Off on a Whim makes customized jewelry from all natural materials, no plastics or glass beads, at affordable prices. The tag line: Power and Beauty, symbolizes the Japanese Powerstone philosophy which I bring into the jewelry. I work closely with customers to get their pieces right for them. You can find me at:
Q: What have you found to be the biggest challenge being a small business owner? How did you overcome it?
At present the biggest challenge I face is balancing time for my small business vs. my regular job, raising kids, keeping the house clean, food on the table, and all the myriad of things a mom also needs to tend to. Top this off with trying to do most of it in another language and life at times tends to get away from me.
Fortunately my family is very supportive, and I put my older girls to work with house chores and cooking, my husband does many things to lend a hand, and I have hired one of my daughters to help me with all the Japanese communications with customers. At some point in the near future though I will need to review my day job vs. my small business and will probably start cutting back on teaching assignments so I will have more time to create.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about being a small business owner?
I love that I took basically nothing but an idea and built something out of it. It’s all mine, from the start to the present. The first piece I made was really just ‘on a whim’, but when people started asking to buy them, and I decided to start selling them, I adopted the name Off on a Whim for my business, since at the time I really hadn’t planned to go as far as selling things.
I love too that I am creating, which has always been a deep part of my personality. Finding a way to both make a profit and work with color, nature and patterns is perfect for me. I have always loved color and ever since my mom introduced me to my first crafts, have loved creating.
Q: What advice do you have for fellow Momtrepeneurs?
My only advice would be to step out and try something. You never know how far it will go or how much you want to put into it until you start. And as you start, the path will show itself, opportunities come along, you’ll find support groups and people to help you along the way. Never stress about it, that’s what I promised myself. I tend to internalize and put myself down for not succeeding, and when I started this business I was in a really bad place personally. So, I promised myself I would never stress over it, it was only for ‘fun’ and if nothing sold, I’d have lots of nice gifts for friends and family. The temptation to stress always comes along, and I have to go back to my promise that this business would only be fun and if it got depressing then I would give it up.
Brief Bio – name, country of origin, time and location in Japan, interests outside your business etc
Briefly, I originate from California and have lived in Wakayama for 14 years now, and really love my little city. It’s quiet, peaceful, clean and I generally feel a part of the community in my own odd way. Unfortunately I have a hard time being ‘Japanese’, but most of my neighbors and friends seem to accept this about me and allow me to be different without giving me flack for it, or, if they do, my Japanese isn’t good enough to fully understand them so it’s easy for me to ignore any negative or demeaning attitudes towards me
Besides 4 kids, a husband, cat and dog, day work, house work, and small business, I like to sew and do cross-stitch. I find it a must to multi-task and fit as much as I can into each activity. Audio books in the car or else I’d never have time to read, email over coffee, sewing while watching TV, and catching up on Words with Friends in the ofuro [or toilet? Shhh….]. But we try very hard to also be a family and put time aside to just chill together, taking a few hours off or a whole day to enjoy each other. I think this is really important, and something to fight hard for as the kids grow older and their schedules take on their own lives.
Quilted bag I made for a friend:
One of my favorite spots, Okunoin Cemetery at Mt. Koya:
Grabbing a few hours of family time when everyone was free for the afternoon:
Thank you readers for taking the time to hear a little about me and my small business! And thank you my wonderful customers for your support and encouragement in helping me realize this business! I’d never have gotten this far without you!
Special discount for KABlog Readers:
Use KAMOM for 500 yen ($4.75) off your order at either Etsy check out or mention if you order directly via Facebook!
Mum to three very loud boys and wife to a patient Japanese man, I'm Australian and moved to the Kansai area in 2012. Aside from navigating all the craziness of being a mum in another country, I work semi-full time and try to keep my sanity! Of course I clean but I don't cook!