My name is Keira O’Mara and I am 31. I am married to Dan, 35, who is a Mental Health nurse and we have a little boy Sam who is nearly 2. We live in Birmingham.My business is called Mamascarf. Mamascarf is a breastfeeding scarf allowing mums to feed discreetly in public whilst providing essential support without the need for a cushion.
I have just given up a job in Customer Marketing. It was really hard having to effectively do two jobs and be a mum and I was extremely tired but since I have given up work, it’s been great, I absolutely love working for myself.
Mamascarf launched in November 2008.
I came up with the idea when breastfeeding Sam, as I was always really self conscious feeding in public and trying unsuccessfully to cover up. I would also get arm ache without my support cushions. I realised that there was a gap in the market for a product that would perform these functions. I then started cutting up fabric and deciding upon the perfect design.
I did lots of research with breastfeeding mums. I wanted to find out what their needs were and what kind of design they thought would work, how much they would be prepared to pay, every aspect of it really.
I was made redundant whilst I was on maternity leave. So I was able to fund the business out of my redundancy money and some savings.
I have been really lucky in promoting my business. I have done very little in the way of paid advertising (I couldn’t afford to!). I was featured on a BBC business programme and managed to use this to my advantage to get some national press (via a press agency who sold my story onto several national papers).
What has really well for me is that I am able to spend more time with Sam and work flexibly from home.
My biggest challenge is trying to get Mamascarf into national retailers. I sent out letters of introduction in the early days and didn’t get a response, so decided to leave it until I had some sales data and publicity to go back to them with.
work 2 days on Mamascarf from home, while Sam is at the childminder and then anything else I do while he is napping or in the evening.
I think if you get the opportunity I would definitely say go for it. It can be hard, I am not taking a salary yet and don’t know when I will do, but I am much, much happier than I was in my old job, as now I have a great work life balance and I am doing something I really love.