Meet Abigail Hatherley work at home mum, composer and Dream Wonderland founder
A career as a music composer revolves around working as a freelancer and continually searching for and creating new job opportunities. For me that involved a career writing music for TV and film.
But as any freelancer knows choosing to have children and maintaining a successful career certainly has its challenges. And with two young children, a husband supporting our family and out of the house for 12 hours a day, I no longer had the time for networking or searching for opportunities vital to a successful freelance career.
It was around this time that I channeled my creative energies into a handful of original lullabies for my two small children – to help calm them for bedtime. In a small home studio at the back of my house it slowly dawned on me that this little personal project could possibly grow into a new business centered on an illustrated album of children’s music to continue my chosen career as a music composer, and Dream Wonderland was born.
The creative process was incredibly slow. I snatched a few hours here and there amidst nap times, meal times and expeditions to the shops or the park. When you only have a two hour window of baby’s sleep time to write in, you can imagine how frustrating it is to hear your baby wake up half an hour earlier than expected! But I persisted with the process always feeling that I was writing something that expressed my experience as a mother, watching these two little people grow and become ever more curious about the world.
Two years later and armed with an almost-finished album and a vision of the greater Dream Wonderland world – a magical realm of music and illustrations to help parents settle their children at sleep time – I met my business partner Tracey Savage while working on a documentary series.
A working mum herself, Tracey totally got what I was trying to do and was keen to come on-board and help make Dream Wonderland, the business, come to life. While it has started witb an illustrated album we want to build the Dream Wonderland brand to include a wide range of products for children’s sleep time – music, picture books, bedding and pillows, hanging mobiles, sleepwear, night lights – all featuring our two characters Dreamer and Diddy the elephant.
Without having to loose artistic control over the project and build brand slowly but steadily, we decided to use crowdfunding as a means of initially launching the business and building an audience.
Crowdfunding has been the right fit for us, as two working mums. It has created an opportunity for us to start a new business on our own terms and given us exposure for our product that we possibly couldn’t have got without it.
With Tracey now relocated in New Zealand, and two-hours ahead, planning the future of Dream Wonderland is a fusion of emailing and Skyping, working around bath-times, meal-times, often rushed, sometimes cancelled, usually with a tea or coffee in hand, and a child or two running around in the background. It’s been a crazy, fun, exhilarating experience, and often we’ve got other paid work running parallel. But I feel proud and passionate about what we are creating, and that in itself projects us forward and makes the juggling of work and motherhood worthwhile.
You can find her at www.dreamwonderland.com.au