Owner of Arrived Baby Bags, Karen Entwistle discusses the ups and downs of juggling a business with being a parent.
“I love [running my own business] because I feel like I’m doing something for the future of my son,” Karen Entwistle, founder of Arrived baby bags.
After having her son, Oscar, Sydney mother Karen realised there was a lack of gender-neutral baby bags in the market, shortly after her business, Arrived was born.
Karen took the plunge in 2019 after leaving her job. She had a vision to create a multipurpose, stylish bag that was sustainable for both parents. However, launching her own business presented its own difficulties.
She shares, “It’s been a bit of a challenge because my business actually launched in April right as COVID was most prominent, but we made a decision to still launch.
“Then obviously kindergarten closed, my husband started working from home and I was in the spare room, so it was pretty hectic.”
For Karen it was a journey into the unknown. With shipping ports around the world held up due to COVID-19, Entwistle struggled with delays in the delivery of her product but it helped shape her business.
“I think the biggest lesson for me, was nothing’s ever going to be on time, and you need to really work to those expectations,” she says.
Despite this, the year was loaded with success for Karen as she managed to build strong relationships with influencers and received a lot of positive customer feedback.
“I’m a second guesser so I doubt myself all the time and I’m super critical [of my work]. I ask myself if I did that right or could I do it better? So, to get [positive] comments just means a lot to me and makes it all worthwhile,” she says.
From a young age, Entwistle suffered from mental health challenges and like many parents had anxiety about being a good mother to her son, Oscar.
“When I first had him it was difficult, there were sleepless nights and breastfeeding didn’t work for me at first. But he’s three now and when he turns around and says I love you Mum; I just know it’s all worthwhile,” she says.
During the past difficult year, support from Karen’s family and proper time management allowed Karen to juggle parenting while turning her idea into a flourishing business.
“When Oscar has an afternoon nap I work and when he goes to bed at night I do work then or get up early in the morning. It can be tough but it’s about finding a balance for everything,” she explains.
For 22 years, Entwistle worked at the forefront of the fashion accessory industry but making money for other people was never her dream. She always wanted to have her brand.
Entwistle explained how changing one’s career and choosing to start your own business contrasts greatly from working for one.
“It’s a different kind of feeling and responsibility because it’s your own business. It’s your own money that you’ve invested, there’s sleepless nights, long hours and a lot of sweat and tears to launch.
“You have a different passion for it as well and you don’t ever switch off, it’s always on your mind, I love it.”
For every bag sold through Arrived, Entwistle donates two dollars to the Gidget Foundation Australia, a not-for-profit organisation which supports new parents including Entwistle.
During her pregnancy and after, Entwistle suffered from depression and sought out Gidget for assistance.
Not only did they support Entwistle throughout her pregnancy journey and afterwards, but they also assisted her husband.
Now, Entwistle is an advocate for Gidget and has a message for parents who are suffering from both prenatal and post-natal depressions.
“There’s support out there, don’t be embarrassed, don’t be ashamed,” Karen advises, “It’s much better to speak up, to protect your family than it is just to keep going the way you’re feeling. With the right support you can get through it.”