I am the Founder and CEO of Babyblooms Limited, the baby gift company known for their stunning bouquets of Baby Clothes and unusual gifts for Mum and Baby. Babyblooms was the first to introduce baby clothing bouquets to the UK in 2005. After my sons were born, I worked part-time for a while but with rising childcare costs I took the plunge and founded my own company when they were aged 4 and 7.
Originally, I studied Business and Finance at University and worked in account management with a telecoms company. I always wanted to work for myself and Babyblooms gave me the freedom to harness my creativity and spend time on something that I really enjoy. Being able to run my own business gave me the flexibility to work around my family and be there for the special milestones in their lives. Below are my top tips for starting a business whilst raising a family.
- Believe in your vision for your business
I had complete faith that my business would succeed and was totally convinced that the concept of selling bouquets made from Baby clothes would work online in the UK. I could have started Babyblooms on a smaller scale, but I believed that we could never meet demand that way. So, I convinced my family and we went all out to grow the business that I envisaged.
- Have a family friendly ethos
At Babyblooms, I have been very fortunate to work with family and an excellent team of flexible and accommodating staff. Working in a small team is all about give and take and we have been able to provide cover for each other to ensure the business meets its deadlines and we all get to be there for our families too. I believe my role outside of the home has given me the freedom to be me, whilst appreciating the time I get to spend with my family. I hope I am a better mother as a result.
- Plan for the worst case scenario
Despite my strong convictions for the brand, I always plan for the worst case scenario. My business plans always include my own ambitious targets and objectives, but I always account for alternative outcomes, say if we were to achieve 80% or even 50% of those targets. This way, you are much more prepared if something were to go wrong.
- Never mix business with family time
Always keep business separate from home and family time – I find that having a physical door that I can shut on it helps! If things seem too tough to handle, I break it down to what I can and can’t change. This is followed up with a set of tasks so I know what to do and when. Then I fold my list up, go home to my family and shut the door until it is feasible to do something. Remember that worrying in the meantime is futile.
- Take your time planning your next steps
Don’t rush into anything and use the time when your kids are sleeping to be more productive. My children were at school by the time Babyblooms was up and running, but I spent a well over a year beforehand designing the garments and bouquets, working on our branding and website, carrying out market research and planning budgets. All of this planning was achieved in the evenings when the boys were in bed. Needless to say, I was strict about bedtimes, otherwise I would have never got my work done.