Fantastic female – Erin Parnell, founder of Eternally Cherished

Hi I am Erin, a mum to a threenager and an entrepreneur. I started my weird and wonderful business Eternally Cherished in 2017 whilst on maternity leave specialising in making breastmilk jewellery. It has expanded into ashes, hair, umbilical,s and much more. In January 2021 I have become fully self-employed and left the corporate world behind, hopefully for good, to focus on my business and most importantly my family.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

FANTASTIC FEMALE - ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

How did you balance being a mother and professional? 

This was really hard for me as I was working full-time alongside running my business. I was leaving the house at 0530 and not getting in until 1930-2000 traffic depending, some days I would not even see my daughter as she was sleeping when I went to work and already in bed when I got home. There was not really any balance other than I did this so I could have 3 days off and one of those days was a mummy and Elara day which I longed for each and every week. I am very much looking forward to having more balance in my life this year now I am self-employed. This means I can collect my daughter from nursery every day, we can have family meals every day.

What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career? 

During the past 2 years, I have sacrificed a social life. Although 2020 no one could really have a social life due to the Pandemic I prioritised my family in the little free time I did have and worked on the business in the rest. Knowing that eventually, it would lead to self-employment and the work-life balance I longed for. It was a means to an end. Although I enjoyed my job it was stressful and challenging. We did not have a night out until Elara was almost 2 years old, we had date nights in once she was in bed, but we did not go out. I worked tirelessly to ensure my business was a success.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

Who inspired you and why?

I am always inspired by other women in business, I am in a few Facebook groups where they are all cheerleaders for one another and support each other. It is from this tribe I have found even more confidence to keep on keeping on. I wouldn’t say there was one sole person who has inspired me but women as a whole, the strength grit, and determination to carve out a special area in being an entrepreneur to make a work-life balance, that inspired me to achieve it, and I finally have.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

I was once told, 2 ears and one mouth and they should be used in that proportion. Listen, take note and learn, be a sponge , and absorb as much learning as you can, you never know when it will come in handy. Be fierce, if you are truly passionate about something and your heart is in it, other people will buy into it as well. Speak up, be seen, be present.

Do you think women feel intimidated in business?

I think this really depends on the individual although there is a view by some that women in business are hobbyists whilst men are businessmen, which is off balance and not true. I don’t think it is intimidation as such more a lack of confidence of being taken seriously and having the confidence to put themselves out there.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?  

Having a cuppa, probably covered in some arts and crafts stuff with my 3 year old having fun talking about what we are going to do for the day. Usually consisting of a walk to the park or the woods. We go out no matter the weather, she loves exploring.

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to craft peoples cherished memories into treasured memories of the heart. The items I create are so important and special to each and every person, I feel soo privileged to do this for them and love seeing their faces, looking at the reviews, and hearing about their own stories and journeys.

FANTASTIC FEMALE - ERINPARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Stepping down and taking a lesser role so I could focus on my business. This gave me more freedom and a little more time to really focus on my goals, which was to be at home more and run my business full-time. This made me a lot less stressed and helped me gain momentum in my business.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?

Honestly, from every thought or wrong decision I have learned from it. I try not to have any regrets from things but think of them as lessons and experiences so I know what to do or not to do next time.

How do you organise your time?

I am very disciplined with my time, I have had to be. I organise everything I need to do in 5 days into 4 days. I then plan everything into my day within 6 hours which leaves me with 2 hours contingency for anything that comes up. By doing this and building contingency into my days I can control my time better and also building free time and family time without feeling like I am compromising anything.

What do you think is your greatest strength?

I think that would be my resilience and my confidence, or else I would not have taken the plunge to go fully self-employed GULP!

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

I have too many ideas, too many things going on and sometimes I struggle to get focus and I am spinning so many plates at one time that I end up doing some things halfway rather than focus on one thing at a time and completing it.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – ERIN PARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

How do you make decisions?

I am very decisive and honest with my decisions. If a customer asks me for something I will always try to help and do something for them however if it is outside of my wheelhouse I will say no a recommend someone else.

FANTASTIC FEMALE - ERINPARNELL, FOUNDER OF ETERNALLY CHERISHED

What do you read?

I am always reading online blogs from other women about their businesses, I enjoy sci-fi, true crime for some escapism.

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

I do not think there are any secrets. It is all hard work, dedication, perseverance, blood sweat, and tears. I step up every day, I am present in my business every day for my customers and followers. 

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