Little Treasures - - INSPIRATION -

Clare Brookes Kiss­ing a skilled ca­reer good­bye in favour of a U-turn into the un­known wouldn’t be an easy de­ci­sion for most peo­ple. But for Auck­land mum Clare Brookes, owner of on­line chil­dren’s cloth­ing, toy and dé­cor store Lit­tle Whimsy (lit­tle­, it was a no-brainer. Merg­ing her love of shop­ping with her love of chil­dren, Clare es­tab­lished the busi­ness af­ter hav­ing her kids Nico, now five, and Lila, two. It was a dras­tic de­vi­a­tion from her pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pa­tion as a foren­sic sci­en­tist. “I have a slight shop­ping ob­ses­sion and when I had my chil­dren it gave me another ex­cuse to shop,” she says. “But I was frus­trated with the lack of brands avail­able in New Zealand af­ter liv­ing overseas for quite a few years. I was do­ing a lot of in­ter­na­tional on­line shop­ping and thought, ‘This is silly – more of this needs to be avail­able in New Zealand’.” And so, Lit­tle Whimsy was born. Thanks to so­cial me­dia, it didn’t take long for the word to spread, and the store’s suc­cess means Clare can en­joy work­ing in a job she loves while re­main­ing a stay-at-home mum. Perks in­clude se­lect­ing gor­geous stock from around the world, and Clare loves see­ing pho­tos of kids en­joy­ing the toys, clothes and room dé­cor pur­chased from her web­site. Of course, like any job, there are a few down­sides, too. “Be­ing your own boss means you’re never off-duty,” she says. “On hol­i­days, I find I can’t switch off and I’m still check­ing emails and do­ing re­search.” “Caf­feine and wine are key,” she jokes. “But I do have to ad­mit, it’s a strug­gle some­times. I’m of­ten on the com­puter or my phone, so I’m con­scious to stop and give the kids my un­di­vided at­ten­tion. I try to be as or­gan­ised as pos­si­ble; I have great todo list apps, I set time lim­its for so­cial me­dia. I’ve tried to sim­plify and au­to­mate as much as pos­si­ble.”

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