Posted on February 2, 2011

Mumpreneur Feature – Jenny McLaughlan

Mum in Business
My Mumpreneur feature on the blog this morning is Jenny McLaughlan creator of the GUMIGEM!!

Who are you?

I am Jenny McLaughlan, mother of two living in Dundee. I am recently back at work in my full time sales managers job after having my second baby Miller, who is now almost 1! I love all things outdoors especially snowboarding, but with little people and the costs of childcare that’s on hold for a few years! Married to Stuart a Glaswegian with a great sense of humour and a huge support to me. I also have a little girl Boo who is two and a half! So the age gap is small and life is busy!

What do you do?
We specialise in teething necklaces with a difference, nothing like this has been seen in the UK before. I found that I just stopped wearing a necklace when I had  a baby because they pull and chew on them. You don’t really want them chomping on something that is expensive or could be harmful to them. The GUMIGEM was born! To the lay eye it just looks like a nice pendant, but is non toxic so baby safe and meets FDA standards. It also comes with a breakaway clasp to preserve mummy’s neck if baby tugs too hard! We do compromise so much of ourselves when we have children, its nice that this is now one area we don’t have to! They can be for any caregiver, granny, auntie or even liberal Daddy!! I am sure Elton John would wear one!

When did you establish your business?
We only started trading at the end of 2010, but the journey has been about 10 months, once the idea hit me, it was then lots of research into the market, silicon suppliers, designs, getting prototypes, investigating safety etc.

What made you start your own business?
I have been searching for something for as long as I can remember. I am always full of great ideas but usually hit blocks, for example my ideas are bigger than my budget! I guess its just been driven on by have Miller, he was ill when he was a little baby and it really opened my eyes to how I felt about my current job. I do enjoy it, but hate being away from home, paying out huge sums in childcare and in return don’t get to see my kids as much as I would like!

What do you love about working for yourself?

I am not really totally working for myself as yet. It’s my aspiration! I am the main breadwinner, so I cannot walk away until it’s affordable and we are just at the start of our journey. I am sure though that day will come, as I am confident the product fills a gap in the market and the feedback and early sales I have had have been phenomenal. When that day comes I know I will love being in total control of the business, not relying on others.

Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?

My current job is quite like working by yourself and what’s hard about that is, your job is never done! You don’t come home having left your office, so your always thinking about what else needs doing!

Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?

A billion things! I have different design ideas now, that I cannot afford to produce yet, so would love to have thought that through a bit more! I also booked a large baby show exhibition which was overpriced and has since been cancelled and I am waiting for my money back. I would have researched this better. I also got a bit excited by my ideas and concentrated on that part before looking into the legalities and boring stuff! But that stuff has to be done!

What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?

Go for it! Someone once said to me, the key to happiness is having options; it gives a sense of freedom. If you are contemplating starting your own business you must be driven by something that you want to change, and the only way you will do it, is to try! Also research, research and more research dull but true!

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