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A Fine Choice Ltd

What’s your business called?

A fine choice ltd and a fine choice photography

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I started off with setting up an online shop for reusable eco products,
needed product images and became a photographer 4 years after setting up my
initial business.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

2010, when my youngest was a year I started watching out for ideas. I wanted
to do something that worked around my three young kids (they were 1, 3, 4
when I started) and also something I am passionate about. I always liked
toxin free products but couldn’t always find them in the UK which got me
thinking I should import products which I can’t get here.

How did you find your start up?

Well, I had to buy 5500 stainless steel bottles upfront. It was a huge
investment and took a lot of consideration and research. I did lots of
project management before I had kids so writing a business plan was straight
forward. I am also a positive person. At no point I had any doubts once the
calculation and research bit was done.

How do you manage working around your children?

I love it! I love working when they are in school and I love not working
when they are at home or on holidays. The only thing they used to complain
about was going to the post office when they were on holidays. I had to drop
off my orders. I said to them: would you prefer me having a full time job
and you going to a holiday camp? So spending 10 mins at the post office
before doing a day out was their accepted choice.

Can you describe a typical day?

I never call my work “work” as I am passionate about both business. I do
what I feel is right in that particular moment. I love editing images after
I had a photo shooting. It’s great to give people some memories and get some
lovely feedback on the images they like most. I also love doing some SEO and
realising (after a while) it has helped with my ranking for my eco products.
On a typical day I do a bit of everything, I love variety and could never do
a job where I had to do the same stuff all day long.

What have you found hardest?

Over the last 5 years I found out that direct selling is really not in my
nature. I love having an online shop where people can have a browse and
order if they are interested. It means I don’t have to call them and
convince them of the benefit of BPA free products and the benefit for the
environment. Initially I did a lot of b2b and called up companies to see if
they wanted to stock my products. I hated it and still hate it. I got an
agent to do my job and switched my business to mainly retail instead of
wholesale so now I don’t need to do any cold calling anymore.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Flexibility, happy people, doing something for the environment, your own
income, working around kids and showing them by doing so that you can do a
lot if you really want to.

What are your plans for the future?

I think everything falls in place by itself. Not sure what the future brings
but I would probably try to add more products to my current product range
and for my other business extend the portfolio into wedding photography
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Trust yourself. You can do it but only do things you really like. Don’t
spend too much money on advertising. And yes, it will take a while to set
up a business properly so hold on and don’t give up easily.
Maybe find a nice networking group (there are free ones out there) do bounce
off ideas.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I absolutely love being self-employed. I can’t even imagine going back to a
9-2-5 job in an office. Working together with people I choose has many
positive benefits. That’s it for now

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Mumpreneur Story: Apples & Pips

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Hannah, I’m married to Phil and we have two children. Toby is 2 and was born in July 2014, then our daughter Martha joined us 6 months ago in May 2016.

What’s your business called?

It’s an online shop called Apples & Pips

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Hand picking the best products for parents, babies and toddlers

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I’ve been self employed since February 2015 when my maternity leave ended and I handed my notice in at work. I was working as a freelance blogger, copywriter and social media manager but the niggle to own my own business grew and grew. After Martha’s birth I decided to go for it and with my husband’s full support (and several months of building it!) Apples & Pips launched in October.

How did you fund your start up?

Because of how I’m working I’ve actually not had to put too much money in up front. My husband is a graphic designer and web designer so I told him what was in my head and he made it into reality. The main up front costs have been a template for the website, business cards and leaflets and money for store vouchers as giveaways during my launch party and that money just came from our household finances.

How do you manage working around your children?

Badly! Toby goes to nursery twice a week and stays overnight at my mum and dad’s once a week too so I have about 3 1/2 days a week where it’s just Martha and I. It was pretty easy when she was a newborn but at 6 months old she obviously needs more play time and stimulation now and I am struggling to juggle her needs, work and household chores.

My plan is to create a daily schedule and literally divide each day into time slots for everything from working to eating, chores and socialising. I’ll let you know how I get on!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

As I’ve mentioned, this has become harder for me to balance lately, but a ‘normal’ work day goes a bit like this:
9am: I drop Toby at nursery. Martha sleeps on the way home so I sit in the car on the driveway and catch up on emails and social media.
10-12: I’ll generally alternate between precariously balancing my laptop on my lap or the arm of the sofa whilst I’m feeding Martha, working whilst she plays in her various chairs/bouncers/play mats and playing with her.

