Roz & Sarah from Catching Stars are my new business Mums on the blog today. You can also catch up with them on twitter, facebook or pinterest! They are kindly offering all my readers 15% off everything at Catching Stars when you use the code ‘THISMUMMYLOVES’ this offer expires on 18th May 2013.
Who are you?
We are Roz Robinson and Sarah Campbell, two old friends, mums and career women. We met in 1997 as first year university students and have been friends ever since. We both ended up marrying men we met at that same university, and have four daughters between us – Niamh, Lyra, Lara and Cassie.
Here’s us in the late ‘90s (oh dear!):
And here’s us now:
What do you do?
Roz designs textiles and fabric products for kids. She uses bold, bright print and pattern to bring more than a splash of colour to kids’ play areas. No wishy-washy pastels are allowed – we are dedicated to colour.
Sarah, with a background in blue-chip marketing both in the UK and US, runs the business side of things for Catching Stars. Sarah has barely a creative bone in her body (and isn’t allowed anywhere near a sewing machine!), but she is the sales/marketing/operations and finance function all rolled into one, and is happiest making phone calls and ticking things off the (very long) to-do list.
When we set up the business, we were keen not only keep all production in the UK, but also to help other working parents like us to find a way of managing the work-life balance. So, our fantastic sewing team (the very talented Susan and Denise) joined us. We all work hard, but with the flexibility to manage work around family life.
Here we are making the most of our poppy teepee whilst the kids were asleep….
When did you establish your business?
A conversation in March 2012 over a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine started it all off. The company became official in July 2012 and we took in our first stock and began trading in January 2013.
What made you start your own business?
Roz began designing fabric when she had her two daughters. A lover of all things bright, colourful and jolly, she wanted to create play spaces for her children that the whole family loved. She didn’t see why products for kids shouldn’t also appeal to parents.
However, with a career as a research scientist to maintain (we should actually refer to her as Roz Robinson PhD!), Roz decided to team up with Sarah to turn the hobby into a business. Sarah has always wanted to run her own business, and the partnership between us works brilliantly as our skills sets are so different and complementary.
What do you love about working for yourself?
The freedom, the sense of endless potential and the wonderful feedback we get from other parents on the products, especially the teepees. We are creating something that makes other people smile, and that feels amazing.
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
We can honestly say that this has been a thrill of a ride so far. We’ve worked many many unpaid hours, but the fact that this has rarely felt like ‘work’ simply shows how much we’re enjoying ourselves.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Some small things perhaps, but every little mistake is such a valuable lesson that we’ve been able to improve the way we do things, and that has benefitted the business. You have to be willing to fail if you want to learn and succeed in business. If you get everything right first time, you’ll never know if you missed an opportunity.
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
The personal rewards can be huge in terms of work-life balance, personal fulfilment and loving what you do. However, you have to have an idea that you believe in wholeheartedly, and that you are genuinely passionate about. This will be very hard work, so make sure you’re going to enjoy the ride.