Posted on July 19, 2011

Mumpreneur Feature – Chetna

Mumpreneur

The very lovely Chetna from MAMAMI is on the blog this morning to tell you all about herself & her business and don’t miss her Glammy MAMAMI top tips at the end of the post :O)

WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Chetna Patel (my friends call me Chet). I’m a mummy to 2 gorgeous little girls and a wife to a very tolerant and lovely husband. I love fashion – shoes and handbags are my weakness. I’m a big foodie and love to travel and see the world! I love all things creative and studied ‘marketing’ at University.

WHAT DO YOU DO?
My first job is mummy and I fit around this role my other job! I am the founder of luxury bag brand MAMAMI. Gorgeous bags for the ultimate glammy mamami.  A truly stylish yet practical baby bag, designed for the mummy who won’t compromise on style or glamour for her or her child.

WHEN DID YOU ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS?
All a little bit fuzzy but the website www.mamami.co.uk went live Oct 09.

WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

About 6years ago my husband and I decided to move out of London (due to his work) and up to Cambridgeshire. It was a big step but was agreed by both of us as a good move for work-life balance and for future family.



I was fortunate enough to have worked for some great companies (Virgin Drinks and Coca-Cola Enterprises)I learnt so much from these companies and the people I worked with. I learnt how to go about developing new products the steps and processes that would be required to go from an initial idea to a final product.  I truly loved my work.



After my daughter Shivali Amara was born I was full of ideas (aren’t all new mums)!  For me it was baby bags in particular that I couldn’t quite get my head around.  I decided to do some research in a quest to find a bag I liked, but quickly came to the conclusion that, when it came to baby bags, it was function or fashion, not both!


The more I thought about it the more I felt I had the skills and passion needed to succeed.  I also felt the excitement I used to feel when working in London.


I wanted to run a business that allowed me to not only fulfil my own personal needs (sense of achievement) but also allowed me to play an active role and be there for my children. I wanted to work but also see my girls grow up and be around for all key milestones.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
I love the fact that I have control of my day and time. I don’t have a 9-5 mentality. I manage my work around school runs, docs appointments, ballet performances, sports day! I can get up and start as early as I want, carry on after the girls are asleep, fit in gym sessions, coffee with girlfriends and general household chores.


My work gives me a better work, life balance.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DO NOT LIKE ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
Balancing motherhood, (4 year old & a 10 month old), a husband and my own business has been tricky, filled with guilt, anxiety and worry.  I worry when I don’t work enough I worry when I work too much.  Sometimes I just can’t seem to win.


I’ve worked for large companies; the work was pressured and stressful but nothing quite like the stress of owning your own business.  The stress of owning your own business is different. It’s a 24/7 stress.  A niggling thought constantly in the back of your mind with no time off.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD GO BACK AND DO DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD?
I wished I’d signed up to twitter and LinkedIn much sooner. I also wish I’d gone to a one-stop-shop for my website. I love the way in which it looks and I’m very happy with the end result, but it ended up costing me a lot of money, taking a lot longer than I anticipated and being more difficult and stressful than it really needed to be.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A MUM CONSIDERING STARTING HER OWN BUSINESS?
For any mummies wanting to start up their own business my advice, do your research, understand your market, don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice, keep a brown paper bag for those scary moments oh and most of all just go for it.

Glammy Mamami Top Tips

  1. Research your idea, use family and friends as sounding boards.  They’ll be only too happy to help.
  2. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn. They will be many people only too happy to help and give advice or offer their help.
  3. Contact Business Link.  They are brilliant (sadly only open until Oct 11) and not only give you access to free courses on setting up your own business but are also only a phone call away for help and advice. Business Link can help give you advice on how to secure investors.  If you need investment make sure you do your number crunching and understand exactly how much you’ll need to set up your business and when you think payback is likely.
  4. The British Libraries business centre offer mentoring sessions for £15. Also by joining the free reader programme you will have access to loads of free research and information.
  5. Don’t be scared to contact potential stockists in advance. Ask them their thoughts and views on what works within the market you are trying to enter.
  6. Don’t let negative feedback or comments get you down, learn from them.
  7. Trust your intuition and gut.  All mummies I know have these in abundance.
  8. Get onto twitter, there are 100s of mummies in business all willing to help and give advice.
  9. Don’t feel pressured into anything, if the business plan is not working out or the numbers don’t add up, or the research highlights an issue don’t be scared to take a step back and review your idea.
  10. Remember there are lots of support groups, mentoring programmes and websites for mums wanting to set up their own businesses.  Use them.

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