12-1: When Martha has her second nap I try to grab some lunch and do a bit of housework.

1-3:30: Much the same as the morning, processing orders that have come through, scheduling social media updates, blogging and looking after Martha before we head out at half 3 to pick Toby up.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

Time is my biggest challenge because I know that a business doesn’t grow on its own and customers don’t just appear out of thin air.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

As challenging as it can be, I love that I work around the kids, that there’s no pressure to stop breastfeeding Martha so that she can go to nursery, I can drop off and pick up Toby and I will get out what I put in.

What are your plans for the future?

10% of my profits are donated to MAMA Academy, a charity which works tirelessly to reduce the UK’s stillbirth rate and help more babies to be born safely. The rest is staying in my business account and my plan for the near future is to start buying stock in of the most popular products (I currently sell on a drop ship basis). Long term I’d love to produce a few products of my own such as candles, stationery and maybe even baby clothes designed by Phil.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Expect a hell out a lot of work for very little return at first. Running your own business is not a quick way to earn money and not is it easy, but if you prepare to put the work in and be strict with your time and your money then it’s amazing to see the fruits of your labour start to flourish.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Only that I adore my shop, that I’ve had amazing feedback and it’s my third baby so if anyone wants to look for gorgeous products and gifts for a parent, baby or toddler then go and check it out.

www.applesandpips.co.uk
www.facebook.com/applesandpips
www.twitter.com/applesandpips
www.instagram.com/applesandpips

Working mum

MMB Magazine

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Abbie Coleman I have a family of 5 which consists of my husband James a
chartered surveyor, my little boy who is 3 next month Kimi (Yes we have an
F1 fan in the family!) and two jack Russel’s called lily and Keith.

What’s your business called?

MMB Magazine

Can you describe it in one sentence?

The modern working mothers website

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I think the day I had my son as I had been a entreprenuer so once he was
born my business thinking had to fit around him.

How did you fund your start up?

Self-funded through my other business a recruitment company that I started 6
years ago.

How do you manage working around your children?

At first I didn’t, I love being at work and felt comfortable being there as
I know my little boy goes to the most fantastic nursery and enjoys his time
there. I also ran my own business so was back in the office after an
emergency C section within 8 weeks so had to adapt quickly. But I didn’t
find my groove for 15 months, as like most find childcare is expensive and
we didn’t have family close by. My issue was that I didn’t separate my time
effectively trying to do everything all the time and work started to
override my time with my son.

When he was a baby it was great he could come to meetings and to be fair
slept through them, or slept in my office while I worked but try taking a 2
year old to a meeting or in an office…………. I finally just broke
down. I had been all geared up to take Kimi out to a special play date and
a work call came in so all plans cancelled. I felt so torn between work, and
not giving or having time with Kimi and god forbid any time just for me. It
was then I took a step back and separated my time, I now work Monday to
Thursday and Fridays are me and Kimi days and I haven’t lost a single client
from saying sorry I don’t work Fridays. But I have gained peace of mind and
quality time with my son.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do
you manage your time?

I am up and out by 7am to the office and my husband drops my son off at
nursery. Yesterday I caught up with Gail Emms the Olympian who had just
talked at our senior MMB forum event in Leeds and posted her interview with
us, handled our social media and mmb card request from our readers. Then I
attended the Women In Sports conference at Leeds First Direct and met Sean
Jarvis Director of Huddersfield football club, Rebecca Gallantree, GB diver
back from Rio, Kadeena Cox World record holder and Paralympic champion. And
got involved in the debate about women in sport and championed our bloggers
who were on the panel discussion. I then rushed over the other side of Leeds
for a meeting about a senior peer to peer group we are setting up with MMB
and spoke with two amazing business people in their field on how we make
this happen. Back at the office I took two jobs for my recruitment business
and placed two fabulous candidates. Filmed spraying spray nail varnish for
our article on working mum beauty hacks by Harvey Nichols, the office is now
a sort of gold shimmer and so is Liz my colleague……….don’t ask!.
Emailed to check all our attendees had details for our Space NK MMB night
this Friday. Went in to meet a fabulous international law firm about coming
on board with MMB magazine for career part time roles. Got some dates set
for a business in the North part time conference we are running in 2017.
Grabbed the bus home played dinosaurs danced to octanaughts, tucked my
little boy up then started writing my speech for an event on working mothers
rights in the work place and career progression and on an article for a fab
new child safety product we have just found out about and love!!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome
them?

