
Becklund: I would say Just Do It! And know that you're going to get some negative feedback or road blocks, but just to keep on going. It's OK for someone to disagree with you… if your core group of friends and family (your inner circle) believe in what you are doing, then go for it!
Bardega: Finally, if you could go back in time, what advice would you give a younger Candice?
Becklund: This is kind of a curve ball, but honestly it would be to SLOW DOWN. At times I feel women have this pressure to be EVERYTHING; to wear way too many hats, and be a certain way. I wish someone would have freed me from that social pressure earlier.
As an adult, I am only just realizing that "too much" is not healthy but, as I mentioned earlier, I have always been ambitious, almost to a fault… in fact, it's my biggest struggle. I am that person who on New Year's Eve annoyingly asks everyone, “So what are your goals for 2016?” and everyone looks and says “ummmmmm”… and my answer is always five minutes long and usually stresses people out (hahaha)!
So last year, for 2015, it was my goal to make NO goals, to slow down, to say NO more often then YES. So, for those of you reading this, my advice would be to free yourself from the social pressures of society. Work on becoming the best version of you, and slow down. Enjoy each step and each year. This is your life.