Easy ways to support the little guy and shop independent

I was brought up to value the independent seller over the supermarket. My mum shunned plastic bags and used a ‘bag for life’ before they were even called that. Bags in hand, each Saturday we’d traipse along our local town and visit the butcher, the green grocer, we didn’t have much money but my mum wanted to support them rather than the highstreet – don’t get me wrong though, she’d still have her eye on a bargain and negotiate the price! As the daughter of a shop owner she knew it was people like her that kept these businesses alive.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen some lovely online independent clothing stores close their doors. It’s getting harder and harder for independents to stay affloat, importing from Europe has become a costing nightmare and competing with cut throat highsteet stores that rip off independent brand designs and reproduce them in bigger volumes at a lower quality meaning they can massive undercut independents has left so many brands and stores in the dust. Don’t get me wrong I shop in big stores both online and on the highstreet, and have been putting my money in the hands of big corporations more and more. It’s often cheaper and more convenient to pick up something in a shop or Amazon Prime that thing you ‘need’ to arrive the next day. We all have budgets to stick to and buying some bespoke rather than mass produced off the shelf is becoming more and more of a luxury. This is something that as an indie business owner myself I am acutely aware of and it’s showing in a massive drop of traffic and orders to my own shop. As a accessories retailer I can’t compete with the likes of H&M and Claires on price and convenience. This has got me thinking, and I want to share with you little ways you can help support small businesses no matter your budget.

Have you got friends that run indie businesses? 

I would imagine that everyone reading this can think of someone in their friendship group that has an indie business, whether they own small highstreet shop, are a freelance illustrator or Etsy shop owner. Why not think of ways you can promote them and support their venture. If you can’t afford their products or they offer a service or something not relevant to you then maybe you could share their facebook page on your timeline to help them reach potential customers. Or if you’re on twitter or another form of social media then do a shout out. Or simply ask how their business is and if there’s anything you can do to support them. I love it when my customers share their purchases on social media and tag my store in it or a family member shares my facebook page to their timeline. These little things all help get my business a wider audience and hopefully more customers.

Looking for a gift for a friend?

Before you jump on Amazon or visit your highstreet have a look for a smaller seller, to make it easier you can look via Etsy or Not On The Highstreet. If you really dislike online shopping and prefer to see something in ‘real life’ before buying it then look for independent gift shops in your area, ask around, there is bound to be one you can support. Spend some time one evening searching online and finding some independents. If you’re still not sure where to start then I’m more than happy to recommend shops if you’re stuck, just give me a shout on social media or leave a comment. Take a look at my Start Up Stories for some inspiration too!

 

Visit markets and craft fairs

There is a growing trend of craft fairs and markets springing up, whether it’s selling vintage, nearly new, or hand made products there are so many more events happening now. Ask around, have a search on facebook and then pop down and see what’s on offer.

 

Think quality over quantity

It’s so tempting to go on fast fashion shopping sprees and buy a load of clothes that we will probably only wear once because hey, they didn’t cost much, so it doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking to myself here as well. Fast fashion has become such a norm in our society that we don’t even realise how much it permeates our choices and how we spend our money. I’m trying more and more to buy less throwaway clothes / homeware and instead think whether we really need it. It’s a steep learning curve but I think a necessary one, not only for supporting small businesses but for the environment as well as ethically.

 

Of course all our purchases can’t be via independent sellers, especially if we’re on a tight budget, but even on a restrictive budget there are things we can do to shop small and support indie businesses. Hopefully in reading this post you’ll be inspired to support makers and and creatives in a way that works for you. And don’t forget often when you buy from or support a small business you are helping an individual provide for their families and not just lining the pockets of share holders and big corporations. When people buy from me or invest in my blog they help pay for things like my daughter’s ballet lessons.

 

Image credit – @thepastelfox

Do you think it’s important to support independent businesses?

Have you get more to add to my list?

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Creating a workspace that works for me

Very soon we’ll be moving into our brand new home, as it’s a new build it’s a completely blank canvas of white walls and grey carpet. One of the reasons we choose this specific house was the extra room it had downstairs that would be big enough to be a shared office and stock room as well as a music room, giving the mister space for his instruments as well as room to play them. As with most interior projects Pinterest has been my starting point to get inspiration on how to make sure that it’s a workspace that works.

As I mentioned the room will have a dual use so it will need to work for both my husband and I and not feel crowded. We need to be clever in planning out the room and create plenty of storage. I love the fact that with it being at the front of the house it is full of natural light. We’re having shutters fitted like the ones in the bay window of our current house, but they won’t come for another couple of months yet. Of course at first we’ll have a very make shift workspace cobbled together with bits from our old house but I’ve got lots of ideas and plans to make the most of the space.