Starting an online magazine was brand new to me with a lot of learning
curves. I guess for me keeping my eye on the goal and not getting distracted
from our end goal, I did this by having a fabulous network of strong working
women by my side who may challenge me but never doubt my ability to do
something. I would also advocate having a fabulous mentor in business and in
your personal life.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Independence as a woman

What are your plans for the future?

To keep growing our brand, we want to get more and more MMB card
subscribers and readers so we can ultimately change the landscape of part
time jobs into part time careers and get more businesses on board with us
and talking to make this happen. I would love to be a part of changing the
term working mother after all how often do you hear the term working father?

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Do your math, know what you have to bring in to survive and cover your costs
then physically write down how you bring that in and what it takes. Saying
you need 5k a month or you want your business to do 200k in its first year
is great but good business is knowing how you physically achieve that and
where it will come from. By doing this it sometimes opens up new revenue
ideas or stops you making a very expensive mistake.

www.mmbmagazine.co.uk

@leedsworkingmum
Facebook MMB – The Modern Working Mothers Magazine

 

Mumpreneur business: COOL Leggings

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Sandra. I am a Latvian girl, married and currently living in Italy, sunny Sardinia island. I’m a young mommy (34) of two boys. Damien just turned two and has started to go to kindergarten. Alexander is just three months old and is 24/7 with his mommy 🙂

What’s your business called?

My business is called COOL Leggings.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I always say it’s Fit.Fashion.Fun- handmade and hand painted leggings, yoga pants and beanies.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I started out my company couple of years before I became a mom. When I moved to Sardinia, I found it hard to buy cool leggings- something different, something original and fun. That is why I started to make them myself. My friends saw them, they liked them and they started ordering from me. That is when I understood, that this can actually work and I opened my Etsy shop.

How did you fund your start up?

I started with very little. I borrowed a sewing machine from my mother in law and made only couple of designs. When I started selling, I bought my own, much better overlock sewing machine, that is still with me. At that time I was teaching English in several schools, so I had money to invest in some fabric, fabric ink and brushes.

How do you manage working around your children?

My friend asked me the same question the other day. I just do it. Now, when Damien goes to kindergarten, it is easier. But before I just went to my working room with both kids, gave Damien spools to make castles (or to make general mess), Alex in the buggy, and that’s how I am working more or less. It takes some nerves at times, cause they constantly distract you, but hey- you get used to everything. 🙂

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

Usually we wake up around half 7. I get Damien ready for kindergarten and my husband brings him there. Then I do what I need to do around the house- cleaning, ironing, shopping etc. Once that is done, I get to work and have couple of hours for my business. Then it’s lunchtime and I need to prepare lunch. After lunch Damien comes back home and goes to sleep. Afternoon is, when I dedicate myself to Etsy and social media (if I don’t have any orders to work on). When Damien’s up, I still try to work, if he’s calm. Otherwise we just stay together, play or watch cartoons etc. Then it’s dinner time, baby bathing and sleep. That’s a very typical day lately.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

I like to challenge myself. I am always thinking of new and better designs, improving my skills etc.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I always say- the more you do, the more you can do. I love being a mommy and I love doing what I love. It’s amazing that it is actually possible to join both of these things. Since I have my boys, I have also come up with mommy and me matching leggings, which have great success.

What are your plans for the future?

I have never ending plans for the future. First is to keep improving my Etsy shop and making it to perfection, in order to increase the sales. I would love to take fashion designer course, specific sewing classes, take part in local markets, offer my products to local boutiques etc.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

The success doesn’t come in a day. You need to believe it and keep on going also, if the sales are slow at times. Retail is a tricky business with its ups and downs, seasonal things etc. It is important to move ahead, never stop- every little step counts.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I just wanted to say that I love your blog and I follow it.

Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/coolleggings
My blog: coolleggings.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/coolleggings

Mumpreneur Business: Great Little Rewards

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hello, my name is Katie and I am Mum to two boys aged 13 & 8, a mini daschund called Monty and two cats and am married to John – life is busy!

What’s your business called?

My business is called Great Little Rewards (GLR)

Can you describe it in one sentence?

We aim to provide engaging pocket money toys and fun activities for young learners – we import from the USA, Japan and, of course, source from the UK as well

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I started GLR alongside a four day a week job in 2011 and have worked on it full time since April of this year

How did you fund your start up?

With my savings

How do you manage working around your children?

