When feeling stretched in lockdown, Angus designer Jane McCance decided to create a business that empowers mothers like herself.
After graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2009, she sold her luxury jewellery in Harvey Nichols and the National Gallery.
However, when Jane became a mum she found it hard to balance the business with motherhood.
She was a stay-at-home mum for a while, for her now six and four-year-old daughters, before deciding lockdown was the time to come back with a purpose.
Jane says: “I wanted to create a brand for mums because this was a time in everybody’s life they were feeling quite stretched, women and mums in particular.
“We fell into this trap of feeling like you have to be able to do everything and as a result, we’re creating barriers for ourselves to feel good and to do great things.
“Therefore I wanted to make something that made people feel good and brought them joy.
“That was really my intention, to help women to feel like there’s more to them and to empower them.”
Balancing business and motherhood
Jane’s brand Paper People launched in November last year.
Her necklaces, bracelets and earrings are all hand-made, constructed in her workshop outside Fowlis.
The pieces are made from brass plated with gold, to be hard-wearing and able to handle life as a mum.
Jane says: “Life isn’t just all pretty and easy. It is messy, motherhood is messy and you can wear whatever with whatever.
“It can be a jumper covered in Weetabix or a fancy dress jumping on trampoline.
“My jewellery is for all of that stuff, because that’s the reality of what motherhood and real life looks like.”
When starting the business, Jane was conscious of creating a clear boundary between work and home life.
Being a business owner when the children are away and a mum after school, it is crucial to make the balance right.
In the long run, she hopes to inspire other mums to see that there are different ways of working and that one model does not fit all.
She says: “Culturally, we have an issue where we expect women to work like they don’t have children and to have children like they don’t work.
“I do hope that people can see and think there are other options.
“It’s not the structure that we’re taught from a very young age, so it’s breaking free of these boundaries, but when it works for you it’s definitely worth it.”
The Angus entrepreneur has plans to be a trailblazer for women who want to work flexibly.
In the next few years, she would like to hire a female team who can work whenever it suits them and grow the business even further.
Paper People community
Jane describes her business journey as empowering.
She has created her own way of working and set out on her own path.
Yet her favourite part of it all has been to create a community through her brand and social media.
She says: “The energy it’s bringing back to me is just the most rewarding thing.
“On Instagram I share a lot of quite honest posts and things are funny about motherhood.
“I think it makes people feel like they’re not alone, they’re not the only mum that feels totally overwhelmed or totally overworked.
“And it’s great because it makes them feel seen and like they can do anything they want, which is very much my passion.”
Setting up during the pandemic means Jane has yet to meet her customers face to face.
She hopes to do something about this by opening her studio in December.
However, not all her customers will be able to drop by for a Christmas visit.
Jane says: “I started Paper People with a local mentality and as I’ve gone out there, I realise they also feel like that in France or Spain or anywhere else.
“A few stockists have got in touch and asked if they can sell my work as well, which I never really intended at the beginning.
“I’ve actually just received my first order from an American stockist.”