Obviously I’m keeping the white walls, the main colour palette for this room will be similar to the rest of the house being grey, black and natural wood and neutral tones. It will feature the industrial storage racks from Cox and Cox that I shared recently here.

Workspace inspiration

FYI if you want to lose hours of your day staring and scrolling through beautiful interiors photos then you must visit Trendenser.se

As you can see from the workspace photos that I’ve shared I’m looking at having a long desk running from wall to wall with storage shelves above it. The opposite wall will be for the instruments including seating. I really want this room to be a creative workspace that works for me and for my husband who will be sharing it with me. Obviously I won’t compromise on style either! Here are just a few workspace accessories on my wishlist..

Get the look

 

Elsie Dove Grey Desk Lamp – Homebase £24.99

Knagglig pin box – Ikea £5

Large peg board – This Modern Life £65

Seagrass basket – Ikea £9

Cult Living office chair – Cult UK £189

Flap analogue clock – Habitat £150

Hello wall hook – This Modern Life £38

When we’re in the house it will take time to get the room the way we want it. It will need to be functional for me as a space to keep stock and pack orders from my kids accessories business as well as a space to blog and work from. It will be great to have this as a shared office space with my husband too who also runs his own business. I can’t wait to get started on it and share our progress.

If you’d like some more inspiration then check out my Pinterest board –

 

What do you think of my ideas?

Got any hints and tips or ‘must haves’ to share?

 

 

(This post may contain affiliate links | All prices were correct at the time of publishing | Linking up with The Twinkle Diaries for Home Etc)

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Podcasts For Creative Business Owners and Bloggers – my current favourites

Recently I’ve started delving into the world of podcasts, I know, where have I been, it’s 2017 for goodness sake! Whether it’s on the school pick up, in the car or while on a run I can often be found with my headphones on getting inspired. My new found love and fervour for the podcast has to land squarely with Instagram queen Sara Tasker otherwise known as @MeandOrla and this clever lady is also behind the podcast, Hashtag Authentic. If you follow me on social media you’ll know I’ve been waxing lyrical about Hashtag Authentic on most platforms including here on Little Loves. From that podcast I’ve done a little leapfrog and discovered other creatives and business coaches and their podcasts. I want to share with you my current favourites and I hope you’ll find them all just as inspiring as I do.

Blogtacular

For those that don’t know, Blogtacular is actually an annual creative blogging conference in London headed up by Kat Molesworth. I went to Blogtacular a couple of years ago and loved it but unfortunately due to other commitments I couldn’t make the date last year and this year we’ve already booked to be in Leeds for the triathlon. Boo. Thankfully I can get some inspiration through Kat’s podcasts and the makers, bloggers and influencers that she features.

One of my favourites

Episode 21: Allison Sadler – Allison is a bit like Instagram royalty for me. I’ve followed her for years and loved listening to this podcast as she told the story behind The People Shop, her store in Birmingham. 

– LISTEN HERE –

 

Hashtag Authentic

As I mentioned earlier this podcast is by Sara Tasker, Instagram coach and photographic influencer. Often interview based this podcast is perfect for those wanting to work on their instagram, get inspired or hear from fellow creatives. Whether you’re a blogger or indie business owner or self employed creative there is so much to get from these interviews. Sara’s podcastcurrently comes out weekly, every Wednesday.

Some favourites –

Is blogging still relevant, with Kat Molesworth – I found this episode so interesting both as a blogger and as a business owner. Kat reminds us of the importance of owning our own space and readers and not to be reliant on just one platform.

Avoiding the comparison trap – Sara discusses how we can keep perspective when the fear of failure hits and we get sidetracked by other people’s achievements. I think this is something we can all relate to and I found listening to Sara’s perspective so helpful.

– LISTEN HERE –

 

Tara Swiger – Explore Your Enthusiasm

I found Tara through Hashtag Authentic and oh man am I glad I did! Tara is a business coach based in the US and is bursting with creativity and so much wisdom for makers and creatives. I’ve signed up for one of her courses and got her book on order. Yep. Total fan girl right here.

Some favourites

Should You Work For Free – I’ve already shared this on social media and I think it’s a must for any creative/maker/freelancer/blogger

Long Term vs Short Term Thinking – This is something I often struggle with and find myself swinging between the two. Tara helps us make sure the work we do fits in with our long term goals.

– LISTEN HERE – 

 

Jen Carrington – Make It Happen

I’m not sure how I found this particular podcast I think it was a suggested one on iTunes, however I found it I’m so glad I did. In fact Jen was featured in this weeks Hashtag Authentic talking about her ideal week (find it here). I love how Jen describes her podcast, Make It Happen is a podcast where I share ideas, insights and conversations about building a big-hearted business and living a wholehearted creative life. I find Jen so easy to listen to and I love the way she puts her ideas across.

