PLANS IN MO­TION

COP­ING WITH A MAR­RIAGE BREAKDOWN AND RAIS­ING THREE CHIL­DREN UN­DER FIVE FORGED A FU­TURE IN ON­LINE EN­TREPRENEUR­SHIP FOR KATE BARLSTROP, TURN­ING A HOBBY INTO A SUC­CESS­FUL BUSI­NESS

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | BIG READ - WORDS BY: SARAH DIONY­SIUS

It took heart­break for Kate Barl­trop to re­alise where her true pas­sion lay. Her 10-year mar­riage had just come to an abrupt end and she was jug­gling three chil­dren un­der the age of five while bed-rid­den due to preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions.

She couldn’t go back to work but needed a way of gen­er­at­ing an in­come and found her­self hav­ing to look out­side the box.

She be­gan rack­ing her brain for ideas on how she could pur­sue a ca­reer from home that would fit in with her sched­ule, and that’s when she re­alised she could turn a hobby into a busi­ness.

Kate said she stum­bled into the plan­ner com­mu­nity when she was Googling ways on how to stay or­gan­ised.

She started fol­low­ing pop­u­lar plan­ner so­cial me­dia pages, be­gan watch­ing Youtube videos on de­sign­ing plan­ners and or­dered ev­ery­thing she needed to cre­ate one from Amer­i­can sites.

“I didn’t re­alise just how big the plan­ner phe­nom­e­non was,” she said.

“There was a whole com­mu­nity of peo­ple, mostly women, who shared the same pas­sion for writ­ing, draw­ing, plan­ning, jour­nal­ing, or­gan­is­ing and doc­u­ment­ing life.”

She said she loved the con­cept but soon be­came frus­trated with the fact that the Amer­i­can plan­ners did not align with Aus­tralian dates. And that’s when an idea struck.

“I thought my love for plan­ners is un­de­ni­able, I have de­sign skills and graphic com­puter pro­gram skills, I have some money saved, I have time at night when the three kids are asleep, and I have mas­sive mo­ti­va­tion to have a good shot at start­ing a hobby that will hope­fully one day be­come a busi­ness,” she said.

“Not to men­tion I needed a dis­trac­tion to keep my mind busy, when the kids weren’t at home or were asleep.”

From there, her on­line busi­ness Mul­ber­ry­pop was born.

“I posted on one of the plan­ner Face­book groups that I was go­ing to print and bind a few well-thought-out plan­ners that had Aus­tralian dates, sea­sons and lay­outs, not back­wards like most of the Amer­i­can op­tions are,” she said.

“It was a sim­ple idea that at the time I could not find ex­isted any­where.

“The re­sponse was huge, and it was then that I re­alised there was a real need for a beau­ti­ful, qual­ity, well-de­signed and made plan­ner made in Aus­tralia for Aus­tralians.”

Kate’s on­line busi­ness launched four years ago and has grown steadily into the pop­u­lar ven­ture it is to­day.

All of her plan­ners are de­signed, printed and made on the Coast and are sent out around the na­tion.

Kate said she was con­stantly de­vel­op­ing her ideas and look­ing at ways to im­prove her range of plan­ners.

“Each year I have a list of goals: some small, some big, some re­ally big,” she said.

“I’m still work­ing from a small room at home and of­ten at the din­ing ta­ble and on the lounge room floor.

“But with the kids still fairly young, and the jug­gle of toi­let train­ing, dance, sport, school, home­work, my part-time job plus al­low­ing for down time with their mum, for now this is per­fect for us.”

Kate said she was most pas­sion­ate about help­ing oth­ers find a way to keep on top of their busy sched­ules.

She said she owed a lot of time­m­an­age­ment skills to the fact that she used a plan­ner and she wanted to share this skill with other time-poor peo­ple.

“It’s very calm­ing and makes you feel like you can get on top of things,” she said.

“My weeks are chaos and with­out my plan­ner, I would be to­tally lost.

“A lot of woman who use the plan­ners say it helps make them bet­ter moth­ers and also gives them more time for them­selves.”

Kate’s three daugh­ters, aged three, eight and nine, love to help her with the de­signs for the plan­ners and she said it was some­thing they could all en­joy to­gether as a fam­ily. While she was proud of the suc­cess of the busi­ness, Kate said the great­est re­ward was the ex­am­ple it had set for her chil­dren.

“This has all hap­pened be­cause of a dream that I fol­lowed,” she said.

“If I was still with my hus­band, it may not have have hap­pened and I just feel em­pow­ered that I turned some­thing I loved into this thriv­ing busi­ness.

“And it’s awe­some to be able to show the kids that they don’t have to stay in a job they don’t want to do. They can go out and pur­sue their dreams, too.”

KATE’S TIPS FOR US­ING A PLAN­NER

● Don’t put too much pres­sure on your­self to set up the “per­fect” plan­ner. Some peo­ple are so ter­ri­fied of mess­ing theirs up that they don’t want to write in it.

● Use plan­ner stick­ers to make or­gan­is­ing eas­ier and neater. Hun­dreds of stick­ers are avail­able on­line.

● Make it ex­cit­ing so that you con­tinue to use it. A dif­fer­ent theme for ev­ery week helps keep you en­gaged.

● In­vest in a good-qual­ity plan­ner with a good lay­out. Of­ten the cheaper ver­sions are not very mo­ti­va­tional and not easy to use.

● Stay on top of it. The more you do it, the quicker it will be­come a habit.

To find out more about Kate’s plan­ners, visit www.mul­ber­ry­pop.com.au or con­nect via Face­book at face­book.com/mul­berry Pop­plan­ners/ or on In­sta­gram at in­sta­gram.com/mul­ber­ry­pop­plan­ners/

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.