Tell us your name and a bit about your family.
My name is Flori Maisonneuve. I was brought up in Zimbabwe and moved to the U.K 15 years ago. I am married to a French man and have 2 small children. We live very happily in the Surrey countryside, and enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle including many picnics on the downs and bug hunts in the woodlands. On days that are really wet and cold we like nothing more than being creative.
When did you become a Mum and to whom?
I had my little girl (my “mouse”) in 2011 and in January 2016 had a baby boy (my “Boo”)
What is your business called?
Squiggle Dot & Squeeze
Can you describe it in one sentence
Kids activity craft boxes based on a theme containing all you need to complete 4-5 imagination generating activities and crafts that go beyond the moment and provide quality family time crafting.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
2015. I was inspired by my passion to provide children with quality, hands on, technology free family time being creative. As a former chef I was also inspired to include a food element in each box, to encourage children into the kitchen. I believe that children learn by example and in the current fast paced world in which we live, it is all too easy to resort to technology for entertainment, and as parents we have a responsibility to stop and spent quality time having fun together.
How did you fund your start up?
I used some money remaining from a home improvement loan combined with some savings.
How do you manage working around your children?
My eldest is in reception so at school, I obviously have a new born to look after, so work revolved around being able to feed whilst typing up social media, packing bags and boxes single handedly or pinching every moment he is asleep. It also involves some late nights, and support from my sister to get it all done. I have had to learn to pleased and satisfied with any task completed
Describe a typical day & what tasks you do and how you manage your time?
My mind never really switches off, and many a social media post is written or programmed when feeding my youngest at 2am and 4.30am. Work in earnest starts after the school run, with a trip to the post office to post orders, then in the hope that my baby is asleep, I dash around making crafts for social media posts, ordering stock, packaging up components for the boxes, preparing for fairs and growing the business. Some days none of the above happens, it can be tears, nappies, nursery rhymes and walks around the block – so on good days I crack on and on bad days I let it go. The secret is being organized with a comprehensive to do list to maximize on the good days.
What challenges you face and how you have overcome them?
The challenge is having not done this before and therefore lots of new skills to learn e.g social media, finanace, business planning, forecasting and marketing. I purchased expert skills from “Get Me Visual” without whom this whole project would still be a dream and not a reality. They guided me from conception to launch and whose skills and expertise I used to my full capacity. Now that I am at it alone, I have done a couple of courses locally, joined several networking forums and rely on friends and family to fill the gaps in my knowledge. The other main challenge is finding the time whilst also being a Mum, and to this end the only solution is to stay up late or get up early!
What’s the Best thing about being a Mumpreneur?
Having launched a small business, there is a huge sense of achievement and pride gained as well as proving to myself what I am capable of. I sleep well in the reassurance that I am providing wholesome activities for our next generation.
What are your Future plans?
Grow the brand and sales and for our social media to become the ‘go to’ place for inspirational, educational, fun resources for parents to use with their kids.
What Advice would you offer to someone starting out?
Feel the fear and do it anyway, you will only regret not trying!