Fabric and home ware designer, Helen Baker’s Start Up Story

As a Cornish girl at heart I love homeware that is reminiscent of this coastal county, and this is just what Helen Baker captures. She designs fabric and homeware with a laid back coastal theme that’s just perfect for any family home. When Helen got in touch with me to share her story and business I knew she’d be a perfect fit for a Start Up Story feature. As a fellow parent and business owner Helen knows the juggle first hand and 

Hi, I’m Helen, a self-taught fabric designer, living in Wiltshire with my husband and two sons. I was a primary school teacher for nearly ten years but left after having my second son. Being the only female in our household I wanted to furnish our new home in stylish gender neutral designs after we had moved from Cornwall to Wiltshire with my husband’s job. Unable to find what I was looking for, I researched how fabrics were designed. After a busy year teaching myself pattern design I used our home to test some initial designs. I then went on to create a contemporary coastal inspired collection titled ‘You can take they girl out of Cornwall’ based life in modern day Cornwall.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

I launched my debut fabric and homeware collection in May of this year and I sell my designs as fabric by the metre, cushions and lampshades through my website www.helenbaker.com

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

It was probably about 18 months from my initial ideas to launching the business. Living in a digital age, I feel so fortunate to have so many resources and information at my finger tips. I taught myself surface pattern design from Skillshare, an online learning platform run by creatives, for creatives and listening to lots of podcasts for the business side of things. This style of flexible learning means I can fit it around busy family life which is a priority for me and an advantage of working for yourself.

 

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

For me, the hardest part is doing everything myself so if I don’t know how to do something I have to find out and learn new things. Talking to people really helps. My husband has been really helpful as he ran his own business for ten years and knows what’s involved. I also was on a business support programme where I got 12 hours of EU funded support which was invaluable.

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

Depending on the time of day, tea or coffee, with biscuits (of course!).

 

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?

As my business is very visual my favourite platform is Instagram. It’s great to find like minded people, engage with them and to keep up to date with what’s going on in your field. My tip would be to not get hung up on follower numbers. I try to remember that everyone has started from zero and through consistent posting of content that’s relevant to you, your following will grow.

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

For me, the best part is the flexibility to do what I want when I want. My pinch myself moment was at the supermarket last month where I first saw the feature of myself in Country Homes and Interiors as their favourite designer maker of the month. It was such an honour to have been in such a prestigious interiors magazine.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Yes it has. As I work from home I am able to do the school runs each day which I feel really lucky to do. This means I have to be very focused with my working time so I have to prioritise what I can get done between 9am and 3pm. I will then work evenings and weekends when I need to.

What makes you tick? The things that gets you up in the morning to make your business a success?

I am passionate about creating family friendly homes and I really love the friendly world of interiors that I am now part of so working on this feels so right. ‘Design the life you want’ is an ethos I love to help decision making and to drive me forward.

What’s your current favourite item or range in your store at the moment?

I love the Cornish Clouds fabric design which is an updated version of the classic seaside stripe with a graphic inspired cloud motif. It’s simple yet striking and based on the Cornish coast which always makes me smile.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

I’m putting the finishing touches to a British Gardens collection, which will again incorporate my style, nature-inspired silhouette shapes, that people can relate to but with a contemporary feel.

 

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

Podcasts. I have learned so much from other people who have been in similar positions starting up their own business who offer advice and tips.

 

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Mutha.Hood’s Start Up Story

You know me. I love a bit of ‘mama merch’ and combine that with an indie maker and seller who is a mum herself and you’re onto a winner. Insta famous Mutha.Hood is a indie brand that I really love and I was super keen to get the mama behind the business to feature in my Start Up Stories. Gemma is lovely and one inspiring lady, enjoy finding out more about her brand, how it started and how she runs it. Oh and keep scrolling right to the end as there’s a little treat for you my dear reader.

