Inspirational Women - Nicola Torode, founder of Oh Milo Made
Juggling work life, motherhood and creative aspirations is exhausting but definitely has its upside.
What are the daily challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?
My daily challenges center around balancing family life, day job life and the creative drive that has pushed me to make art and sell through my Folksy Oh Milo Made shop. There is always so much going on that honestly it’s hard,and draining and tough sometimes. Finding that bit of extra energy, that momentum to push on through is not always easy... but then you get a smile, an idea for a print, time to draw, a fantastic comment from a happy customer, a hug from your child or just a really, really good cup of tea and I look around and think - I can do this.
How do you achieve work life balance?
If I’m honest, I just don’t most of the time - and this can lead to burnout. I’ve taken active steps this year to carve out specific time to relax. I may not have been so productive all round, but I am feeling the benefits of a slightly slower pace on my health. I also find that when I’m rested, that’s when the creative ideas really flow.
How did you get where you are today - who helped you along the way?
I’m entirely self taught when it comes to lino printing (save from some time at secondary school), and I’ve only been making art this way for a few years now. My husband has been so incredibly supportive and encouraging. He bought me my first set of proper carving tools when he could see how much pleasure I was getting out of the lino cutting process. He encourages me to set aside time to work on my own projects plus he’s happy to do a bit of heavy lifting (and even a bit of selling) when craft fair season comes around! In addition I have some fabulous creative friends who have really helped me think about the creative process and have provided necessary critique and encouragement, and of course more cups of tea.
One or two things you have learnt growing up as a woman
I’ve learnt that as a woman and a mother you will carry the mental load - even if you try not to, even if you have a supportive network, even when you are trying to relax - your brain keeps going, making lists, thinking of things that need to be done, achieved, sorted, organised. This feeling is so perfectly summed up by this comic by Emma: https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/ I don’t have a magic answer to this problem - but it has helped me to understand the way I feel sometimes when there is so much going on. It frustrating to feel that you ‘have’ to ask for help - but everyone needs help - and asking for support and getting it is a wonderful thing to do.
What are you goals for 2019
I want to focus on learning to get the most out of my printing press. It’s such a wonderful piece of kit and I’m so lucky to have it. I want to be able to use it to create beautiful prints that resonate with people, and to push my creative boundaries further.
You can find the makes of Oh Milo Made here: https://ohmilomade.com/