I started working full time on GLR from April 2016, before this I had been working on it part-time. It is tricky balancing work and my family, especially during the school holidays. I work school hours during term time and then log on again once they have had dinner and done their homework. I find it challenging to be disciplined enough not to be distracted by constant emails/calls and to be present for the children, but am getting better at managing my time.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

A typical school day is that I get up around 6:30am and check my email. I then get the children (and pets!) sorted out and start work properly from around 9:15 onwards. We have several large Clients and I spend at least the first hour or so following up with them to make sure that we are providing everything they need – we aim to provide outstanding service. We are launching a new concept (www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus) and are looking for interested Mums and other Partners at the moment, so I am spending a lot of time trying to plan that and to make sure our communication is right. We are also developing a GLR capsule range and I’ve been busy managing everything from the design to the stock control for that. We have a warehouse in the beautiful Lake District and I liaise with the team up there every day to make sure we are in good shape and have enough of everything we need. Planning takes up a lot of time!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

It is very easy to think that what sounds simple as a concept is simple in reality! My natural style is to have ideas and to leap to action immediately without thinking through all the details of what is involved. I have to force myself to plan and to break down the ‘big idea’ into simple steps and milestones which help us achieve our goals – I am now doing this much more consciously! I have also found it tricky to work at home full-time and to clearly separate home life from business life as, if you are not disciplined, the two blend together and you never switch off and the family can suffer as a result. Another challenge is to ensure I actually pay myself something! Whilst it is relatively easy to turn over money, it is very tempting to re-invest everything you earn and to never take any income, which is difficult if you are relying on it to pay your bills!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love, love, love what I am doing now. I am my own boss, I work flexibly and can fit around my family’s needs. The opportunities for success are only limited by my imagination and creativity and I love that!

What are your plans for the future?

We have big plans for growth. We have just launched www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus and we think that is a really exciting concept for anyone who likes our products and wants to earn extra income in a fun way. The margins we have created are unrivalled. We are also working on some large contracts for 2017 and are very excited about those.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Believe in yourself – if you want it enough you can do it but break down what you need to do into ‘baby steps’. It can be overwhelming to think of that you need a complete website, for example, so start small – maybe start with a single page and grow from there.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I think I’ve covered everything – I also started www.sniftyfundraising.co.uk a couple of years ago but have struggled to get much interest in that, although I believe it is a unique and great offer (guess I would think that, though!)

www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk
www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus
www.sniftyfundraising.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/greatlittlerewards/

Feeling inspired to start your own business? Have a look at The Business for Mums cour

Itchy Baby

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I’m Andrea, I live with my partner Ian who is an Artist and our 3 children Fay, Josh and Zak.

I became a Mum almost 10 years ago to our first daughter Fay, 2 years later there was Josh, and now we have Zak as well who is almost two and a half.

What’s your business called?

My business is called ‘Itchy Baby’ www.itchybaby.co.uk

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Itchy Baby is a parent to parent website aimed at bringing together and helping parents who’s infants are suffering with eczema.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

It all happened by accident when my 2nd baby Josh developed atopic eczema at 4 months old.
It turned our lives upside down; I had no idea what distressing and frustrating condition eczema in babies could be.

Sleep deprived and going a little bit crazy I took matters into my own hands and got to the bottom of what was making my baby so itchy (mainly contact reaction to detergents we were using in our home).
As I got his skin back to normal it occurred to me that my experience and knowledge was worth sharing so that inspired the first Itchy baby website.

The itchy baby shop came about from the website as more and more parents contacted me asking what products I had used and were I had got them from.

I was pretty lucky to have a group of mum friends that I had met on an online birth forum with my first daughter, we had become firm and supportive if somewhat distant friends. We chatted daily and freely bounced ideas of each other, and shared experiences of parenting, work and life in general. Without their support I’m not sure I would have had the confidence or know how to accomplish what I did.

How did you fund your start up?

I started off on a very tight budget, and my total set up money was £600! £200 of which was my own money, £200 my partners and my Dad put in £200 🙂

I built my first website myself, with a hand from Goggle and a how-to website and I had a friend host it for me.

When I expanded to incorporate our shop I was lucky one of my friends had already set up a shop and knew a small company (now sadly closed down) called WHAM which offered very competitive shopping cart set ups and advise to Mums starting their own business.

How do you manage working around your children?

