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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Interview with Tabitha from children’s clothing brand Lil’ Cubs #MumBoss

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 #MumBoss
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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.

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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
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Interview with Vikki and Dom from The Cake Tasting Club #MumBoss

You all know how much I love cake, right? Well combine that love with my love for small businesses kick started by mamas and you have a winning combination in my eyes. Introducing this month’s Mum Bosses Vikki and Dom, the force behind The Cake Tasting Club.

Cake Tasting Club

Hello! We are Vikki, mum of three/expert multi-tasker, and Dom, mum of strong willed two year old and tiny human/lover of all things cake and carb based! Basically we are obsessed with desserts and would always have double pudding when the opportunity presents itself.  

Tell us a little bit about your business

Our cheeky little business is The Cake Tasting Club (had you at cake right?!) which is a subscription based business delivering you surprise cake by mail in letterbox friendly boxes. If you love cake, and who doesn’t right (only weirdos) this is the club for you. We currently have three jazzy options of boxes – The Classic which is a mixed box of three bakes, The brownie box which is a box of three different brownies (or blondies) and the mini box for one which contains one generous portion of baked loveliness. The choice is yours kipper.

 

What made you want to start up The Cake Tasting Club?

Both of us have other businesses, Vikki runs a wooden toy business and Dom a local cake business and we met whilst showcasing our wares in a local pop-up shop enterprise. We clicked on our love of cake and felt our combined skills could create an amazing venture- the cake tasting club was born! Ta da!

Cake Tasting ClubOnce you had the idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?

Basically we were both so excited by the concept that we just did everything initially needed to set it up really quickly, banged the website out and got chatting it up on social media! The rest is history!

 

Have you made any mistakes?

Probably lots! But I think it’s all a learning curve, you just need to learn from it and keep pushing forward.

 

Best thing about running your own business?

The flexibility, being able to work the hours you can around other commitments. I think working in a partnership is also really great as you keep each other motivated and also you can eat lots of cake together- off cuts are the best.

Cake Tasting Club

The hardest thing?

We are both busy mums, so the time we have is limited it’s sometimes tricky to prioritise and use the time we have best because there’s always a million things we could be getting on with! Makes me think about all the time I had before kids- what did I do with it?

 

What inspires you?

Certain cheeky celebrities (I’m looking at you Mr Hollywood) no but really other amazing MumBoss business owners out there who are running all these amazing small businesses. I feel like we are in this lovely little community of support, everyone looks out for each other and there’s a real sense of a collective goal. Sisters are doing it for themselves! Oh yeah.

 

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

Just go for it and trust your instincts! I think planning is good but you can plan, plan, plan so I think just get going and learn along the way! The joy of running your own business is that you can break the rules. You can do it girl!

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As a treat for you, my lovely readers..

Classic Box is normally £15 but first box is £9.99 with code CAKETRIAL

 

tctc-black_white-logo1

www.thecaketastingclub.com

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morganaInterview with Vikki and Dom from The Cake Tasting Club #MumBoss
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Interview with Danielle from Team Hen #MumBoss

I love sharing the stories of fellow mums that have worked hard to build up a business, and this month’s MumBoss I find particularly inspiring, she found a gap in the market and promptly set about addressing it. We all know that Hen Parties can end up being tacky when that’s all you see on the high street, well that doesn’t need to be the case. Team Hen creates and sells beautiful Hen Party gifts and accessories. I wish they’d been around when my Hen Party was being planned! If you’re getting married, or are being a bridesmaid then you really must read this interview and check out what Danielle and Team Hen offer.

team-hen-copy

Hi, I’m Danielle and I’m the founder and creative director at Team Hen. I’m married and have two children, Harriet (3 years), and Edward (15 months). We currently live in Milton Keynes, though started our lives together in London. My previous career was in IT in London, which I loved, but had to give up when I had my first child as with commuting and childcare, it just wasn’t a viable option to continue. 

