Our Mumpreneur feature for the day is Joanne. Joanne runs Baby Loves Shopping and UK Baby Shows; have a read of her interview and then head over to her sites. Joanne has kindly offered 10% discount on http://www.babylovesshopping.co.uk/ for Mummy Loves readers with the code MummyLoves valid until 31st May 2011. Thank you Joanne :O)
Who are you?
Hi my name is Joanne and I am a wife and mum of two, Charlie 6 and Marie 3 and business owner.
What do you do?
I run an online store selling innovative and practical baby equipment called Baby Loves Shopping (www.babylovesshopping.co.uk) and recently I have started another website which is an online directory of local, regional and national baby shows and fairs in the UK, called UK Baby Shows (www.ukbabyshows.co.uk).
When did you establish your business?
Baby Loves Shopping was started in November 2009 when I wanted to bring together the some of the fabulous products Mums and Dads are designing from their own parenting experiences. In 2010 I decided to take some of my favourite products “on tour” to various baby shows in the UK. We went to Leicester, Oxford, Leeds, Brighton, Southampton and Twickenham. There are so many shows but finding out about them all and which to invest in took a lot of time. It was due to this experience that I started UK Baby Shows in September 2010.
What made you start your own business?
There are three things really. My father runs his own engineering business and I always liked the idea of being my own boss and whilst through the years I had had a few ideas I never followed any of them up. Then in 2009 I felt I was being split into many pieces. I was spending two days and nights a week away from my family to look after my terminally ill mother, two days a week at work (I used to be an IT Manager for an information management company) and three days madly catching up with everything at home and trying to have some family time. Suddenly life seemed very short and my mother, before she died, encouraged me that it was time to take a risk and start my own business. Also in 2009 my best friend and my niece were both pregnant and kept coming to me asking for advice on what they would need for their babies as they knew I had done a lot of product research when I became a mum. In October 2009 I went to the BPA Baby and Child Trade Fair and met many amazing mums and dads with great products they designed to resolve the varying parenting issues they had experienced – quite a few of these mumpreneurs and their products are already mentioned on this blog! This was the final push I needed to start Baby Loves Shopping in November 2009 and I left my IT job that Christmas.
What do you love about working for yourself?
The flexibility and freedom! My son’s school play is on Thursday morning – no problem I can go. My daughter is ill – no worries I can stay home with her. I love that I decide what I do on any particular day. I have also really enjoyed meeting a whole new crowd of people. The mumpreneur community is so welcome and friendly. In some ways life is easier now that I work for myself but I am not less busy, far from it!
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?Sometimes I don’t like all the responsibility and think it would be easier with a business partner to discuss the issues with and come to a joint decision.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
I tend to jump in and think I will work everything out as I go along. I wish I had done a bit more planning and research and got some training in the areas of business where I have little experience. The problem with learning by your mistakes is that sometimes it can be expensive!
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
First of all tap into the mumpreneur community through twitter or various websites such as Mumsclub (www.mumsclub.co.uk) or Mums the Boss (http://www.mumstheboss.co.uk/). You will get a lot of support, advise and encouragement there. Secondly research your idea and look into the skills needed to run a business. Don’t be put off but work out where your weaknesses lie and what you can do about or who you can get training or advise from. Finally, just go for it! It can be a lot of fun!