This is always a challenge and it definitely has its ups and downs. I’m still a small company and do as much as I can myself.
My PC lives in our front room and I work around playing children! When my eldest 2 were young they would play together and this gave me the time to work while still being in the room watching them. This kind of worked OK till baby number 3!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

I don’t think there is a typical day!
An ideal ‘working’ day is kids at school, dog walked by 10, an hr or so sorting web stuff, emails and wholesale orders then order packing and Post Office trips before pick up, play dates, after school clubs, homework and house work.

A more typical day is a mish-mash of website emergencies, tripping over toys, being late for everything and trying to have telephone conversations over the top of ‘Blaze and the Monster machines ‘ vs a toddler tantrum. 😉

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

Time! That and having my 3rd wonderful but crazy baby. Things were going great until I changed my shop website back in the Autumn of 2013, my sales instantly plummeted and my hits dropped a little too…. but I was fairly heavily pregnant at the time, and my main focus was on getting ready for Baby and coping with SPD (hips falling apart due to baby in tummy!) I knew thing were not right with the business but it was too painful to sit still long enough to do anything about it.

It turned into a bit of a blessing in disguise as there is no way I could have continued to run my business as busy as it was an also look after my new baby, but the down side was…. I lost what I’d built up over the years as there was none to step into my role and take control of what I had been doing. So the business was very much on the back burner for 2 and half years while I became mainly a full time mum to a toddler who’s siblings were at school.

Overcome, well – I’m not quite there yet, Time will tell… Zak (baby 3) starts nursery in September so my current aim is to try and get back to where I was in 2013 – the internet moves fast so I have a lot of learning and catching up to do.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

When everything goes well 🙂 House is clean, I’m on top of all my work and I can spend fun time with the kids!

It’s also really lovely to get feedback from parents I’ve helped, to hear their thanks and know you have helped to make a difference for a baby and their family makes everything all very worthwhile.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to see Itchy Baby doing well again, the shop turning over enough to give me a working wage and the site and information being available to everyone who needs it. I’d love for the business to continue to grow and I would like to be able to add our own range of organic sleep suits and bedding.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

It’s not always glamorous but if you believe in something and enjoy doing it then it’s worth putting in the effort to make it work and look for support net-works it really helps to have people you can go to with questions.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I think what you are doing is great. It’s not easy for Mums to go out to work and cover the costs of child care and it’s not easy to set yourself up in business either. Being self-employed can be quite insular and very hard work and having a network of people who have had similar experiences can be a real life line.

www.itchybaby.co.uk
https://twitter.com/itchybaby
https://uk.pinterest.com/itchybaby/
https://www.instagram.com/itchybaby/

Shanael

Tell us your name and a bit about your family?

I am Elodie Malek, French mum of two little girls 3,5 and 2 years old,
been living in London for 9 years

When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I became a mum in 2013 to Naomi.

What’s your business called?

I am the founder of Shanael.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

The online concept store for babies, kids and mums in the UK.
We select only the best quality and trendy designs at affordable
prices specialising in gifts, furniture and decoration.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I became a Mumpreneur few months after becoming a mum, I was looking
for furniture for my baby and decoration for her bedroom, and I could
not find anything I like, that when I thought about this business.
Also my dad inspired me, he is a very smart webmaster so when I left
banking, I really wanted to create a website with him.

How did you fund your start up?

We took some risks and fund all with our savings.

How do you manage working around your children?

Working with my kids around is not easy, a bit stressful sometimes.
But I love being my own boss so if my kids are sick or if the nanny
cannot come, I am here, being able to be there for my children
whenever they need me. That also imply often working at night from 9pm
till 1am, and weekends and on vacation, I guess that is the price to
pay.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done,
how do you manage your time?

Typical day, I wake up and we all have breakfast together with my kids
and my husband. Then my daughters go to nursery, and I can start
working. I try to take a break outside for lunch when possible to get
some fresh air, sometimes I forget to take a break to eat, not great.
I can work till 4pm usually, then I take my kids to the playground or
the library when it is raining and we read stories, we play for two
hours, this is my quality time with them. Then busy hours are dinner
time at 6pm and bath time, potty/nappy change, we brush teeth, read a
story, big cuddle, I tell them how much I love them and say good
night. Then I have a quick dinner with my husband and sometimes I
continue my work, answer emails, and do conference call with my dad
“the webmaster” in France. Of course I try to get some romantic time
for just my husband and I, I am also a wife 🙂

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

I have found frustrating to work so hard for years and not being able
to get any salary because all the money that we make has to be
reinvested.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

The best thing about being Mumpreneur is trying to be a great mum and
an inspiration for my kids. I also feel proud to have created
something from scratch.