 

Tell us a little bit about your business

I started my company Team Hen in January of last year. Team Hen offers a much needed alternative to the garish and tacky Hen Party paraphernalia so widely found on today’s High Street. We design and make original, on-trend gifts and accessories for Modern brides and their Hens.

team-hen-product-shot-2

What made you want to start up Team Hen?

I was organising my best friends Hen Party; when looking for gifts and accessories for the weekend it quickly became apparent our options were limited – everything was cheap, tacky and over the top. I designed and had made some some items for the event – and so Team Hen was born!

 

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

I designed some badges and gift bags and had them made for me – I started selling on ETSY, and quickly turned a profit. I invested all profits into producing more items and new designs. In Feb of 2015 we were accepted by Not On The High Street, and the business really took off. We launched our own website in February of this year, and are now concentrating on building our brand in to a national ‘go-to’ for anyone organising a Hen Party.

team-hen-product-shot

Have you made any mistakes?

Oh yes! Where do I start! As the designer at Team Hen I have a very personal relationship with the products – we’ve launched one or two items that just haven’t sold (despite me thinking they’re great!) Luckily, we only launch new items in small runs, so it’s never been a disaster!

 

Best thing about running your own business?

I didn’t start my business to become a millionaire – I started the business because I needed an outlet for my creativity and passion. Being a mother is such a privilege, and don’t take it for granted – but I need to do something that fulfills my brain, and soul; Team Hen does that for me – my children have my heart. 

Also, its nice being able to work in your pyjamas (some days!)

 

The hardest thing?

The guilt – my children are still young, and are not yet at school, so we juggle childcare between grandparents and nursery sessions. They are both happy, content children, but the guilt i feel when I’m later than usual to pick them up because the postman hasn’t arrived to collect the days orders is horrendous.

 

What inspires you?

Other women, especially other mothers, running their own businesses. There are some unbelievably talented women out their, doing it for themselves – add a child or two into the mix and i don’t know how I, or any other mothers, do it. 

 

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

Fail Fast – Fail Cheap. By that I mean, if your launching new, untested products don’t buy thousands! Even if the margins aren’t great for the first run, buy small until the product is proven. A good margin counts for nothing if they don’t sell!

Also – don’t try to do it all. I ran the business alone for so long – whilst pregnant with my son and only took a 3 week break after he was born. Looking back it was ridiculous. My husband finally convinced me to take on some staff, and I’ve never looked back. We now have a merry team of 5 plus myself, who do everything from making our products to packing up the orders and dealing with day to day enquiries. Its a fab team and I love them all!

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I find Danielle’s story really inspiring and love the products that she creates. Team Hen have kindly given us a discount code, so head on over and take a look.

15% OFF WHEN YOU USE THE CODE

TEAMHEN15

AT THE CHECKOUT

 

team-hen-logo

www.teamhen.co.uk

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morganaInterview with Danielle from Team Hen #MumBoss
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Interview with Pamela from marketing company, AB FiftyOne #MUMBOSS

I’ve known this month’s MumBoss through blogging for a little while now, my home has even been featured on her blog! As soon as I found out that she was setting up her own marketing company I just knew I had to set up a MumBoss interview with her. I know lots of bloggers with marketing backgrounds and bloggers that want to branch out into marketing so I think this interview will be really insightful.

in-the-spotlight-pamela-miller-ab-fiftyone-marketing-aberdeen

I’m Pamela, I live up in Aberdeenshire (just north of the granite city) with my husband and 2 little ladies. I’m a marketer by profession but have also been blogging and vlogging for a number of years over at Life With Munchers and Roost Blog. After obtaining by honours degree from university, I went straight into the world of work and have had the pleasure of being a marketing manager and working with some rather exciting car brands and more recently an oil company.

