My Mumpreneur feature this morning is Katrina founder of BelleBelly :O)
Who are you?
Katrina Blunt, married mum of two daughters aged 1 and 3. Founder of BelleBelly at http://www.bellebelly.co.uk/
What do you do?
I run BelleBelly (http://www.bellebelly.co.uk/) offering belly bands with a difference. We particularly target breastfeeding mums as we believe no other ‘belly band’ is designed to fit a post-pregnancy belly. And we think that if we help just a few people to gain the confidence to breastfeed, then we’re doing a good job.
BelleBelly is also a must-have wardrobe item when pregnant too as it covers your bump as it grows.
We’ve taken everything that is wrong with belly bands and made them better.
Others are too short – we’ve made BelleBelly full length from under bust to hips to ensure full coverage of the bump plus full coverage for breastfeeding mums
Others fall down or ride up – we have made BelleBelly A-line in shape as a woman’s under bust is usually smaller than their hips – a fact that other belly band manufacturers seem to forget
Others are bulky – we have made BelleBelly one layer of fabric to ensure it adds the cover-up and not the bulk
Others make you too hot and sweaty – we have made BelleBelly from natural fibres with stretch (95% cotton, 5% elastane)
Others are hand wash only – with a new baby the last thing you need is to have to hand wash garments. BelleBelly is machine washable.
When did you establish your business?
BelleBelly launched in May 2010. I then went on holiday for 3 weeks in June so had to put things on hold while I was away (not great timing for a holiday!) and then it was all steam ahead from July 2010.
What made you start your own business?
I have always wanted to work for myself and not go back to ‘traditional’ 9-5 role working for someone else. I’m also the type of person who if I get an idea in my head I just have to develop it. So these two things combined meant I was really determined to take my idea right from design to the market and make a real success of it.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I love not being answerable to anyone (except my other half when I want to invest money in the business, then it becomes more of a joint decision!). And I love that I can work around my children. My working day normally starts at 7pm when they’ve gone to bed and I just go to bed when it’s all done for the day.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
It’s difficult to switch off. For example I took my 1 year old to a music and movement class right at the same time as I was trying to make a bank transfer overseas and I found it difficult to concentrate on ‘incy wincy spider’! My daughter didn’t mind though, she wasn’t too interested in the singing either at that age!
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
When you are investing resources in your own idea, however much you believe in it, there is always that niggle that it won’t be a success. So I planned to start small and start slowly. However I’ve been astounded at the volume of products I’ve sold so far and only wish I’d ordered more from the start. It’s been a challenge sometimes to get my products manufactured quickly enough!
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
I truly believe that if you’ve identified a gap in the market and feel passionately about your product or idea then just going for it can be the best way. You can spend a fortune in time and money thoroughly researching the market, when starting up and testing on a small scale can be just as informative. I would say though that you shouldn’t do it quickly at the expense of proper product testing and setting your business up correctly so you don’t run into any problems later