What are your plans for the future?

Develop Shanael in the UK, in France, in USA.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

I would tell them that it is very hard, long and to be patient, it is
rewarding in the long run, just keep faith in you and in what you love
and in what you do.

www.shanael.com
info@shanael.com
+44 (0)2036375065
Follow us Instagram @shanael_store
Follow us Twitter @shanael_store
Follow us Pinterest @shanael_store
Follow us Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Shanael-232011570255839/

Piccolo gifts

Piccolo Gifts

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hello, my name is Jo and I live in Bristol with my husband and three small children, Emelia, Henry and baby Bonnie. I first became a Mum in late 2011 and most recently just 4 months ago – our home is quite lively just now!

What’s your business called?

My business is Piccolo Gifts – Piccolo means “little” in Italian. Little gifts for little people – making beautiful spaces and delighted little faces.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Piccolo Gifts focuses on finding children’s gorgeous dual purpose gifts for play and display – carefully chosen toys, stationery and decor that are fun filled, colourful, decorative and great for learning – no more hiding lovely toys and gifts away in the toy box – our gifts make a child’s special space even more perfect than before.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I launched Piccolo Gifts in May 2014 while on maternity leave with Henry. It’s hard to pinpoint what inspired me as it was and is so many things – experience managing and growing other people’s businesses, the potential to have a flexible ‘wrap around’ job with a young family, seeing other successful business people who have made their dream a reality…there are so many inspirations I couldn’t begin to name them all.

How did you fund your start up?

I began Piccolo Gifts very frugally – my brother works in website creation and an E-commerce platform was another string to his portfolio bow so thankfully he manages this side of the business.
I used some savings for my initial stock rather than a loan… to avoid being tied to repayments and the pressure of interest and debt so it has been another challenge of the experience to grow as organically as possible while dabbling in paid advertising to see what works best. As I had a young baby and a toddler I really didn’t want too much financial pressure and overheads so that if I needed to slow down or press pause, I could without worrying about repayments.

How do you manage working around your children?

It’s a big (possible THE biggest) challenge of the business – a lot of Mums feel the guilt factor and a lot of business owners know that finding the off switch is tricky when the business is your own.
I often feel conflicted between the balance of my attention on parenting and Piccolo…it’s a juggle. Emelia and Henry have mornings at preschool and Bonnie has naps so I try to capitalise on that time – when they’re here I’m Mum…when they’re at school / asleep I put my business hat on. It’s never that black and white though – there are overlaps and it’s a real struggle sometimes. My business is all about family and children – including mine! It’s easy to become a bit blinkered because there is always so much and so many things to do but I’m not superhuman and my kids know that, I like to keep it real.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

I wake (am woken) far too early, we get ready and have breakfast before I browse emails while getting ready for the school run. I get order updates and process any orders that have popped up overnight. I have a 10 am cut off for daily dispatch so I can get going to the post office and send parcels as quickly as possible to happy little people. I love to package and present beautifully and it takes me ages because I’m a perfectionist but the thought of a happy customer getting a gorgeously gift wrapped present is really special for me – I love getting customer feedback and it almost always mentions the packaging! When orders have been dispatched it’s all about admin – reordering, sourcing products, accounts, records. It’s taken me a while to get used to this as it isn’t fun or interesting but it saves a mammoth job at the end and a few minutes a day is so worthwhile.
I’m still new to all of the day to day details of growing a business and the online world changes so fast – I am learning every day, sometimes without realizing but also by reading business Blogs and Elearning.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

Challenges are a constant – some are wonderful and others more difficult to navigate.
Social media marketing has been a big learning curve. I’d say I’m a bit of a novice and still gaining confidence on these platforms and it has always felt like I was putting myself “out there” which didn’t come naturally. I was given some great advice which was simply – be yourself, don’t pretend to be bigger, funnier, more experienced…. People like to buy from people… and being myself is what makes my business unique because I choose the gifts that I would love to give and receive and I hope others will too!

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you”. Dr Seuss.

