I am honoured to be interviewing the inspirational Katie Silverthorne who is a best selling author and also the owner of a thriving business called Memory Zoo.
I have read Katie’s story a few times now from the bestselling book Mumpreneur on Fire 4 and every time I have read it I am blown away by how determined and positive she is in the face of suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. In spite of her health, she has built up her business Memory Zoo where she turns old baby clothes or clothes from someone that has passed away into beautiful handmade keepsakes. Her business has gone from strength to strength and her now employees 3 other seamstresses to help with the demand.
Tell us a bit about you?
I am originally from London but now live outside Bristol. I am married with one child and a lovely big dog. I love to sew, knit, crochet, write and generally create anything and everything. The whole family is very creative, and we have a lot of fun making terrible messes!
I also love walking – especially in woodlands or up in the hills. I find it soothing, relaxing, stimulating and enlightening all at the same time. It’s complete nourishment for the soul.
What inspired you to start making Memory Bears?
Initially, I made a bear for my daughter when she was 1-years-old. I was folding away all her baby clothes and putting them into a box in the attic. I couldn’t bear to see them disappear forever and never be seen again, so I made a memory bear to remember her baby days.
What is your favourite part of your business?
My favourite part is training my seamstresses – I am so incredibly proud of them and the work they do. They really are brilliant! I also love creating something for my customers that I know they are going to absolutely love. It’s such a thrill to see so many of the items I have made, so loved. I am particularly fond of the cushions that I make in honour of someone who has passed away – it’s such a privilege to be entrusted with something so special.
How do you manage your MS around your business and motherhood?
I’ve had MS for 15 years now, but I am continually learning and developing. My needs have changed over the years and so has my approach to dealing with it. To start with, I have realised that alcohol, sugar, late nights and stress play a role in how ‘bad’ my MS becomes at any given time. I am therefore careful about my diet and often say ‘no’ too late nights. This means that I have the energy to do the things that are genuinely important to me – going for fun days out with my daughter, planning and creating new ideas for Memory Zoo, walking with the family.
I also have acupuncture twice a month to help deal with MS-related pain and fatigue. Oh, and never underestimate the importance of planning! Life is a balancing act but so is everyones. I just have a susceptible early warning system!
How did you feel when the book you co-authored Mumpreneur on Fire 4 became a bestseller?
It was truly fabulous. I had never really talked about my MS before I wrote for MOF4, but now that I’ve started talking about it, I can’t stop! It seems to be so helpful to so many people, and I am so grateful that something that has shaped my life and made it a somewhat rocky journey can be an inspiration to others. That’s a fantastic feeling!
What plans do you have for the future?
So many plans! The first part of this year has been about making sure that the new systems I’ve been putting in place for Memory Zoo work and my seamstresses are trained, happy and ready to go. I am currently narrating the audiobook version of MOF4 in my home studio which will be due out for release in the next few months. I have more audiobook work following after this as well, which is very exciting. I am also currently writing my full autobiography as 3000 words for the MOF4 chapter wasn’t really enough. There is so much more to say!
Where to reach Katie
You can take a look at Katie’s beautiful handmade keepsakes at https://www.memoryzoo.co.uk/about-us/
You can also find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/keepsakeanimals/
Follow the link if you would like to find out more about the best selling book Mumpreneur on Fire 4 and read Katie’s and 24 other amazing women’s stories.
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