Some favourites

Five reminders for big hearted creatives who are feeling the business blues – it’s hard to stay focussed on the positives sometimes, especially as a ‘one woman band’. Jen talks us through ways to work through these times and reminds us all how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved.

Answers to five of the questions my clients always ask me about creative living – Jen talks us through issues like freaking out about money and paying the bills and how to not feel ‘icky’ when we market ourselves and our businesses.

– LISTEN HERE –

 

 

Do you listen to any of these inspiring podcasts?

Got any to add to my list?

 

morganaPodcasts For Creative Business Owners and Bloggers – my current favourites
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From parent blogger to lifestyle blogger making the transition

When I first started blogging back in 2011 I was definitely a parent blogger, or more specifically a ‘mummy blogger’ as much as that term makes me cringe. Having my own little corner of the internet to blog about my baby and toddler, chatting through weaning and potty training and late night feeds was just what I needed. I joined Twitter and spent the small hours of the morning talking to other mums that were also feeding their babies at stupid o’clock while everyone else slept. Twitter and blogging were lifelines for me, they broke the isolation that you can feel as a mum with young children and they opened up a whole new career for me.

When my eldest daughter started school in 2012 I started to think long and hard about blogging and where I wanted to go with it. Up until that point I wrote whatever I wanted, took on a few product and days out reviews but I didn’t see it as a career.  I continued blogging as a ‘parent’ blogger but started to blog less about my eldest girl and as time passed I started to worry about the content I’d put online about her. How would she feel about me telling ‘the world’ about how I potty trained her? Even though I’ve never used my girls names (first or last) while blogging I still felt uncomfortable about it all. I noticed that with the exception of those I’d call friends, I was no longer reading ‘mummy’ blogs. Potty training posts, tips for weaning and parenting was no longer interesting or more importantly, relevant to me anymore. With my youngest daughter growing fast and approaching Reception class in 2015 I knew I had to make a big change, and that’s when I made the decision to leave parent blogging behind.

At the end of 2014 the year before my youngest started school I launched Little and Fierce, my online store, (there’s a whole different blog series to come on that process!) and with this change blogging was definitely on the back burner while I wrestled whether to even bother continuing with it. I attended the blogging conference Blogtacular and talked through my thoughts and ideas about no longer blogging as ‘But why mummy why’ with my friends and fellow bloggers. Just being at the conference reminded me what I loved about blogging and that I still wanted it to be part of my life and that I was right in thinking that I needed to move out of the ‘parent blogging community’. All that summer I started to plan what I wanted my new blog to be and I started to research just how to do it and whether I would I need to completely start from scratch.

By the end of October 2015 I was here in my new place on the internet Coffee Work Sleep Repeat and I’ve never regretted it for a second. 

I don’t have technical tips about redirecting traffic, setting up new websites, and all that jazz as I’m just not that way inclined and have to rely on people to help me whether paid or through favours! What I can help with though is with tips about thinking through your changes and what you want from your new blog. Basically all the things I pulled together and thought through, and in a few instances things I wish I’d done.

So, in light of that if you are a parent blogger thinking of making the change into another blogging niche, whether it be lifestyle, business, food, interiors or even if you don’t know yet, here are some ideas and tips I found helpful.

 

MY TOP TIPS 

 

  • If you’re not sure which direction to take your blog in then think about what you enjoy most about blogging in your current form. Is it reviews? Sharing recipes? Home and interiors posts? Or have you fallen out of love with all of it and want a complete change?

When some people want to make the leap out of parent blogging they have a clear vision of their new direction and others might need to take the time to consider it more. It’s also worth thinking about whether it will be a hobby or a business. If it’s a business think about how you’ll make money from it, the parent blogger sphere may be over saturated but it’s where a lot of big money lives and that may not be the case for your new niche.

  • Think about your new audience, is there enough of an overlap with your current and future one to keep your current social media accounts and just manage the name changeover or is it a completely different audience? Do people follow you as a person or as a blog?

If you are making a complete change from being a ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ blogger to say, for example, writing a blog on technical woodworking then I would consider starting afresh but telling your current audience about it and promoting your new direction so any interested parties can follow you over. If you just make the switch by changing your handle you could be left with disgruntled followers and even reported for spam.

As I was still writing my blog from the perspective of being a parent and writing about my life juggling running a business, and the family there is a sufficient cross over so I managed the change by rebranding but kept the social media profiles with the followers built up and saw very little drop off after.

  • Be certain of your new niche and own it.

What kind of blog are you now? Are you following relevant blogs and businesses and networking with the right people? You can’t just rely on parent bloggers being loyal to your new venture, they might not actually be the audience that you’re looking for. How will you get your new content to your new audience? Before you make the leap put together a plan, follow and observe how bloggers in your chosen niche do it. Check out the relevant hashtags, link ups, etc.

