No workplacelike home

A mother's work is never done, goes the old adage -- and that's especially true for the mothers who have turned their homes into their workplace.

From their kitchen tables, basements, and converted barns, women across the region have found ways to combine work and family by starting their own at-home businesses. They make jewelry, paint silk boots, sew stylish equestrian accessories, and much more

Mostly they funnel their artistic talents into successful home-based businesses that allow them to blend the best of both worlds.

Elizabeth Kissick of Cohasset started EK Designs Inc., making jewelry from home, after she had her first child. Now, in addition to being the mother of three (ages 9, 11, and 13), she is the boss of 27 employees and expects to hit $1 million in sales this year.

''When you're an artist, it's just in your blood," said Kissick. ''You're not satisfied until you are doing what you want to do. It's a feeling inside that you need to keep busy doing something that makes you happy."

Just how many women work at home is not known. But the Center for Women and Enterprise, whose membership is drawn from across Massachusetts, says that of its 2,200 clients, about a third do. Statewide census figures on how many women work at home are not available.

But examples abound locally. Duxbury resident Nancy Gallant-Bond, who has six children, owns Footloose Designs and makes hand-painted silk boots and scarves. Norwell resident Brenda Simon, owner of Horseysets, designs horse riding accessories. Lisa Berkin of Hingham creates elaborate container gardens.

Forty-one-year-old Berkin turned her gardening hobby into a business -- Lisa Berkin Designs -- after her husband died a year and a half ago from liver disease. ''When he was ill, the gardening became my therapy, and it just continued and evolved from that because I needed a job," said the mother of a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old. ''Since it's my own business, I can juggle the hours, and when the children are in school I can work and then I'm home for them."

Although many women leave the corporate world because they desire freedom, said Debbie Anders, executive director of the South Shore Women's Business Network, they don't always get it. Working from home is ''never as glamorous as it appears," she said. ''You have to be immensely disciplined to work from home. . . . You have to be passionate about the product and people. You have to be ambitious enough to get up in the morning and take your slippers off and get to work and also to leave the comfort of your home to sell."

22.1.06 16:09

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