 

Tell us a little bit about your business

I set up a content marketing company in Aberdeen, AB Fiftyone, after recognising that there was a natural shift from traditional to digital marketing happening and local companies didn’t necessarily have the in house resources to be able to harness this new potential. I help companies build an integrated marketing strategy for both offline and online that is tailored around how people are consuming content these days. Gone are the days when advertising was enough, now companies have to evolve to tell all, not only about themselves but what their product or service can be a part of.
Being able to not only help companies get online, but show them how best to have a presence and use every type of content available from written, video and even digital outreach to boost their message is very rewarding.

 

What made you want to start up AB Fiftyone?

The industry I was working in took a big hit in 2015 and huge cut back saw thousands lose their jobs. Had it not been for that, I would never have sat down and worked out a new direction. As I was a blogger, I could already see how national brands were using content and digital outreach to bolster their marketing and I knew it was a matter of time before this became a reality for local companies too.

 

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

Thankfully I already had strong connections in the marketing industry and so getting up and running was daunting but exciting at the same time. I’m thankful that the tools of my trade are a laptop, camera and ability, so it wasn’t long before I was reaching out.

 

Have you made any mistakes or got any regrets?

I guess it’s too soon to say if I’ve made any mistakes as such, but certainly knowing who you can trust in business is a steep learning curve.

 

Best thing about running your own business?

The flexibility, without a doubt, is the best thing. I’m in complete control of the workload I take on and being able to balance this with family life is so rewarding.

 

The hardest thing?

The hardest thing has to be having the grit and determination to go out there and sell yourself.

 

What inspires you?

I enjoy what I do! Everyday I get to do more and more of what I love and that inspires me to keep going. I work with clients who I personally find exciting, interesting and energetic and couple that with a balance of family life and it’s like a dream come true.

 

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

Research…find out what makes you different and unique, especially if you are entering into a busy market. That and just having the belief that you are good at what you do. Don’t let what others are doing distract you from your own plan.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed Pamela’s story and picked up a few tips.

If you have any questions leave them in comment or contact Pamela via social media.

 

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 www.abfiftyone.com

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morganaInterview with Pamela from marketing company, AB FiftyOne #MUMBOSS
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Interview with Steph from screen printing business Flat102

It’s been a few months since I shared a MumBoss interview, so it’s time to get back on track. I’ve loved setting these interviews up with inspiring mums that run their own businesses and I hope you enjoy reading all about them. I’ve got lots of fantastic interviews lined up and the businesses vary in size, time they’ve been running, and the sector they’re in so there’s something for everyone and each are super inspiring. This month we have a creative business and mama to showcase – Steph and her screen printing business, Flat102. You lovely lot can get a discount in Steph’s online store thanks to her generosity! I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about Steph and her screen printing business and hope you do too. 

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Hi, I’m Steph! I’m 37 and married to James, Mum to Max and expecting a baby girl in 4 weeks!  We live in Buckingham after swapping London life for the country 18 months ago.  I had an amazing 10 years at Disney working in film marketing on some fantastic films, but while on maternity leave I made the difficult decision to leave my fab team and concentrate on family life while also pursuing my dream of launching my own screen printing business.

Tell us a little bit about your business

I originally set up an Etsy shop in 2011 as a bit of a hobby and creative outlet for the cushions and bags that I made of an evening.  The name Flat102 came from the number of the flat I owned in East Acton where my dream of one day owning my own business first started.  It wasn’t until I took an evening screen printing class that I discovered my passion and knew what I wanted that business to be.  I now create hand screen printed art in my home studio aka the garage!  The pieces of art I design and print are a reflection of what I love and would like to have in my own home.  Over the course of the next few months I am hoping to branch out and start printing home textiles.  Cushions, tea towels, napkins etc.

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

The first step was to bring my old Etsy shop ‘back to life’ and then with a lot of help from my husband turn half of our garage into a studio.  Having a dedicated space to work (and make a mess) has been a real turning point as it feels less like a hobby and more like a business.  Like many small businesses Flat102 is still very much a work in progress, but I am looking forward to some exciting collaborations and wholesale conversations that are happening.

Have you made any mistakes?