  • Use everything you’ve learnt from parent blogging.

If you’ve been successful in parent blogging (whatever success looks like to you, ie review opportunities, paid projects, high profile, hightraffic, etc) you’ll probably have a whole lot of transferable skills at your finger tips. You know how the social media platforms work and what kind of content to share to them. You can probably make pinnable images for Pinterest, use tools like Hootsuite to plan and schedule your social media promotion and much, much more. This gives you such a headstart and is so beneficial to many blogging niches.

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I hope you’ve found these tips helpful?

If you’ve got any questions the do leave a comment or grab me on social media, I’d love to have a chat with you.

 

morganaFrom parent blogger to lifestyle blogger making the transition
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The Jam Tart’s Start Up Story

Sharing Start Up Stories is one of my favourite features, and this month I have a gem of a new business for you. Creative entrepreneurs Emma and Tom are behind the Instagrammable swoon worthy children’s brand, The Jam Tart. They create custom prints, wall art, stickers and banner kits, helping to create colourful, engaging spaces for children to play, grow and thrive in. Their ever expanding range of products includes flash cards and colouring books.Emma and Tom’s passion for design and typography shine through in this fun and creative business, and I loved chatting with them about how they started and what spurs them on. 

Hello I’m Emma, a ‘creative ‘thinker and do-er’ here at The Jam Tart. I’m a graphic designer who loves sharing good design. I enjoy tea by day and Prosecco by night.

Hello I’m Tom, the other half of The Jam Tart. In-between cups of tea I’ll be found watching some sport with friends, taking in some live music, walking the beaches or ‘tinkling the ivories’.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

The Jam Tart is a graphic-led children’s brand with a passion for designing typographical delights. Our products feature whimsical animal letters that ooze character and charm. We aim to make little (and big) people smile. We feel proud that we’ve had a small hand in creating colourful engaging spaces for children to play, grow and thrive in. We launched Winter 2016, no big party, we just sort of tip-toed in.

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

I’m a self confessed ‘typ-o-holic’ and since becoming a Mama thought it was time I combined my love for type with the world of children’s design. As a Mama I set about designing colourful and educational interiors for my daughter that were an extension of our contemporary home. These have since grown into The Jam Tart typographical delights for design loving parents everywhere.

What’s been the hardest part of your journey so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

Designing comes naturally, but sourcing suppliers has proved exhausting. To date we have built up a collective of uber talented UK based manufacturers, many of which are literally on our doorstep.

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

We are both share a love for Suki tea, Emma’s loves hers with a crumpet and Tom, a cheese scone. 

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?

We are Instagram addicts. Be honest, be yourself and stay true to your brand.

Emma, has being a parent influenced the way your business works?

If I’d not become a Mama then The Jam Tart probably wouldn’t be here now. Children are wonderful and a constant inspiration, who would have thought there was so much fun to be had with 26 letters and a set of animals, the possibilities are endless, my daughter Orla has taught me that!

What is your favourite part of running your business?

Choosing our working hours, work hard, play hard.

What’s your favourite product?

Emma – I don’t have a specific favourite product as such, but I do love ‘A is for Alligator’, he was the start of wonderful things.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

We are currently woking on extending our archive of typo delights to numbers and colours. And we are working on a clothing collaboration for a baby charity, we’ll keep you posted.

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

Only work with those that have great pride in what they do. Stay true to your brand and it will reward you in many ways.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s Start Up Stories feature getting to know Emma and Tom and their gorgeous business. If you’ve got any comments or questions please leave them below or come and have a chat on social media.

Head on over to The Jam Tart and take a look at their products… and get shopping with our discount code!

Use the code EASTER17 for 20% off your order

www.thejamtart.co.uk

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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

morganaThe Jam Tart’s Start Up Story
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Mama gift box service Ovi and Reu’s Start Up Story

Ovi and Reu provide beautifully curated gift boxes for new and expectant mums, it’s not a surprise to find out that this business was started up by mums, three mums to be precise – one is even a grandmother. I’ve featured one of their Parisian inspired gift boxes and now I’m excited to share their Start Up Story with you. I found is such an interesting read and I hope you do too.

ovi and reu start up stories

We are Emily, Laura and Jean: two new mums and one new grandma who set-up in business together last year whilst Laura and I (Emily) were on maternity leave with our sons Oliver (Ovi) and Reuben (Reu). Jean is Emily’s mum and Ovi’s grandma. Gosh that sounds way more complicated than it actually is!
We are actually all teachers by training; Laura still teaches at primary level here in Bristol, Jean recently retired from being a Deputy Head in Hampshire and I left my job teaching secondary English at the end of my maternity leave in October. We try not to get sucked into conversations about ‘how to get kids into reading’ when in a business meeting otherwise nothing gets done…
Before teaching we managed to rack up a pretty impressive wealth of experience ‘doing other things’ including working in advertising, interior design, PR, The Civil Service…no one trick ponies here that’s for sure!
Laura and I live in Bristol; we think it’s one of the greatest cities in the world as it’s so brimming with life and design and it’s so family friendly. And Jean lives in Hampshire where she enjoys the rural idyll of village-life. So between us we have the best of all worlds.