Copyright – In The Den Photography

My name is Gemma, I have a deep need to own everything that is embroidered, multi-coloured and adorned with pom poms. I also run Mutha.Hood.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

Mutha.Hood has been running for a year. It was actually its first birthday a few days ago and I’m still blown away by how much it has grown in that time. I sell merchandise that aims to empower and celebrate women.

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

I’m very lucky that my working background helped to give me the confidence to take the leap. Before maternity leave I was an Assistant Buyer for a high street clothing company. I learnt all about garment quality, printing techniques, cost prices, negotiating and the importance of sticking to your brand identity. I also used to be a TV Researcher so I then utilised those skills to learn as much as I could about the stuff that I didn’t know about like shop set up and Illustrator. I set up through Big Cartel, found a UK based printer, took some pictures and hustled on Instagram… the rest is history.

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

This year has been challenging because neither of my girls are in childcare, due to a house move. I’m a completer-finisher through and through and balancing looking after them with the demands of a third growing baby, my business, has caused some pressure. I’m lucky that my Mum lives near-by so she has them 1.5/2 days a week, and that Dom is happy to sit next to me every evening in the office whilst I work; often agreeing to fold tees with me whilst I force him to listen to Zayn for the millionth time.

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

The Instagram-Chats from my followers. It can be a lonely old road setting up on your own. Not least because there’s a serious lack of water cooler chat. I love the messages I get from people and they brighten my day and reassure me that I’m making a difference. I don’t just want to sell products, I genuinely want to help women feel good about themselves. That can either be through fun, printed tees, or by sharing snippets of my life and internal ramblings through Insta-Stories. So when I get a comment or a message from someone, it makes my soul happy.

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?

I think it’s clear that I am IN LOVE with Instagram. I love the community that exist on there, the inspiring people I’ve found and the banter that it provides. Part of the reason why I’ve achieved what I have on it is because I love it so much. I reply to almost everyone who gets in touch with me, I’m the biggest Fan-Girl when it comes to my Insta-Heroes, so I don’t simply use it as a tool to sell my wares and I think that shows. I recently signed up to Iconosquare. It’s got wonderful analytics and scheduling but I mainly started to use it because my thumb began to really ache from all of the comments I was leaving. It’s a great tool when you use Instagram as heavily as I do for a business.

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

I love the connections that it has brought me. Motherhood can be a lonely place, I never found a good network of friends in playgroups and I feel like I’ve found them through running the business. When people are so nice to me and supportive it really makes me feel so grateful. I’ve chatted to some lovely people and when my Insta-Heroes share what I’ve thought up and started to sell I literally can’t stop the happy tears. DLAM, MOD (#MODNZOK4EVA), Alison Perry, Make Do & Push, InPoLife, LittleFlea, Molly Forbes, Lisa Dawson, The Frugality … and the God-dess that is Erica Davies. These are women that I literally adore to the same level as I once loved Keanu Reeves so that pretty much makes me beam from ear to ear.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Being a parent is the reason why the business started. It shook me to the core but by becoming a Mum it made me realise the importance of helping other women know that they’re awesome. I also wanted a business that could work around the children; so I try my hardest not to let it interfere too much with our time together.

Running an online business must overwhelming at times, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed?

Last night I had a melt down in front of Dom over tissue paper. I don’t think I’m the wisest when it comes to not feeling overwhelmed. Although, a big step forward has been acknowledging to myself what this is. It isn’t a little hobby, it’s a valued business and I need to start believing in it more. It needs the time that it’s demanding and it’s okay for me to give it.

What’s your current favourite item or range in your store at the moment?

The Strong Girls Club Tee. I loved it the moment the stock came in and seeing so many wonderful women and kids wearing it has made me love it even more.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

I’m always thinking of new bits, I don’t think my brain ever stops really. I’m working on some new jewellery which has taken months to come to fruition, some new enamel pins and, of course, some new graphic tees.

