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Selling Reusable Eco Products with 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 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!)


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

Mum working on her franchising

Taylor’d Bundles – A Gift Business

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.



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Squiggle dot and squeeze logo

Squiggle, Dot and Squeeze – Launching a Creative Craft Business

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!

Flori from Squiggle, Dot and SqueezeWebsite www.squiggledotandsqueeze.co.uk
Facebook www.facebook.com/squiggledotandsqueeze
Instagram squiggledotandsqueeze