The Early Hour mentorship launches: Sinead Carey, founder of PaperGrace

The editor Annie Ridout has launched The Early Hour mentorship scheme, taking on one freelance mother to mentor every six months. Her first mentee is Sinead Carey, founder of PaperGrace stationery and mum-of-four. Here’s an introduction…

At the beginning of April, I decided to launch a mentorship via The Early Hour, offering a freelance mother support and guidance, with both her career and the work/life ‘juggle’. I put out an article, opening it up to any woman who freelances and has kids, and was delighted to receive so many applications from women doing brilliant things, alongside being a parent.

I eagerly read through them all, and found it hard to choose which women to mentor. But eventually decided on Sinead Carey, who is raising four children – aged from three to 17 – while running an award-winning stationery business PaperGrace. She’s currently focusing on wedding stationery, though is hoping to branch out to greeting cards, birthday invitations, prints for the home.

Sinead’s previous job, as a fashion designer, ended when she was denied flexible working, following her second maternity leave. So instead, she took voluntary redundancy and set up shop in 2012. She enjoyed a multitude of orders in the first few years, and multiple press features, but has found the market growing increasingly competitive, which is why she’s keen to broaden her product range.

Sinead is looking for a mentor to brainstorm with, help with time management and teach her more about marketing, SEO and blogging. She lacks confidence when it comes to her work, so would like help with this – and with feeling bolder about sharing her work online; particularly on social media.

I first met Sinead at an event I was talking at, on work/life balance. She asked a question in the closing Q&A and later asked about the mentorship. So when her application came through, I could put a face to the name. This planted the seed, in terms of a working relationship. But I also love Sinead’s designs, ambition and goals.

We’ll now set to work on steering PaperGrace in the direction Sinead would like. I’m really excited to be a part of her journey for the next six months. Here are some of her beautiful stationery designs…

You can follow Sinead on Instagram: @papergraceuk

If you’re a freelance mum, looking for a mentor, I’ll be taking on my next mentee in October. But we also have an amazing selection of other freelance mums/business owners who will be mentoring through The Early Hour – to be announced shortly.