The constant learning, the work / life balance, the ongoing effort to drive website traffic and let the world know that Piccolo Gifts is here, it’s all a challenge and there is always so much more that I could be doing if only there were more hours (and I didn’t have 4 very lovely distractions). A big challenge for me and many others I’m sure is the guilt factor…. Having a business does often feel a little selfish, it’s my outlet, my other identity and my sanctuary too, it’s also a huge pressure sometimes.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

One of the best things about being a Mum and in business is the community and support among like minded people in similar situations. I don’t always ‘put myself out there’ so being a mother has given me something in common with a lot of new people who are doing all sorts of wonderful things – I have made some great news friends in recent years. Engineering work around my family life is really helpful and I have designed a business that is child related so it’s helpful to be a mum and have an insight into children’s wants and needs (my three have acquired quite a few toys too!). It’s so special to be working around living our lives and that privilege isn’t lost on me…my children gave me the confidence to take this leap, my maternity leave was an opportunity and each day I get to experience the family as well as my own business so it’s the best of both.

What are your plans for the future?

My business plans are to continue to increase the variety of toys and nursery décor – incorporating lighting, cushions, decorative, colourful and textured garlands, new brands and all sorts of gorgeousness to enrich a child’s special environment.
Personally, to hone business processes and become more efficient so there is less leakage into family time, to keep learning professionally and personally and to make the most of this precious time… Emelia starts her school career in September and Henry will begin the following year – it’s all going so fast.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

A few bits of advice …. Firstly of course – be yourself! Secondly, get a mentor, they are not always who you might expect but they are invaluable and a great sounding board. Finally, be SMART and I mean NLP SMART – spend time doing your business plans and SMART objectives to the smallest minutiae NLP style where you literally document every detail for your goals, this will help you decide whether your venture is viable, whether it’s worth the risk and most importantly whether it is the right choice for you and your family.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have learned so much over the last couple of years – more than ever before both professionally and personally, the main thing is to just go for it if the opportunity arises to become your own boss. It’s essential to do some planning, especially if you require funding, but you will never be able to plan it all and if you try to, chances are you will just never get started. When you take the first step, the journey really begins and whether it succeeds or fails you will learn so much along the way it’s never going to be a waste of your time and energy.

https://www.piccologifts.co.uk
Twitter @piccologifts
https://www.instagram.com/piccologifts/
https://www.facebook.com/piccologifts/

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Mum working on her franchising

Taylor’d Bundles

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Caz Taylor and I’m the owner and founder of Taylor’d Bundles. I became a Mum for the first time on 1st July 2011 to the lovely Florence and it was over the days after her arrival that the idea for Taylor’d Bundles came to me. Since then, we have also welcomed another little bundle to the family called Elliott who has only recently turned 1. I’m married to a wonderful man called James and we all live in our cottage in Hampton Hill.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Taylor’d Bundles – the name is a bit of a play of words (and spelling) as each of the gift sets we create, are all curated by myself and have the ability to be personalised in a variety of ways.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Taylor’d Bundles is a maternity gifting service that offers our customers bespoke gifts sets to help mark and celebrate new Mums and baby’s safe arrival, all of which are created and delivered within 7 working days or less.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

Over the years, I had organised many maternity leave gifts for colleagues, friends, family and clients. What was available was becoming all too predictable and not personal enough, I was always looking for a gift that was to be remembered for all the right reasons but felt that was available was becoming a little too predictable and wasn’t going to make the impression we were after. So when we received a vast range of beautiful handmade and personalised gifts to celebrate Florence’s safe arrival, my mind was opened up to a world of bespoke and truly thoughtful gifts that got me thinking about creating a business that offered exactly that. Gifts that went that extra mile, that genuinely showed thought, effort and love that no one else would own. It took me 2 years to find the right makers, products and to create processes that would ensure we could offer gifts with a short turn around time, not the long lead times that are normally associated with quality handmade gifts. Bundles began to be sold and the overwhelming positive feedback and sales made me think that it was time to leave the day job, and go it alone so on the 1st May 2014, the website went live and bundles were to be sold in 2 locals shops too. 2 years on the business is going great guns, we are growing year on year, we have a wealth of large corporates we work alongside creating it maternity gifts for and we have a 3 year plan that looks very exciting and can’t wait to see whether the plans take us.

How did you fund your start up?

During the 2 years it took for me to find the right makers and products, I saved to fund the business and marketing myself. I’m in a fortunate position to own the business outright and as I’m surrounded by Accountants (Dad and Husband), my accounts are kept a close eye on which has also enabled me to plan within my limits.

How do you manage working around your children?

