Name of Business: Made by Mums with Love
Your Name and Age: Louise Grimes, Aged 34
Tell us about your family: I have 3 gorgeous kiddies, Hamish aged 4 1/2, Anna-Rose aged 2 1/2 and Angus almost 10 months old. My husband and I live in Aberdeen and I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to explore being a Work At Home Mum whilst hubby supports us all.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I have been effectively working for myself since I left my last “proper” job back in 2007! Since then I have had three children, one failed business and worked as a freelance web designer and online consultant. I started my first company at not the best of times, (both for economical and personal reasons). I first got the idea for Made by Mums with Love whilst I was freelancing and to be honest it wasn’t a difficult transition as I was already working at my own pace and I knew as soon as the seed had been planted I had to take it slow and work through the process carefully.
When did you launch? February 1st 2013
How did you get started? The idea came to me from being friends with a group of women who were all due to have babies in April 2012. Quite a few of these mummies make they most amazing handmade goodies and I got to thinking there must be a lot more mums like them. I started looking around and realised it was quite difficult to find everyone in one place… I eventually stumbled across Etsy and Folksy, but found they were over crowded and not very personal, although Folksy at least were British only. I thought that I could probably design a website which would enable mums to sell their items in an online shop dedicated to crafty mums. This idea nagged at me until I couldn’t get to sleep for thinking about it, (which is incredible for someone with a 4 month old)! So I started thinking of names. Next thing I knew I was buying the URL and before I knew it I was designing the website, getting a business bank account, researching the legalities… The cost outlay was very low for me as I was able to do most of the work on the site myself. I am also lucky enough to know some very clever web developers who helped me when I got stuck. I realised after changing the launch date 3 times that I needed to get someone on board officially to help with the work load. I convinced a good friend Lesley Michie, (another mummy) to join me and since January 2013 she has been a keen team member in getting the business launched.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business? Being in control of almost everything, although one thing I have learnt is that you’re never truly your own boss as you still have expectations to meet and I often feel that our customers and crafty mummies are in someway the boss as whether they know it or not they decide how the company should be run!
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business? The pressure I put on myself to keep everyone happy. It’s incredibly difficult to strike a healthy balance between life and home when you work from home.
What has worked well about your business? As we are relatively new, it’s difficult to say at this stage… Saying that, initial feedback has been incredibly positive. In that respect I would say that our focus is very strong and that we have managed to enter the market at a good time.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it? In my previous business Corsellis Ltd, myself and my business partner, (the Designer) had some fantastic opportunities as a Fashion Design Company… Within just four months of working together we were invited to sell in a concession at Top Shop’s flagship store in Oxford Street and had a large order confirmed by ASOS to sell in their Independent Designers section. We were so excited we didn’t really consider the impact of making such huge leaps before we were ready. The result was that we rushed ourselves in to making a quick decision in finding a manufacturer and so began a number of mistakes in the whole process… We managed to fulfill our orders and not let down the retailers but at a huge cost. I dealt with it by recognising that the company had no capital to move forward and decided to close it down, rather than waste time and loose more money – it is a very hard thing to recognise failure and do something about it! However it was a very steep learning curve and I’ve kept those lessons very close to my heart and I will never rush my business before it’s ready again.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?To be honest it’s bit of a scrap really! My two eldest go to nursery in the afternoon and when my youngest naps I whizz out all my emails and make any phone calls I need to do… When the kids are in bed, I’m straight back to my computer going through the to-do list. Luckily as all of the Sellers we work with are Mums they understand our situation exactly! I still manage to get the kids out to their various activities and we make sure that during the day the weekend is completely free for family time. My husband is mostly supportive, but he does struggle to understand why I work so hard for at the moment no return. I guess I haven’t got the best track record with regards to Corsellis so I think his biggest concern is that we don’t end up financially worse off! He hasn’t grumbled too much about the fact I haven’t gotten to bed until 3am every night for the last two weeks… Yet anyway!
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business? To not lose money – it would be nice to make some money too! I don’t want to focus too much on this. The website will have to do a lot of business to make any money and I think if I focused on this, I would loose focus on what the site was set up to do and that is to provide a platform for Work At Home Crafty Mums to sell their items and still make money themselves!
Would you ever give up your business to do something else? Not at this stage no, although I would like to have another baby still, but I’ve previously been sat on a birthing ball in labour working away so I don’t think a fourth would stop me!
Do you have an exit strategy? Not got anywhere close to thinking about this yet!
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come… Absolutely not. I think I’m one of those people who will never be satisfied, I always tend to think well that could have been done better… I hope I prove myself wrong as I would love for it to happen but I don’t put pressure on myself or expect it to happen.
Where do you hope to be in five years time? I hope to be running the business at a level where I have employed enough people to run the day-to-day activities of the business. I hope to be able to turn around and prove myself wrong after all and say “hey, I made It”!!
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more. I don’t currently, but this is definitely something that could change if finances allow.
Your website link: www.madebymumswithlove.com