Heather’s gift business Ollie Collie, was launched after a movement to Cumbria and inspired by her bordie Collie, it allows her to work around her children.
Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Hi, I’m Heather and I have two children. A twelve year old boy and a two
year old girl. We live in Cumbria with our crazy Border Collie and my
What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I design and create gifts inspired by life with our Border Collie, Ollie.
When did you launch your gift business and what inspired you?
When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I wanted to be able to
work around family and be in charge of my own time as I hadn’t had that
opportunity with my son. We had just moved to Cumbria and I loved country
life and getting out with our dog Ollie. I was always on the lookout for
items with Border Collies on and couldn’t find what I wanted. The two things
came together at the same time and Ollie Collie was born.
How did you fund your start up?
We funded it ourselves from savings.
How do you manage working around your children?
My son is at school and my daughter does spend a couple of days a week at
nursery which helps when I need to really focus. But the rest of the time
it’s working when they’re in bed really! My daughter still naps a little
during the day so I can get some work done then when she’s at home. Think I
will need a new plan when that stops though!
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
There never seems to be a ‘typical’ day and that’s what I love about it! One
day you’re doing admin and finance work, the next you’re making items and
the next having sales meetings or delivering products to customers. It’s
really varied when it’s just you to do everything. Writing lists is the key
for me, and planning the more challenging items for when the children are at
school so I have no interruptions.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Balancing work and family is always the overriding challenge. When you love
what you do you can get lost in trying to do more and more. I’m lucky that
my husband is very supportive but also knows when to say it’s time to put
the laptop away and rest!
What’s the best thing about being Running your gift business?
Being able to plan my own time and be there for the children and the family
when I need to be. I can be at appointments, school plays and the important
events without having to sacrifice my job or make up the time to an
employer. If my baby is poorly I’m there without guilt. I think that’s a
really big thing for a parent.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d really love to grow the brand and get to a point where there’s more than
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Just keep going! There are so many points where you can question yourself
and what you’re doing but keep taking good advice from experts and stick
with it. Celebrate the small wins, whatever it takes to keep you motivated
and have faith that it will work out.