Holly the founder of Rocks Design shares her Start Up Story

Holly the founder of Rocks Design shares her Start Up Story

I’ve followed Holly’s business, Rocks Design, on Instagram for sometime now and love seeing her business grow and develop. I know you are going to love her designs, just as much as I do and get ready to add loads to your wish lists! Settle in with a coffee (or any drink of choice) and read her Start Up Story….. psst and make sure you don’t miss the huge giveaway at the end!

My name is Holly, I was born in Cornwall but am now based in sunny Suffolk (apparently, the driest county in the UK – lucky, lucky me!) I have moved house 7 times in the last 11 years, not through choice, but I’ve loved it. I’m a mum to 3 year old Max and a military wife of an RAF PTI (Physical Training Instructor). The newest member of the family is Olive, she’s a miniature dachshund. She has more pep than a coffee with an extra shot. If you follow me on social media you’ll already be enjoying your weekly dose of ‘Sausage Spam.’

Tell us a little bit about your business 

I started my business properly, in 2015. I’m a trained Graphic Designer and I specialise in prints and cards. I LOVE to design for new babies AND us mums, because we need treats too! My business was triggered when my husband was deployed with the military for 6 months. Max had just been born so it was a bit of shock. So, off he went and there I was, a new mum, 6 hours from all family and our support networks, holding the forte. Right, OK. This was going to be a very long six months unless I did something to take my mind off him being away.

Once you had the idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?

Of course, I had Max and this was the most wonderful, wonderful thing. He was a dream. But, in reality we all know how hard and consuming a new baby can be without any escape of ‘me time’ or something for ourselves. Design has always been a huge part my world. So, I thought, I think I’m going to set up my own business, I’ll do it in six months, whilst Paul is away. From then, Love Island (2015 – guilty pleasure!), this crazy business goal and Max were plenty to get me through and keep me distracted. I was accepted onto notonthehighstreet.com on my 30th Birthday and my Etsy store was born a little after. My first orders started to trickle in and I was away!


What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

The hardest thing about running my own business is when tech breaks down! Although, my husband is fast becoming my in house IT helpdesk! I also really miss office cheer! The Starbucks, Dominoes, Twanger and Crème Egg runs. And just the general company of other colleagues and friends.

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without?

A dog walk first thing in the morning clears my head. One of the reasons why I wanted a dog was because my head was so consumed in work that I needed something else to help break up my day. She makes me stop to walk her, then I think, well I might as well have lunch now! Before I had Olive I would go a whole nine hours on just coffee, water and maybe a healthy homemade ‘make sure you drink your shake – it’s in the fridge’ shake.

I know from running this blog and my own online store that when you’re a primarily online based business you need a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

I LOVE Instagram, It’s the most creative platform in my opinion and I love seeing all my fellow business friends on there. I adore seeing how creative people can be with those tiny squares. It’s the best way to connect with my lovely followers too, I love hearing from them and being able to communicate and chat with them.


What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

The best part…I used to love working for other people because in a strange way I used to like being bossed around. I don’t know why. Working for myself is a whole different ball game, but I still boss myself around! I’m very hard on myself as I want my customers to have the best products and the best experience and service when they shop with me. One of my pinch me moments was when I bought Olive. I’ve wanted a dachshund for as long as I can remember. Because I now work from home, it seemed like the right time to sneak off without Paul knowing and go dog shopping. She sleeps in my office whilst I work. I also love that I can take time off without having to ask anyone. I still have to schedule it in and work really hard before and after any time off but, being able to pick and choose when I work is really lovely and gives me the freedom to spend time with my family whenever I want to.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Absolutely. Max is my whole world. Everything I do, I do for him. Your world changes when you have children and your priorities shift to a new dimension. I want him to have the loveliest life he can possibly have and grow up knowing that his mummy built a little magical empire for us all to enjoy, whilst bringing joy to other families with my work.


Running an online business must get overwhelming at times, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed?

Lists. I LOVE lists. I never used to write them and my days would turn into disorganised carnage. I have a huge white board in my office that Paul bought for me. Every Sunday I spend 30 minutes planning the following week. I set time limits too for each task. I use an online management system for most things but for some reason I like to physically write these big tasks down. I tick them off as I go then by the end of the week I know I’ve got everything done. I get so SO much more done now.

What’s your current favourite item or range in your store at the moment?

I love my ‘Hello’ little girls print. I love the colours and the words, I also love my rainbow prints that give you a little boost on those rainy Mondays.


Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

Just in time for Mother’s Day I’m launching my range of jumpers! 

You can see the range here – Mother’s Day


Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business?