Yes! Too many to mention, but I try to not dwell on them and instead look at them as lessons learnt. 

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Best thing about running your own business?

The best thing is getting to do what I love while also being able to stay at home with Max.  After that it would be getting feedback from customers who love something I have put my heart into.  When that order comes in, knowing they have spent their hard earned cash on something I have made is a thrill that I don’t think I will ever stop feeling.  I love the process of making, having something tangible at the end of each printing session, after having spent so long in the corporate world I find this so rewarding.  Finally having the flexibility to work to my own timetable and the freedom to try anything is great.   

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The hardest thing?

The freedom to try anything!  I often feel completely overwhelmed by all the ideas that are swirling around my head and all the things I want to achieve, but I am gradually learning to prioritise.  I also struggle with self-belief…give me a product that someone else has made and I will market it like a pro for them, but for some reason I find it so hard to do that for myself and my own products.  For now I’m just faking it ‘till I make it!

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from a huge range of sources…fashion, nature, my crazy boys!  At the moment I am inspired by anything striped!  I LOVE Breton tops and if you ask James he would say I have far too many!  I am also inspired daily by the amazing supportive network of women that Hayley Southwood has brought together in her Southwood Social Hub.  

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

Just go for it and remember its progress not perfection that matters.  It can be so easy to compare yourself to similar businesses and feel like you’re not good enough, especially if they are well established.  It’s important to keep an eye on what is out there, but you are on your own journey so just enjoy it!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed Steph’s story and picked up a few tips.

If you have any questions leave them in comment or contact Steph via social media.

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HERE’S THE DISCOUNT INFO –

20% OFF WHEN YOU USE THE CODE

COFFEE20 

AT THE CHECKOUT

flat102

www.flat102.co.uk

| Instagram

 

(discount valid until October 21st 2016)

morganaInterview with Steph from screen printing business Flat102
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#MUMBOSS -Getting to know Sarah from stationery store Got2Jot

I don’t know about you but I’m a bit of a stationery geek. Rather embarrassingly, when I worked in a office one of my favourite days was when the office supplies delivery came and I got to raid the cupboard for pens and coloured post it notes! Even when I was at school nothing beat the excitement of choosing a new pencil case for the start of term! If like me you love stationery, you NEED to check out this month’s mum boss’ store – Got2Jot. It is full of beautiful notebooks, pens and organisers, and you lovely lot can get a discount thanks to Sarah’s generosity! I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about Sarah and her business and hope you do too.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Sarah Sibley, a born Scouser who never forgets her routes but now lives in a pretty village in Northamptonshire. I am married to Graham and have 2 children, Sam (17) and Beth (14).

I am approaching a big birthday this year so feel it’s a good time to reflect and see what I want to do in the next stage of my life, not only work wise but health and fitness.

Tell us a little bit about your business

I set up Got2Jot in 2013 to offer a range of fun, fashion stationery initially focused on kids stationery but then realised as its online there is an opportunity to sell lovely ranges to parents as well.

I’ve always loved stationery and feel it’s important when you choose a business start up idea that it’s something you have a passion for. I have been running the business in the background alongside my main Marketing Consultancy work . In May this year I took the plunge and have decided to work full time on making Got2Jot grow so it is now my main focus.

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What did you do before and has it helped with your current business?

My background has been primarily in retail marketing – I am a bit of a shopper to say the least so for me it’s always been a perfect fit. I have had lots of experience using research to understand customers needs and wants, market opportunities and developing ideas to launch. Luckily my last contract was working with a big retailer where digital marketing is fundamental  so this has allowed me to take a lot of learning back into my own business. The main issue I have faced however is when you work in a large organisation you have the experts to then go and land the projects whereas when it’s your own business it’s down to you so boy what a steep learning curve

How did you come up with the idea and what gave you that push to start?

I’ve always had a passion for stationery from school right through to work. Being a project manager meant that I had to be highly organised and I always used stationery to keep a track on what I needed to achieve that day. It was a lovely comfort blanket for me.