Tell us a little bit about your business

At Ovi and Reu we provide beautifully packaged and letterbox friendly gift collections for new and expectant mums. Our gift collections are lifestyle themed so you can choose the collection which best reflects the preferred lifestyle of the mum that you are buying for – from Coastal, Country, Parisian or, for the mum-to-be, the Expectant Collection. We also have the new Highlights Collections which echo the three main lifestyle themed collections (Parisian, Coastal and Country) but are more compact and feature some of the most popular products from each. The Highlights Collections start at £35.
We are lucky enough to spend our working days seeking out interesting and beautiful gifts from British based companies to help make mums feel amazing. It’s all about celebrating aspirational lifestyle with your beautiful new bundle in tow.

 

What made you want to start up Ovi and Reu?

It all started in the early days of being at home with Ovi when I found myself answering the door to deliverymen on pretty much a daily basis. They just always seemed to rock up with an earth shattering bang on the door at the worst possible moments – just as I had settled down to feed Ovi, or do some expressing, or finally managed to get him (and sometimes even myself) off to sleep. It’s always so lovely and exciting to receive a gift in the post, but there’s nothing quite like seeing something slide magically through the letterbox and on to the mat where you can pad over to retrieve it in your own time and in any of the various states of undress with which I associate those early days of motherhood!
Once I got Laura and Jean on board things really took off – we loved the idea of sending out letterbox friendly collections of gifts which were all about celebrating the lifestyle that you envisage embracing with your new baby. If you were a cosmopolitan woman before you had your baby then you can certainly still be one afterward – hence The Parisian Collection contains gifts which a stylish urbanite would enjoy. Meanwhile The Coastal Collection is reminiscent of life by the ocean with the colour palette, scents and general vibe of the gifts enclosed.

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

Well it all started out in a very civilised fashion with lots of long lunches and sketching and scribbling down ideas. In those early days the boys were still little enough that they would sleep peacefully through our long and rambling meetings. But as things became more serious we had to change the way we worked to suit having increasingly mobile and demanding little people in tow! Meetings had to move to after bedtime and became less about creative ideas and more about strategy and (inevitably) accounting and finances.
We took lots and lots of help and advice from the many talented and inspiring people in our lives and step by step we produced everything we needed from the logo, the website content, finding and sourcing the perfect letterbox friendly packaging and of course, finding the products from our wonderful suppliers. Eventually we found ourselves at a point where it was ‘now or never’ and we took the plunge in November and launched the website. Since then it has been a pretty fast learning curve and the look and feel of the brand has changed a lot in even these first few months of life as we have responded to our customers’ and suppliers’ needs.

Have you made any mistakes?

Ha! Yes. Several. And I’m sure we are still in the process of making some!
As I said before, it’s such a steep learning curve and just when you think you’ve got one element nailed, something else crops up that causes you to re-think that whole approach. For example we used to have lots of beautiful photography on our website that was all about illustrating the lifestyles that we want to celebrate but we had to cut all that out to become more product focussed in our look. There was a lot of time wasted there but hopefully we can find a place for that work further down the line.

Best thing about running your own business?

It really makes you appreciate the people in you world and how generous and inspiring those people are. Our company is very definitely a team effort – not just the three of us but our entire support network of friends and family who are a constant and invaluable source of help and support.
Obviously it is also amazing to work in your own space, in your own time, to your own agenda and on your own terms. That is absolutely phenomenal.

The hardest thing?

Getting the balance right between being in ‘work mode’ and ‘mummy mode’ throughout the day is really tough at times. Throughout the last year we have experienced the highs and lows of working during nap times, after bedtimes, before they’re awake, when feeding in the middle of the night and at weekends. Right now I’ve got one eye on the monitor as Ovi slumbers away and we’re often against the clock in that sense!

What inspires you?

The people we know. The world has opened up in the most incredible way since we have had children and it’s been such an inspiring and life-affirming experience. The other mums that we meet and hang out with on a daily basis are the reason why we are doing this; it’s all about celebrating our lives as they were before and as they are now. Also the incredible suppliers that we have met. The British design industry is a thriving and beautiful place to be and we just love having the opportunity to spread that love.

Any advice for anyone out there thinking of starting up their own business?