You have to believe in yourself, you have to really believe. Have faith and follow your own path. Be yourself and try not to be influenced or swayed too much by others. Be true to your own passion. JFDI is something I always live by too. (Just Flipping Do IT) (some people insert a much ruder word in place of Flipping – whatever works for you!) I tend not to put things off now as I find they never get done, so I schedule it in, then I do it. Eat the frog…in other words do the hardest/most difficult thing  then the rest of the day will be filled with the lovely things ie. Not frogs. Twangers, Crème eggs and unicorns. Remember doing that when you were little? Always eating the sprouts and turnip first so you could then enjoy the reason why you sat down for roast.

As the Rizzlekicks once said ‘Skip to the good stuff’. Try not to be too hard on yourself and understand that it is a marathon not a sprint. And…you know, I also believe in ‘celebrate the little things’ It’s SO important. It took me a while to realise. WHAT? I can’t spend a penny of my hard earned cash on myself. No way! How dare I! It must go back in to the business. No. Every now and then treat yourself. You’re doing a fabulous, fabulous job. Give yourself a little pat on the back and you’ll realise and remember why you’re working so hard. It doesn’t have to be a Miniature Dachshund, it could be something that needs less commitment like chocolate or a new bathroom!



What fantastic advice to end on! Like Holly I’m a huge advocate of getting the tough stuff done first – Eating the frog- as well as celebrating the little things. In the spirit of treating ourselves and celebrating the little things Holly has kindly offered to giveaway £100 worth of Rocks Design prints of your choosing! What a fantastic prize, I wish I could enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Have a browse around Holly’s store


Twitter | Instagram | Facebook 


Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up there own businesses




get sharing


  1. Liam Bishop
    February 15, 2018 / 11:26 am

    Life is made up of experiences, just try and have as many as you can!

    Took me until my late 20s to finally understand and realise I’d basically spent the last 10 years of my life not doing much at all!

  2. Lucy
    February 15, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Things will always work out one way or another!

  3. Tony Metcalfe
    February 15, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Never give up.

  4. Alica
    February 15, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever!

  5. Joanne Benham
    February 15, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    Never give keep on trying!

  6. Tracy Nixon
    February 15, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once

  7. iain maciver
    February 15, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    be happy in whatever you do

  8. laura stewart
    February 15, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    my mum says to me let your kids learn from their own mistakes x

  9. Margaret Gallagher
    February 15, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself

    The older i get the more poignant it becomes

  10. Ren Taylor
    February 15, 2018 / 4:06 pm

    The best piece of advice was from my dad and he said “Live today as tomorrow doesn’t exist” and I know it doesn’t work for everyone but he died at 64 so it worked for him and I am taking his advice. … have fun!

  11. Mark Cameron
    February 15, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    when you get knocked back in life with something, bounce straight back

  12. Sarah Rees
    February 15, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    learn to listen – you will learn a lot

  13. clair downham
    February 15, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    hard work always pays off

  14. Kristy L Brown
    February 15, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    To never give up! It takes time and patience but keep going

  15. Ashleigh Allan
    February 15, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    To go with your instinct

  16. Chrissy Harris
    February 15, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    Always smile when meeting someone new as first impression count so much

  17. Nicola Tayler
    February 15, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    The best things in life come wrapped in small parcels

  18. Kelly Glen
    February 15, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Try your best.

  19. Lynsey Harvey
    February 15, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    treats people how you would like to be treated yourself

  20. Sarah Mackay
    February 15, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    Just go with the flow.

  21. February 15, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Always trust your gut instinct

  22. Lucy Barlow
    February 15, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    listen to your body – it tells you when you’re on the wrong path – and if you ignore it, it will take you down!

  23. Amanda tanner
    February 15, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    Live your life for today as you don’t know what tomorrow brings.

  24. Alison Johnson
    February 15, 2018 / 10:56 pm

    If you get knocked down by life, jump right back up.

  25. leanne weir
    February 15, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t

    February 15, 2018 / 11:22 pm

    To not think about the past or worry about the future but to just live in the moment i.e. to not stress! Fingers crossed! 🙂

  27. kerri copeland
    February 15, 2018 / 11:30 pm

    sty calm and breathe

  28. Penny H
    February 15, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    Trust your instincts, always. I’m with Holly, eat the frog first although I’ve never heard it that way before.

  29. Bob Clark
    February 16, 2018 / 7:50 am

    If you’ve got the money, then you don’t need to worry

  30. Kim Jackson
    February 16, 2018 / 8:48 am

    Not to overthink things and to be more positive. If something is bothering me, I take a step back to see the upside of things and to see it from a different perspective.

  31. Solange
    February 16, 2018 / 9:16 am

    Your success in life is largely dependent on how many uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.

  32. Cecily-Daisy Zorab
    February 16, 2018 / 9:39 am

    My mother once told me ‘Lower your expectations. Then everyday you will feel pride and joy when those expectations are surpassed.’
    I have taken that on bored especially since having the children. I don’t except tidy and peaceful but I embace the joy and happiness of the chaos.

