'I know it will resonate with someone' Preston mum starts new card business following fertility battle
A Leyland mum who spent more than £35,000 on a long battle with IVF to start a family has used her experience with the treatment to make her new card business a success in lockdown.
Laura Lonsdale, 34, had battled with infertility for years and said she struggled to find support or help for herself and partner Ste, 37, who had been planning to start a family of their own.
And being made redundant shortly after falling pregnant following a successful treatment left her concerned for their future.
It was then that she began using her experience in marketing and creativity to design cards centred around being a mum, created to change attitudes about IVF and encourage conversations about infertility.
She said: "During our tough battle with infertility, we found there was not much support out there for people going through it, and people never know what to say to people who have struggled through it so they just tend to avoid talking about it.
"I ended up needing to fund my own private therapy because I found getting counselling or support through the NHS so difficult. I decided to make the cards after being made redundant from my job because I was at a loose end and had lots of time on my hands.
"I had experience with photoshop and created five designs that were related to infertility and becoming a mum because I knew that I would have loved to have received a card like that when I was going through my struggles."
It took six rounds of IVF treatment, some of which took place overseas in Athens and totalled £37,000 until the Leyland couple finally received the good news they had longed for.
But this was shortly followed by a redundancy payout from Laura's work in marketing, leaving her concerned for the future of her and her new family.
She said that although "nothing could overshadow the happiness of being pregnant", she was still struggling and used her new love for card designing as an outlet for her creativity.
After having the designs approved by the online card company Thortful, which supports independent designers, her passion continued to grow.
She said: "I was over the moon that my first designs had been accepted onto the company's main catalogue, but I wasn't selling very many of them because it was such a niche market.
"It grew into a passion I didn't even know I had, so I began designing cards about being a parent, which then grew into Christmas cards, valentines day cards and so on.
"I even began getting text messages from friends and family who gave me loads of ideas for cards that I now have a list as long as my arm of different types of cards that people would want."
From selling just one card in the first month, Laura's new online business began selling upwards of 2,000 cards a month in lockdown, prompting her and husband Ste to create a new website and go solo with the venture.
And thanks to her success, Laura now operates Laura Lonsdale Designs and is continuing to add new cards to her catalogue including mother's day and funny lockdown themes.
She said she plans to use the business as her full-time job so that she can spend more time with her 11-month-old daughter Penelope.
She added: "Lockdown has really made me and so many others realise what is important in life, which is family. In my last job, I would spend so many hours away from home but this means I can continue to work and be with my daughter as much as possible.
"I have been off work for a whole year now and we have been able to put all our spare time into seeing how we can grow my business further and make it a real success.
"This could end up being my career and would never have happened if it hadn't have been for my struggle and the lockdown. It has come from a place of love and has given me a whole new perspective of what is important to me and my family."
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