Get yourself a gorgeous new notebook (check out Studio Sarah for this!), find an inspiring place to go and sit for two hours (we love coffee shops or kitchen tables) and get scribbling. Then find a sounding board – whether it’s a potential business partner, a life-partner or your best friend – start off the way you mean to go on by listening to, considering and responding to the ideas of others.
Think about the people around you – what do they do and how might they be able to help you out. You’ll be amazed at how talented and generous people are with their time and skills.
But mostly, just crack on and have a go. I was given the excellent advice that the worst thing that could happen would be that I would fail… but that this is really the beginning, not the end of the process of living.

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Ovi and Reu have recently launched a gift box subscription service for expectant and new mums – because there’s nothing quite as lovely as receiving a letterbox friendly package of beautiful boutique goodies once a month for several months in a row. 

The three month subscription, which is called Bump, Birth and Beyond (£69 for three boxes), is intended to begin during pregnancy, with the Bump box being delivered before baby has arrived and the second two boxes being delivered after the new bundle has joined us ‘on the outside’. There is a combination of indulgent and beautiful gifts from boutique designers and suppliers, as you would expect from Ovi and Reu. And don’t fret – in case you’ve missed ‘The Bump’ window, there is also a two month option which is called ‘Newborn & Beyond‘ (£45 for two boxes).

 

I’m happy to share a discount code with you!

Use the code NEWMUMMY for 10% off your order

 

Ovi and Reu boutique gift boxes for mums

www.oviandreu.com
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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

morganaMama gift box service Ovi and Reu’s Start Up Story
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From MumBoss to Start Up – what’s in a name?

I set up my MumBoss Interview series a while ago now and each business owning mum I’ve featured has inspired me, and I hope you’ve found their stories interesting too. I love the idea of promoting and supporting mums that have taken the step to start something of their own, whether it’s a small side business that fits around family or one that involves leading a big team and a massive budget, all are valid and I’m sure you’ll agree are bloody hard work. These women are not messing around and playing at being ‘businessy’, building a business takes grit and determination and often a lot of risk and that’s worth baring in mind.

I’m well aware that the term mumpreneur and now mumboss are contentious and even seen as derogatory and belittling to women in business and this was never something I’d want to align myself with. I wanted MumBoss to be empowering and never wanted it to be seen as belittling. I’ve ummed and aahed over the past year about changing the name of this category of posts that showcases mum led businesses but have struggled to find a term that wouldn’t end up as being just as reductive as the ones that came before it. As much as it’s good for SEO and keywords I don’t want to put anyone off from reading the stories of each of these mothers and their businesses just because of one word, or in this case, hashtag.

When reading Alice of More Than Toast’s articulately worded post, We Are Not Sodding Mumpreneurs, on her dislike of the word ‘mumpreneur’ and all the patronising comments and connotations that follow it I knew it was time to rebrand. Like I mentioned earlier, it took me a while to figure out what to change the name to, and in the end I went back to why I started this category and what it was all about. As I stated at the beginning of this post, I find stories of people that set up businesses since having children super inspiring, and it was their stories that I wanted to share. It’s not specifically about being a mum in business but a parent starting up a business, and with that in mind I decided to change #MumBoss Interviews to Start Up Stories.

So with that in mind, I hope to share businesses that have been started up my both parents as a joint venture, dad led businesses and of course mum led ones. So many businesses have been started up address gaps in the market that have been discovered since having children, honestly I could name hundreds, and these are the stories I want to share, whether it’s day 1 for that business of ten years down the line. There is so much wisdom and experience that I can’t wait to share!

Of course, it’s not just interviews I’ll be sharing in the Start Up category but posts about running a business, hints and tips, social media hacks and much more.

I hope you like and support this rebrand do let me know what you think in the comments, and if you’re reading this and have a story to share then do get in touch as I would love to hear it!

Read all the interviews so far here –

morganaFrom MumBoss to Start Up – what’s in a name?
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Interview with Tabitha from children’s clothing brand Lil’ Cubs

When my girls were little I loved dressing them in baby grows and little leggings with fun and bright prints, something a little different in a sea of pale pinks and blues. I wish that this month’s featured business had been around as I would have been one of their best customers! Tabitha the force behind children’s clothing brand Lil’ Cubs creates such fun prints for her 0-5 range, I’m sure you’ll love them as much as me. Grab a cuppa and read all about Tabitha’s business, how she started it and where she wants to take it.

I’m a mum of two boys, Huxley, 3 & Hugo 1. Before I had Hugo I worked for a contemporary art gallery in London for over 15 years!

Tell us a little bit about your business

Lil’ Cubs is a clothing brand for children aged 0-5 years. I specialise in fun prints focusing on bright primary colours. I’ve designed the babygrows with easy fastening zips because nappy changes are bad enough without the hassle of poppers!

What made you want to start up Lil’Cubs?

