Examining how mum business owners are creating wealth for other mums
The media loves a mumpreneur. And with all the attention paid to them you could be forgiven for thinking that the only way to happiness as a working mum is to set up on your own.
But plenty of mumpreneurs are faring well enough to be providing jobs for other mums - so if you’re looking for flexible, family-friendly working, why not take a look at some of the business opportunities that other working mums can offer...
Laura Summers runs www.petitpoppet.co.ukand is building a team of agents. “The agents build a stash of demo slings from the range and demo them to groups / individuals as they see fit,” she explains. Laura’s agents earn a good commission from any sales made, plus 5% from all sales is donated to SANDS, a UK charity which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby. “When I started the business my long term hope was that I could provide choices to other mums who didn't want to return to work after having their babies,” Laura says. “I'm pleased to say this is what I'm now offering just seven months after launch.
Sandy Nash (www.phoenix-trading.eu/web/sandynash) believes the direct selling market place is an ideal middle ground for many women who want to do something beyond being a Mum but don’t quite fancy becoming a mumpreneur.
“I'm a Mum who recruits rather than employs,” she says. “I gave up work as a successful, well-paid financial consultant to start my own business and run my work around my family when my children were 5 and 2.”
Sandy signed up to be an Independent Phoenix Trader, selling greeting cards and stationery direct, initially just to friends and family, and then gradually expanding her customer base.
“It couldn't be more different than the financial world I left behind,” says Sandy. “I thought it was going to be a temporary break to escape office hours and free myself to be a full time Mum. However, nearly two years on I am starting to build my own team of Phoenix traders, and intend to build the business to the size it needs to be to enable me to avoid going back to an office, unless it’s to drop off some brochures and cards!”
Anne-Marie Wilkins runs www.diddidance.com, toddler dance classes based around South East London. “I started the classes in 2003 and now employ 8 part-time self-employed teachers who take various classes for me, and have 7 franchisees,” she says.
“Being an ex-dancer myself I know how tough it can be to find regular work, never mind work that can fit around other dancing jobs and classes. Most dance schools have their classes after school and weekends but as our classes are for pre-school children our staff still have teaching opportunities during the day too. I feel we work as a team and I like to think we're friends.”
Natasha Tamlyn launched Red Jelly, creative play for children (www.redjellykids.co.uk) in 2010. She had the idea for the business just after her second child was born. “I wonder if our creative juices are heightened through sleep deprivation,” she says. “Or if it’s just an in-built survival instinct in mums to change their work/life balance after having kids?”
Natasha says the business is thriving. “Parents/carers and children seem to love us which is great news, so early on in the business set-up. And due to the demand from our customers plus a national interest in the business as a franchise, we’re now heading towards helping other mums earn some money from this great idea.”
In 2006, after the birth of her first child, Clare Mutch (www.icejewellery.com) started running jewellery parties in the evenings while her husband ran their jewellery shop in Barnstaple, North Devon. “Really it started out as just a hobby,” she recalls. “I was at home all day with Joshua while Tony was in the shop and I missed not having any customer contact. I had an idea that I could bring the store to those customers that, for whatever reason, couldn’t or didn’t want to go into the busy town centre. A very good friend of mine offered to host my first party at her house, so I took a sample of the jewellery ranges we held in the shop, displayed it all on her dining room table, and, from the guests that she invited, took orders to the tune of just over £600! Not bad for 2 hours work. From there I got two more bookings, then at those parties I gained further bookings until by Christmas of 2006 I had a party booked for almost every evening. October and November were pretty busy months and I had to turn potential hostesses away as I just couldn’t fit them in!”
Over the next four years Clare slowly built up the business by introducing others to join their team and offering incentives for people to host their own parties. But the focus really shifted onto the Jewellery Party Plan business when the economy hit rock bottom in the latter part of 2008.
“I realised that even though people were spending less in town our bookings were still on the up. As a hostess they received a free gift just for holding a party and 15% commission in goods, so most hostesses tended to get their order for free. When money is tight that’s a really great incentive to hold a party.”
Whether you’re a mumpreneur or just employed by one, it seems the future’s bright - the future’s mums.