    February 16, 2018 / 9:59 am

    The best advice i have been given is to take time out each day to look on the positives, write them down if its more helpful and that way you can concentrate on all the good things

  34. February 16, 2018 / 10:12 am

    The best (parenting) advice I’ve ever been given is that every child is different and they all grow and learn at their own rate. Stop comparing them. And I pass on this advice a lot.

  35. February 16, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Wow I love nothing more than Indie Prints, thanks for the link my lovely and how gorgeous are those jumpers xx

  36. David
    February 16, 2018 / 11:05 am

    Not to worry about the little things and safe your energy for the things that really matter

    February 16, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Believe in yourself

  38. Sheena Batey
    February 16, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Don’t worry it may never happen

  39. sarah h
    February 16, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to do what makes you happy and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks!

  40. Catherine Stewart
    February 16, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    You’ve got to get it right for the day it goes wrong!

  41. Bianca Corcoran
    February 16, 2018 / 5:16 pm

    Don’t compare yourself to others x

  42. Clare H
    February 16, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    to always believe in yourself

  43. February 16, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    I think the best piece of advice I’ve been given is to trust your instincts, celebrate the little moments and be bold, be brave, be you! xx

  44. helen tovell
    February 16, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Make the most of today because one day tomorrow never comes

  45. Hannah Wallington
    February 16, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    To keep trying.

    February 16, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    Always stay true to yourself

  47. Karen Barrett
    February 16, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    The whole wide world is there for the taking

  48. Michelle Smith
    February 16, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    Stop trying to fit everything into one day.

  49. Leila Benhamida
    February 17, 2018 / 10:15 am

    Don’t sweat the small stuff by my dad. Worries and stress decrease your lifespan

  50. Tasha
    February 17, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    Just be yourself

  51. Ruth Cooper-Jones
    February 17, 2018 / 11:59 pm

    Offered services stink. Realise and respect your own self worth.

  52. Pam Francis Gregory
    February 18, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Don’t sweat the small stuff

  53. lorraine kirk
    February 18, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Just keep putting one foot in front of another!

  54. laura banks
    February 18, 2018 / 11:27 am

    lifes what you make it

  55. C Parkin
    February 18, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    Best advice-everything seems easier after a good night’s sleep

  56. February 19, 2018 / 11:32 am

    To appreciate the ‘little things’ because ultimately they are what makes life that little bit more enjoyable

  57. Fiona Rennie
    February 19, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Believe in your dreams

  58. Stevie
    February 20, 2018 / 10:12 am

    My friend once told me you can buy mushy peas from Aldi for 15p. Happy days.

  59. Julie
    February 21, 2018 / 1:34 am

    Best piece of advice was to try and sleep when the baby sleeps.

    February 21, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Don’t hold a grudge, its not worth the energy

  61. Layla Reay
    February 22, 2018 / 10:19 am

    Beautiful Prints! Great Comp! Thank You!

  62. emma franklin
    February 24, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    My mum keeps telling me to live for the present rather than worrying about what might happen in the future.

  63. Natalie Crossan
    February 24, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    If a child hands you a toy phone, you answer it!

  64. David Banner
    February 24, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    Be yourself.

  65. February 25, 2018 / 11:49 am

    Best advice anyone ever gave me was from my mum: don’t hold onto regrets, today is what matters! …and of course, use the envelope necks on babygros 😉

  66. Ana Nowell
    February 26, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    Aim for the moon and if you fall you will fall amongst the stars

  67. michelle speight
    February 27, 2018 / 1:50 pm

    there is always someone worse off than you so keep your chin up

  68. Rich Tyler
    February 28, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    Make the most of every moment, nothing lasts forever

  69. Jen s Morgan
    February 28, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    That as a mum you must take time out to look after yourself. If your not healthy/happy how are you suppose to be a mum. So so true

  70. Rebecca Howells (@Regrash7)
    February 28, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    To be yourself and don’t worry so much what others think

    March 1, 2018 / 4:54 am


  72. MichelleD
    March 1, 2018 / 10:49 am

    Always be yourself!

  73. kirsty szekeres
    March 1, 2018 / 11:45 am

    Not to worry that people are looking at me or talking about me when I go somewhere (I used to suffer badly with anxiety because of this), because I am not that important, the world doesnt revolve around me. Sounds mean but it makes sense that people are generally too busy or dont actually care how you look aslong as you are a nice person. Really helped me think about the situation differently.

  74. Joanna Ford
    March 1, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    To live in the here and now. don’t worry about the past or the future, take every moment as it comes!

  75. katherine graham
    March 1, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    Dont leave the house on cross words, you dont know if they will be the last you say to each other – morbid but true!

