Ilja with daughters Emma and Femke
Ilja with daughters Emma and Femke

At-home mums cashing in online

MOTIVATED by flexible hours, low operating costs, and the potential to create an income for their family, a growing number of women are establishing their own online businesses, while enjoying some of the benefits of working from home.

Using social media to help spread the word, these women are doing what often comes naturally - communicating, sharing, networking and nurturing.

When Ilja Oostenenk started Em&Femme Designs from her home in Woombah two years ago, she was simply trying to meet her family's own needs.

"I was a stay-at-home mum with two young girls. At the time, I didn't think there was enough variety in the children's clothing that was available locally, so I began to make clothes myself," she said.

"When family and friends started to request custom orders, I wondered if I could sell them online too.

"So I started a web page, but there's a lot of competition for girl's clothes and no-one found me.

It was really disappointing. It wasn't until I began using Facebook that things really took off," she said.

Now Ilja has a thriving small business with buyers from all over the world, including North America, Europe and Canada, as well as Australia.

Tanya Smith is another young mum happily working from her home in Woombah.

Seeing the potential of Facebook as a powerful marketing tool, Tanya established Geobeth Creations early in 2011, with the aim of working from home around the needs of her young girls, now aged five and eight.

Having just celebrated a one year milestone, You and Baby was created to meet the needs of new parents.

"Our website is our online retail store, but we also provide information on what's available for new parents and what's genuinely useful," said Kristy.

"Facebook is a great tool to have in your toolkit, but it shouldn't be the only tool," she said.

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