Welcome to a series exploring how real-life moms work alternative jobs in order to work and mom the way they want or their family needs. For many, this means working at home. For some it means jobs with flexible schedules. For others it means more traditional business hours, but owning their own business. As we examine the different ways moms make it work, you’ll see a lot of creativity and hopefully be inspired to make your job, traditional or not, work best in your life.
Mary Inman is a designer/dressmaker, a Color Street Founding Stylist, wife the love of her life and mom to three adult children. She graduated from college with a BBA in Marketing with a minor in Management in 1981. Went to work for Burroughs Corporation as a District Manager. After marrying her husband (of 35 years), she relocated with him across country. His job has required many moves throughout the years. Once they started their family, she realized that she did not want to have someone else raise her children. Hence her journey began.
I was excited to hear from Mary, who has raised kids while working at home.
PM: What jobs have you done in the past?
MI: I worked as a district manager with a major printing company. Once I got married I took several small jobs: substitute teacher, bank teller, bank vault teller. When we moved to Texas, I had three small children that I didn’t want to put into day care. I began my business as a Designer/Dressmaker in 1989, specializing in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. In 2001, I was presented with my first opportunity with Direct Selling. I signed up to be an Independent Consultant with Southern Living at HOME, a new company at the time. I quickly worked my way to Director with them. Unfortunately, the company did not survive the crash of 2008. I went back to my roots with my designing business. I now create wearable art for a boutique in Santa Fe, NM. In May of 2017, my good friend, from Southern Living at HOME, called and offered me a Founding Stylist position with a new direct selling company, Color Street. I signed up and the company launched on June 12, 2017.
PM: How did you come to do what you currently do?
MI: I chose to work from home to be home with my children when they were young. As they grew older, it became apparent that we were going to home school them. I home schooled all three of my children through graduation, while working my sewing business and direct selling. I needed an outlet where I could have adult interactions. Direct Selling was the perfect outlet for me. It allowed me valuable time away from my family while allowing me to make some wonderful friendships along the way. When Southern Living at HOME was sold, I really did not intend to get involved with another Direct Selling company. At that time, all my children were out of the house, involved in their careers or still in college. When my friend called me in May of 2017, I was hesitant but told her I would look at the opportunity. The company sent me several samples, which I tried and fell in love with it. It is a product that sells itself. Seemed like a win-win opportunity, so I signed up.
[PM adds – I also fell in love with these upon first use. Check out my review here.]
PM: How long did it take you to get to where you are now?
MI: Who I am both as a person and a business woman is constantly evolving. To say how long it has taken me to get where I am, I would have to say a lifetime. I am constantly learning new skills. The learning never ends. I have been officially Designing and creating clothing for 28 years, I learn new ways to do things everyday. My journey with Color Street is just beginning. I am excited about the doors this opportunity will open for me.
PM: What are the biggest challenges?
MI: Currently my biggest challenge is that I am moving across country in a month. When I signed up with Color Street, I knew that I was going to be slow to start with it. Once I am relocated, the challenge will be to make new contacts. Time management can be an issue when balancing two jobs, so organization is essential.
PM: What are the biggest advantages?
MI: The biggest advantage is flexibility. Currently, my husband’s job has him living and working overseas. I can leave to go visit him whenever I want. I can stay as long as I want, as long as I’m inside the country’s visa requirements. I schedule my appointments around what I am doing. As far as my designing/dressmaking business goes, it is my passion. Color Street allows me to get out of the house. I love the product, it fits into my lifestyle. No more waiting for nail polish to dry, or having to take 2-3 hours out of my schedule to go have an expensive manicure/pedicure done. I can now do both in less than 30 minutes. My husband is happy, because he like my nails done and I now do them myself!
PM: What are your next goals?
MI: As far as my Designing/Dressmaking business my goal is to continue meeting contracts I have with the shop in Santa Fe. Once I have made this upcoming move, my goal is to get my Color Street business up and going. I plan to build my team and regularly hold Nail Bars.
PM: What advice do you have for moms who want to work from home or start their own business?
MI: Be intentional with your business and your family life. Carve out specific times for your family and for your business. Work your business around your family, not the other way around. Keep business hours. Keep your business separate from your family life. I have used my cell phone as my business phone and have been able to screen my business calls, letting them go to voice mail after hours.
Make sure it’s something that you love and are passionate about. That will make it easy to share with others.
PM: What is your productivity tip?
MI: Time management is key. I like to block out my time, where I give myself a certain amount of time to each of my businesses. Having a set amount of time gives you a little more of a push to get the task done. A good work/life balance is important. Set aside time for yourself as well.