  76. March 1, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves

  77. March 1, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    Try to get things wrong. You’ll learn why, how and when it was wrong. So when you do it again you can get it perfect.

  78. Georgina Prince was davies
    March 1, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    don’t judge a book by its covers lol cliche but true xx

  79. Michelle Newman
    March 1, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Don’t let anyone put you down

  80. lorraine polley
    March 1, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    be kind to yourself, there are enough people willing to do the opposite

  81. claire little
    March 2, 2018 / 1:37 am

    treat others how you want to be treated.

  82. Sharon Burroughs
    March 2, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Always be yourself no matter what others think

  83. March 2, 2018 / 9:55 am

    Make the most of every moment and both good and moments will pass .

  84. Rebecca Powell
    March 2, 2018 / 10:50 am

    Live in the moment

  85. March 2, 2018 / 2:30 pm

    Always be kind! It doesn’t matter if you arn’t the smartest, or the coolest just be kind!

  86. ruth lee
    March 2, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    life is what you make it

  87. Katie W
    March 2, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    dont worry about what others think of you

  88. Katie Barnes
    March 2, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    To take each day as it comes and not to worry about the past. There is nothing you can do to change it

  89. Kerry Smith
    March 2, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    Believe in yourself and trust your instinct

  90. Shaun Heathcote
    March 2, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    don’t walk up the stair in big monster slippers, you might fall.
    I walked up the stairs in my monster claw slippers, i fell

  91. Fiona Johnstone
    March 2, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    You will not get across the river just by looking at it.

  92. Nikola York
    March 2, 2018 / 9:10 pm

    Enjoy your children whilst they are going- they are not babies forever. ( love hugs from my 5 month old, 6 year old doesn’t want to know anymore!)

  93. Lisa Wilkinson
    March 2, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    It might be nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

  94. Maria Porter
    March 2, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    Always be kind.

  95. Victoria B
    March 2, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    Everything happens for a reason

  96. AdrianBold
    March 2, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    Never go to bed on an argument.

  97. Victoria Thurgood
    March 3, 2018 / 12:11 am

    Dont worry if others dont like you

  98. March 3, 2018 / 12:15 am

    dont be afraid to fail – because you can always try again

    March 3, 2018 / 2:29 am

    Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.

  100. Jennifer Baker
    March 3, 2018 / 3:51 am

    The best advice my Mother gave me was to never have a Plan B. She told me to stick to Plan A because if you have a Plan B you will inevitability fall back on it x x x

  101. March 3, 2018 / 7:32 am

    you can achieve anything you set your mind too

  102. Sarah Austin
    March 3, 2018 / 8:23 am

    People are only nasty when they are jealous

  103. Lisa Pope
    March 3, 2018 / 8:43 am

    Be honest in all your affairs.

  104. kayleigh dudley
    March 3, 2018 / 8:51 am

    nothing too deep, but my mum drilled in to me, never get a credit card.If there is something i need ensure i have savings or queston whether i want or need it. So valueble as i see so many people getting in to debt, and spiraling in to mental health problems

  105. Joanne Robinson
    March 3, 2018 / 9:23 am

    The past is for reference not residence x

  106. Lucy B
    March 3, 2018 / 9:51 am

    You have to choose to love

  107. Ruth Kromkamp
    March 3, 2018 / 11:52 am

    To go live in the Netherlands by my Dad – he told me I was brave and could do it. I met my husband out there and had my daughter and life has never been better 🙂

  108. Danielle Pooley
    March 3, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    To remember that tomorrow is a new day.

  109. Anya Sargent
    March 3, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Not to complicate my life. It is already hard.

  110. Avs
    March 3, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    Never be afraid to ask. They may say ‘no’ but then again they may say ‘yes’.

  111. carol Boffey
    March 3, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    never judge anyone

  112. LORNA Wils
    March 3, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    If you haven’t good to say, don’t say anthing,

  113. Donna W
    March 3, 2018 / 1:22 pm

    If you’re not happy with something, change it and if you can’t change it, learn to live with it.

  114. amanda greensmith
    March 3, 2018 / 2:47 pm

    you make your own luck

  115. Sheena Read
    March 3, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    Follow your instincts because they are usually 99.9% correct

  116. Sarah Taylor
    March 3, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    Follow your heart

  117. leighanne palfrey
    March 3, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    when life hands you lemons add them to gin ! theres always someone worse off so make the best of a bad situation 🙂

  118. sharon martin
    March 3, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    try to learn from your own mistakes and never eat yellow snow 🙂

  119. Sarah Heath
    March 3, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    Just take life one day at a time

  120. Laura Lee
    March 3, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    Best advice was always to believe in yourself and you can achieve or at least give it a damn good try 🙂

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