It was a whim really. I couldn’t afford to pay childcare for both of my sons and the commute on my salary so I realised that I had to find something else to do. I was on maternity with Hugo and started to think about all the blue in his wardrobe and how I wished it was different.

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

95% of Lil’ Cubs was set up via my iphone whilst breastfeeding Hugo. I used the 45 minute feeds where you’re stuck in the chair to research factories, find design inspiration and made notes of what I liked and didn’t like etc.

Have you made any mistakes?

So many! The biggest one was my first… I gave my factory three babygrows from my eldest sons wardrobe to copy the size. I hadn’t taken into account the months of washing and tumble drying so of course they were much smaller than standard sizing. That’s why my Apple 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9m sleepsuits are all smaller than the rest of the collection!

Best thing about running your own business?

Being my own boss and seeing my ideas become reality. Oh and being at home with the boys of course.

The hardest thing?

Not having someone to talk things through with and knowing that all mistakes are mine! And cashflow. I have so many ideas and future plans but it’s going to take time.

What inspires you?

Currently I’d say the boys bedroom. I get inspiration from their books and all the wonderfully bright coloured toys.

Any advice for anyone out there thinking of starting up their own business?

Do it. Take the risk. If it doesn’t work out you know that you tried and it’s really satisfying being your own boss.

 

www.lilcubs.co.uk

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

 

We’re super excited to be partnering with Lil’ Cubs and giving away a pair of their chevron print leggings (in a size of your choice, see Terms and Conditions below for size range) all you need to do is enter below and follow the instructions. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions
UK entries only
The winner will win a pair of Lil Cubs rainbow chevron print leggings – in a size of their choice (6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, 2-3 years, 3-4 years, 4-5 years)
Giveaway ends 6/03/2017 at 11.59pm
When the winners are announced they will have 48 hours to get in contact, if they do not then another winner will be drawn
Any one that does not complete the compulsory entry will be disqualified.
The prize will be sent out to the winner by Lil Cubs

morganaInterview with Tabitha from children’s clothing brand Lil’ Cubs
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Interview with Vicki from teething jewellery brand, Bo&Bel #MumBoss

Last year I loved giving fellow mums with start up or small businesses a chance to share their story and give us all some business tips. There was just no question as to whether I’d carry on, it’s one of my favourite features and I hope you enjoy these interviews too. The first mum of this year is Vicki and she runs Bo&Bel a contemporary teething jewellery brand. I wish teething jewellery had been around when my two were babies. I hated not being able to wear jewellery in those early years, and having jewellery that’s safe around babies and actually helps them when they’re teething is a winner in my eyes.

Hello, I’m Vicki, Northern girl turned Londoner. 37 year old mum to twin girls Isobel and Phoebe. Mumpreneur.

Tell us a little bit about your business

Bo&Bel is contemporary teething and breastfeeding jewellery, which is for mum to wear and baby to chew. They are made from 100% food grade silicone and meeting EN71 regulations. I choose fun, bright colours and a variety of bead shapes to give mum the choice on what she wants to wear, as you would when shopping for fashion jewellery.

What made you want to start up?

Bo&Bel started out in 2014 after becoming a mum and going through teething with twins. I stopped wearing jewellery as they pulled my necklaces, broke them and this made me lose a little bit of identity. I came up with the idea of giving mums jewellery that was safe to wear, made them feel stylish and as much about mum as it was about their teething baby because I could resonate with how it felt to be a new mum and how important feeling special meant.

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

Having the twins left me little time to focus on myself so the business was just an idea I wanted to get started but I was sensible enough to wait until they started reception class at school so I have every day 9-3 to concentrate on the plans. I used the time before launch to do plenty of research and building ideas so the business was ready to go when I was.

Have you made any mistakes?

I’m proud to say I have made mistakes and it’s helped me grow. You can’t know everything so you are always going to get some things wrong along your journey. I’ve had some great people to mentor me along the way, and finding them takes time and I’ve enjoyed the process of meeting people and have had so much good advice given to me. Women who have supported women with their businesses and together we are all growing stronger together because of it.

Best thing about running your own business?

Being able to run my business around my family is the biggest benefit. I can work in school hours and be there for the girls. I love updating my Instagram and seeing all the mums share their photos wearing the teething necklaces saying how happy they make them and baby. It’s great to start from the beginning and see your hard work grow and become what you dreamt it would be.

The hardest thing?

I’ve found that starting your own business means you have to be good at time management. It can be extremely time consuming, especially in the first year or so when you are establishing yourself as a brand. I have to remind myself often to take a step away to relax and recharge!

What inspires you?

When you have so much passion for what you do, be it motherhood or work, ideas flow and you enjoy the journey. Ideas for work come at various times and I keep a note pad by my bed so I can write them down before I forget by the morning.