In 2012 I went to Australia on holiday with the family and the number of lovely stationery stores out there was amazing, they were way ahead of the UK in terms of stylish, organisational stationery for adults but also colourful fun stationery for kids. So I thought this was a good opportunity to try and bring a UK version to the market combining fashion with function but with a fun, colourful basis.

I also knew that although contracting work was lucrative when it was there, I needed to have a back -up plan if ever anything should happen and the contract end. Previously when contracts ended for me I went into a bit of a tailspin in terms of what I needed to focus on but having Got2Jot behind me I always knew that my back up was something I loved and could build on.

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

Research, Research, Research – I looked at the market to see where there was a potential gap and how I would need to position it differently. I also did a lot of focus groups with friends and mums who fitted the target market I was aiming for.  This then allowed me to create what the business idea should be and the types of products that I needed to source.

I visited trade shows to get ideas initially and also internet searches to find products and suppliers that were smaller, different to the high street. I also involved my daughter who joined me visiting trade shows such as Top Drawer as she gave a different view on products for” tween” girls.

Have you made any mistakes or got any regrets?

There were a few product selections which didn’t work as well so I had to write off.  For example diaries and calendars – For a stationery business you need to offer a range of diaries but beyond Feb/March it’s very hard to sell through so ordering the right quantity but still enough choice is a challenge.

Best thing about running your own business?

Flexibility in planning your day so you can balance between home and work. The house is a more settled environment and I can take out time to go and take my daughter to hospital appointments or my son to University visits without worrying about taking time off work.

I also love the fact that this is all my idea, hard work and I can control it. I’m not working and selling other peoples products, they’re products that I love and my customers love. Financially it also means that the margin I make is all mine, I’m not having to share it with anyone else.

The one thing that I have found that there are some real stationery addicts out there (some even worse than me) so the biggest challenge is how to reach them and to get on the top of their shopping list.

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The hardest thing?

Where do I start…

Setting up the website initially in 2013 which I did with my husband was really challenging as although we were both marketing people it’s completely different doing it all yourselves and the tech work behind setting up the online shop, photography, SEO etc was so much to plan and very long evenings

I have recently switched to a wordpress site with a woo commerce shop which I manage alongside with a website consultant who I use to help do the tech side.

More recently being at home although it’s flexible it can be lonely as I am quite an extrovert so get my buzz being round other people, so I try and plan the week to get out and meet others to help bounce ideas etc.

How do you balance work and family life?

Having older children doesn’t necessarily mean that you can devote all your time to the business.

Yes you have the time in the day when they are at school but then you need to be around to help with more complex homework for GCSE’s. (Although the Maths still baffles me) It’s also a good time to be around to help my eldest who is starting second year of A Levels with all the work, pressure and University choices if that’s the route he goes down.

Your role changes to be more of a sounding board, advisor and emotional support.

In terms of balancing and being organised what tips or tricks can you share?

I take Monday mornings to plan out the week so look at events, meetings, product re-stocking, social media planning so I feel the rest of the week is organised. So having a weekly planner is a great idea.

I sometimes use the social media scheduling tools to get messages out but if I am at the desk I prefer to do it “live”

Now I have the time I’m using it to explore the local women’s networking groups to find others which are like minded and a good mix. I definitely don’t do those breakfast ones where you have to bring so many referrals (I know they work for some but too much pressure for me)

As the kids are older I bounce ideas off them, both are doing business studies and its good for them to see how a small business runs and the decisions you have to make. They also are a wealth of knowledge on social media and photography, particularly my teenage daughter.

Finally be brave, you have to move out your comfort zone so that will mean knocking on the doors of friends and family initially to get them to help you, buy from you and spread the word. Awkward sometimes but necessary.

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What inspires you?

Positivity and encouragement from others. Seeing how other small businesses have grown and expanded but to a point that still allows the work life balance.

