Name of Business:
‘The Birthing Shirt Company’ – A new online birthwear and birth prep products store. We sell the ultimate birthing shirts for pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding and bonding….. Amazing!
Your Name and Age:
Lindsey Benson, aged 38
About My Family :
I have been married to William for nearly five years and the proud mother of two boys; Henry (3) and Edward (10 months). I also have a lovely stepdaughter Phoebe (9).
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?:
I set up the business in early 2011 but for the previous 19 years I had been studying/training/working as an Architect. Having a career in Architecture is both interesting and challenging and has taken me around the world, but the demanding long hours and unpredictable deadlines were becoming a large strain when I started a family.
I was made redundant during my maternity leave in 2010. This gave me both time to rethink my career options, and provided start up capital For a new business venture. Like a lot of families, economic pressures meant that we relied on two incomes and I still desired the fulfilment and satisfaction that I had enjoyed from working, so knowing I wanted more control of my work schedule I decided to become my own boss.
Being on maternity leave gave me space to formulate business ideas (even during the 4am feed!), drawing from my own birthing experiences and spotting a gap in the market, ‘The bamboo birthing shirt’ for wearing whilst in childbirth was created and we started trading in May 2011.
It is early days and the transition from full time employee to home based business owner has been both exciting and daunting, but the change of career direction will definitely have been worth it if it means I can achieve a better work life balance.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?:
The flexibility of being my own boss – working for myself gives me the opportunity to work to my schedule, not less just differently – It is also strengthening my relationship with my children as I can fit work around them, rather than the other way round.
The thrill of receiving compliments – I have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback about my birthing shirts, which is really encouraging and drives me on.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business:
Dealing with isolation – I feel I’m quite a self-sufficient home worker but you can go a bit crazy spending day after day working alone. ‘mums the boss’ and ‘women in business’ networking events have been invaluable in giving me motivation, making business connections and using as a soundboard for my business plans.
Going it alone – with no back up, that you receive when working in a team, the buck stops with you on everything which keeps you on your toes and adds extra pressure if you are unable to work e.g when you are ill.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?:
I do use part time childcare facilities so I can focus on work without the distraction of my children. With just a couple of days of childcare I can be surprisingly productive. I also have the advantage of a very supportive accountant husband who is a good counterbalance to my creative leanings on the business and drives me to be disciplined and focused on the numbers.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?:
I hope ‘the birthing shirt company’ is the brand leader in birthwear, we have many alternative colours & designs for the shirts and my product portfolio has expanded into a full range of complimentary birthing products.
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If you can offer a discount or special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers, please write it here:
Mention family friendly working when ordering a birthing shirt and we will include a matching headband for free.