Any advice for anyone out there thinking of starting up their own business?

You don’t always need a business plan or a bank loan to start out but do have a focus and passion for what you are trying to achieve. If you don’t have passion for what you do it will show and you won’t enjoy it. Learn from others and ask plenty of questions from others who’ve done it before you. Research, research and research before you jump in the deep as good foundation will get you further quicker.

********

I’m so excited to be partnering with Bo&Bel to give you the chance of winning one of their necklaces. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

www.boandbel.co.uk

twitter | instagram | pinterest | facebook

 If you want to read more interviews in my #MumBoss series then just click here.

 

Terms and Conditions

UK entries only
The winner will win a Bo and Bel teething necklace of their choice, subject to availability
Giveaway ends 12/02/2017 at 11.59pm
When the winner is announced they will have 48 hours to get in contact, if they do not then another winner will be drawn
Any one that does not complete the compulsory entry will be disqualified
The prize will be sent out to the winner by Bo and Bel

morganaInterview with Vicki from teething jewellery brand, Bo&Bel #MumBoss
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Thinking about becoming a Social Media Manager?

Are you a blogger looking to make the step towards being a social media manager? It’s definitely something I’ve been considering recently. As an experienced blogger and social media addict I think it would be a good fit and a great way to apply the skills that I already have AND make money, obviously. It’s quite a daunting jump though and there’s still more I’d like to learn so I can be completely prepared and ready to take on clients.

I’ve been reading tutorials on Pinterest and researching courses to take. There’s such a wide range out there and they can be really costly. One I looked at was thousands of pounds and when looking at the content it covered lots that I already knew. I came across this, Social Media Manager Support Course run by Social Bods, headed up by fellow blogger Joanne Brady. Joanne is mum to four girls, and has been a blogger since 2011. She made the leap into doing paid freelance work in 2013 and now has a range of clients in varying industries from all over the UK. She lives in East Yorkshire and spends her free time enjoying watching TV in peace and drinking wine.

I particularly like that this course is aimed at bloggers like myself who want to make that transition into freelance social media management. Because of this the course does require prior social media experience and knowledge. At £200 it’s definitely a much more affordable course than lots of others out there.

Here’s Joanne herself providing a bit more info about the course.

Modules covered – 

  1. Finding and winning clients – How do you go about finding clients? What are the best type of clients to have? Are some clients better than others? How do you go about convincing them that you can do the job?
  2. Pricing, costing, and invoicing – How to price a social media job when they don’t have a budget? How do you produce a social media plan from a given budget? How do you keep track of time spent? How do you get payment from a customer in a timely fashion?
  3. Skills needed – What skills do you need to be able to manage social media for a business? How do you go about learning these skills? What skills do you need to be able to manage your workload effectively?
  4. Essential tools – What do you need to procure so you can get the job done? Do you need to pay for tools? How do you find the right tools for the job?
  5. Content creation and curation – How do you decide on a content strategy for your client? Where do you find good content to share? How do you find interesting things to talk about? Does a content calendar help or hinder you? What tools can be used for content curation?
  6. Reporting and stats – How do you justify yourself to a client? What stats do you need to keep track of? How best to present your data so your client understands it? What stats can you use?
  7. Managing your time off – How do you manage your work when you need to take a sick day, or a holiday? Are there any tools you can use to help manage your time away? Do you have a contingency plan?
  8. Professional and business development – Are there any courses which can be done to further your social media skills? What publications could you be reading? Should you think about certification?

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a preview of the first module and I found it so helpful. I took lots of notes and loved that because it’s a live webinar we were able to interact with Joanne while she delivered the course. You can type in questions or queries as you go along. You can even watch the webinar back afterwards in case you missed anything.

Dates –

The next course kicks off on the 20th of January, which is a Friday. Webinars will be on a Friday morning at 10am. There is NO webinar in half-term (w/c 20th February).

The eight webinars will be – 20th Jan, 27th Jan, 3rd Feb, 10th Feb, 17th Feb, 3rd March,
10th March, 17th March

Webinars can be watched back later if you are unable to attend a specific date but you MUST register for that webinar to receive the invite for the replay.

Pricing – 

£200 – no vat applicable

This is for eight modules with a weekly webinar and handouts, and includes ongoing membership of the Facebook support group.

The fee is payable in two four-weekly installments of £100 and payment can be made by direct transfer, or by Go Cardless.

To sign up to the course

Please email socialbods@gmail.com and we will add you to the roster for the next available course. Full details of how to pay, how to join the Facebook group, and the full webinar schedule will be sent back by return.

What do you think? 

Will you be joining me on this course?

 

 

Disclosure – I’m working with SocialBods to help promote this course

morganaThinking about becoming a Social Media Manager?
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