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

Research your idea thoroughly and try to create something that is slightly different to what else is out there. Talk to anyone you know in your own network of friends, family who work in business who maybe able to help or advise or introduce you to others who will help you.

Accept that there are some things that you need to outsource as your time is precious, so work through what you can do yourself and then allocate a budget to support. I use an accountant and a website developer.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed Sarah’s story and picked up a few tips.

If you have any questions leave them in comment or contact Sarah via social media.

AND

Here’s the DISCOUNT info –

15% off when you use the code CWSR15  at the checkout

HAPPY SHOPPING!

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www.got2jot.co.uk

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

(Discount ends 10/07/2016)

 

morgana#MUMBOSS -Getting to know Sarah from stationery store Got2Jot
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#MUMBOSS – Getting to know Carrie Anne from Mere Soeur

I’m excited for you to get to know this cool mama, Carrie Anne from Mere Soeur. If you haven’t heard of her brand, Mere Soeur before you NEED to check it out. I know lots of you have been loving my Strong Mother travel cup, well this is the lady behind them and so much more mama merch that you need in your life.

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I’m Carrie Anne, I live in North Wales with my little boy River (15 months). His papa lives in Essex and runs a barber shop in Hackney. We all come together every fortnight for family time. I get by on jugs of coffee and chocolate based baked goods the rest of the time.

Tell us a little bit about your business

Mère Soeur is a lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering mums, celebrating sisterhood and offering a little something different. We have totes, tee, pins, mugs and I’m about to launch a bunch of brand new products over the next month or so!

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How did you come up with the idea?

I was so inspired by the mama community online and the growing sisterhood I knew I had to create something to celebrate all things mermaid and put across the message of sisterhood and how important it is to understand and help each other. I basically started designing products that I would want to buy and I’m just glad other people like them too!

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

Before I started Mère Soeur I knew next to nothing about business, printing, designing etc. I knew what i wanted to do but had no idea how to do it. There are services available and people who are waiting to answer your questions and give you guidance. Your local job centre is a great place to find out what services are offered in your area. It’s so worth it. I now have a business mentor, funding and a wonderful accountant!

Have you made any mistakes or got any regrets?

I’m always making mistakes. Every day I make mental notes to ‘do things differently next time’ or ‘make sure that doesn’t happen again’. It’s all part of the process but I don’t have any regrets. You have to mess up to improve and there’s no point going over and over things you just have to brush your shoulders off and move on to the next thing.

Best thing about running your own business?

Definitely the flexibility. Having the opportunity to be with River as often as possible, taking a day off midweek to go to the beach or even just nip out for a lunch date with the little guy is what makes it all worthwhile. After that I’d say that creating something you love and feeling passionate about what you’re doing is priceless. Exhausting, fun, daunting but priceless. Lastly, the feedback from customers and being part of such an incredible community totally warms my cockles. Getting to know the mamas and their families online and in “real life” is just the best.

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The hardest thing?

The thing I find most difficult is having to squeeze little bits of work in throughout the day. We’ve just started 1.5 days of childcare but up until now it’s been a case of using naps, youtube breaks (don’t judge me!) and bedtimes to snatch a bit of time to work. Hopefully I can be more efficient and more present now we’ve found a great nursery.

What inspires you?

The open arms of sisterhood, the online community of mamas we’re so lucky to be a part of, creative people working hard to make it happen with or without babies! These ladies….. @thecostasisters @tibaandmarl @craftedsisterhood

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

Go for it! Don’t be deterred by how long everything takes or how well everyone else seems to be doing. Basically, don’t let ANYTHING stop you. If you have to take it slow then so be it. You’ll get there. Everybody starts somewhere and there’s no reason you can’t make it work.

Listen to your body. It’s great to be bursting with drive and ambition and ideas but letting yourself burn out will put you out of action for much longer than a little bit of ‘me’ time will. Treat yourself, you deserve it!

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Mere Soeur – www.meresoeur.com
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morgana#MUMBOSS – Getting to know Carrie Anne from Mere Soeur
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