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

Do what you know, do what you love. I love everything about what I do – the designing, the customer chats, the admin, the ‘gram and I think that shows through the business and my enjoyment of the business as it grows. I also think it’s important to set yourself small targets, then you won’t ever be disappointed in yourself and bail too early on your idea. You can sit there and wish to be as big as the already established brands, but if that’s your only goal you’ll feel like every achievement isn’t quite good enough, and the pressure can put you off.  My first mini-goal was to see my tee on DLAM (@dresslikeamum), then sell a new design, the next was to break even, … each one that I achieve reminds me of how far I’ve come and on the nights where I’m packing orders until 2am, worrying that I’m not balancing it all that’s a good reminder to have. 

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Baba + Boo’s Start Up Story

After having a little break from sharing Start Up Stories due to our house move we are now back and I have another lovely parent led business to share with you. Eve, the founder of cloth nappy business Baba+Boo is so passionate about what she does that it shines through to everything she says in this interview. I always find it inspiring when people take a passion and turn it into a profitable business, I mean, that’s the dream right? I hope you enjoy Eve’s story of Baba+Boo and learn from her experience and expertise. Don’t forget to scroll to the very end for an exciting giveaway..!

I’m Eve, founder of Baba+Boo. I am mum of two and am never far from a travel website. My fingers itch to book holidays. They are obsessed.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

Baba+Boo is a planet friendly online baby store which specialises in reusable nappies and other waste saving products. I am passionate about stopping the huge amount of waste that disposable nappies create. I started 7 years ago and stopped 15 million nappies going to landfill to date.

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

It evolved, there was no plan. I had a baby. Was pregnant again when my son was 6 months old, so going back to work wasn’t really an option. I was a buyer and it was a really full on job. I wanted something for a bit of pocket money and to keep me sane. So I started a business with an 18 month old and a 9 week old. I just started out really small with a little eBay shop and it took off straight away and grew from there. I just followed where the business took me and the plans came later.

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

I started the business so I could be with the kids, not miss a milestone and eventually be there to do the school runs. It is so hard managing the little amount of time I have to work versus the huge amount of passion I have. I do get frustrated at times. I have huge skills in micro managing my time now.

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

I am a tea and ginger nut kinda girl.

These days any business needs a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

I’d probably say Instagram although my customers are mainly on Facebook. I am a bit of a news geek, so love Twitter. It is so easy to get sucked into them though. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I would love to have a hiatus from time to time but impossible when you run a business. I think the best tip is to not spread yourself too thin on there. Know where your customers are and stick to that platform.

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

I just love being my own boss and managing my own time. I had a dream of being able to spend the summer by the beach with the kids and this year, we are doing just that. Makes all the hard work worth it.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Yes definitely. It’s only here because I am a parent. I want to give my kids a work ethic that my mum gave me. She was always there yet had three jobs. The children know that I am there in school holidays but I have to spend time working too.

What makes you tick? What are the things that get you up in the morning to make your business a success? 

I am so passionate about what I do. Choosing cloth nappies isn’t just about the nappies, it’s a choice that can lead to a less wasteful lifestyle for the whole family. I am a huge advocate of living less wastefully. That’s my passion.

What’s your current favourite product or range?

Probably our newborn nappies. They make me broody every time I am packing orders of them. Not only that, it makes me so happy to think of the happy parents that are going to be using them. Always feel very blessed that I am helping parents with a product that is better for them, their babies and our world.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

We dabbled in organic clothing last year and it was very well received so we are doing more of that this winter.

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

Just do it. Don’t think it’s really scary. It doesn’t have to be. And do something you feel passionate about because it will never feel like work.

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

I’m really excited to share this opportunity to win a set of three cloth nappies in a size of your choice

Just enter below

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GOOD LUCK!

 

baba+boo start up story

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Terms and conditions – UK entries only. The winner will win a bundle of three cloth nappies from Baba+Boo in sizes and designs of their choice, subject to availability. Giveaway ends 31/06/2017 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 Baba+Boo.

morganaBaba + Boo’s Start Up Story
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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

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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

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morganaMama gift box service Ovi and Reu’s Start Up Story
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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

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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

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 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
read more