I tend to work and plan in the evening and weekends but a lot of my social media is planned in advance to cover me when days are busy or when I’m out with the kids or at meetings. I also have a very supportive family and friend network too who help out too.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
As soon as I wake up I check social media and email and then make my list for the day for anything that needs to be responded too ASAP. When Elliott takes his naps during the day, I spend these hours checking orders, fulfilling orders, ordering and managing stock and talking with the collaborators about plans and their businesses too. I have a monthly plan of what I plan to promote and talk about and like to actively support my collaborators in all they do too. Once the kids are in bed, I finish anything off that’s left to do from the day and spend a lot of the evening searching the Internet for more makers, events and fill my planner with new ideas and projects for the coming months. I truly love what I do, and very rarely does it feel like a chore working on Taylor’d Bundles – the makers, the products, the feedback, the customers, they all keep me highly motivated which I feel incredibly grateful for every single day.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

The unpredictability of sales was a struggle at the beginning meant one month I would be sending out hundreds of bundles, when another I may be sending out less than one hundred. The business costs me a certain amount each month, so for the first year, it was the priority to ensure that the business didn’t cost me anything to run so it was when I was approached by a large corporate to pitch for their maternity gifts, this opened up the answer to my problem. We now work with a large range of corporates organising their maternity leave gifts for their staff and clients so now I can forecast stock accurately and love the fact I am offering a solution to the issue that I had when I organised gifts such as these myself.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Working your socks off and directly reaping the rewards. Sharing wonderful feedback with the collaborators who created the gifts is so brilliant and to be able to directly support the design talent we have in the UK is a great feeling.

What are your plans for the future?

We have a 2 huge projects for 2017 that we are working on at the moment that will help grow the business enormously. Whilst I can’t say anymore than that, what I can say is there will be be more products, makers and collaborations for the business that I’m so excited about. Watch this space…

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Create a business that you have a genuine interest in and use any existing skills you have as much as you can, in as much as you can. Your experience helps to drive you when times are hard.

www.taylordbundles.co.uk
www.instagram.com/taylordbundles
www.facebook.com/taylordbundles
www.twitter.com/tayl0rdbundles

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Mum running a food business skills while parenting

The Whole Nine Months

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Lauren, I’m a mum of 4. The first being born in 1996 when I was a young mum at 23 and the last being born 2012 when I became an old mum. I have Stanley (20) Jess (boy 17) Darcy (girl 12) and Ace (4)

I sometimes find motherhood challenging and I’ve finally learnt that that’s ok

What’s your business called?

The Whole 9 Months

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Boxes of Loveliness for Modern Mums to be

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I started out only a couple of months ago with this business but I have been a doula for 4 years, supporting pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and birth. And I noticed how often the mum gets left behind in the excitement of having a new baby and all focus tends to go onto the newborn. I think pregnancy is a time where mums to be should feel considered, nurtured and celebrated so I put together carefully thought out gift boxes to do just that.

How did you fund your start up?

I’m really enjoying it (most of the time). It’s exciting and nerve racking all at the same time but my passion for making pregnant women feel good overrides my worries. It’s hard work but I know it’s needed.

How do you manage working around your children?

I work late nights, early mornings and in between the school run and the house, but I manage. It’s easier when it’s something you love doing (the business not the housework)
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

Today, I cleaned the downstairs loo before breakfast, done the school run, cut the lawn, met a couple of ladies for networking, done some work at the desk, cleaned another bathroom, done some washing, done another school run and back at my desk for a bit before dinner. I just seem to fit things in where I can, it works.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

I find running my own business quite isolating at times, when them times hit I either arrange to meet a friend or go to a cafe and be around people, just people watching. I also find the responsibility for decision making hard and when that happens I tune into my instincts, they usually give me the answer.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Working around my family and feeling like I’m helping other women feel good, the women buying gifts for friends feel good, the women receiving the gifts feel good, in turn I feel good. I like being a positive role model to my kids and contributing financially.

What are your plans for the future?

To grow the business to a recognisable trusted brand. To grow my community, and to keep loving what I’m doing.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Get a good business mentor, it can be lonely at times and scary at others, having someone who you can discuss things with and find solutions whilst being supported is really special and important. You can’t know all their is to know about running a business and that’s ok, so it’s a great idea to get someone on board who does.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m a keen blogger, I blog for Huffington Post and on my business’ website, my doula one and The Whole 9 Months. I like The Kardashians, wine and sleep, usually in that order.

www.thewhole9months.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/thewhole9months/

https://twitter.com/Whole9Months

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