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Maria Myers | Chic Shack Helen Holmes talks to Maria Myers, founder of London-based Children’s furniture store Chic Shack, and mother to four lively boys. Between furnishing the homes of the stars and jetting off around the world, notebook in hand, in search of inspiration, it’s amazing that Maria Myers manages to spend any time at all with her four sons. We chat to Maria about the joys and challenges of combining a thriving business with being a mother to four. Maria is a woman who knows where her priorities lie. “My motto is ‘she who loves, wins’, and another golden rule is ‘the more you give, the more you receive’.” Putney couple, Maria and her husband Gary, who run Chic Shack together, ensure that they play a big part in the lives of their children. “We do most of the school runs and clubs ourselves. We no longer have full-time childcare, but our older boys help out, picking up younger brothers and doing their bit around the house. Our house, shop and offices are all within a ten minute walk of each other – we’ve deliberately built our lives in close proximity, so that we can aim for a good work/life balance.” Even when Maria is travelling, she ensures that she is back for all the important events. “I’m there for the boys’ special occasions – their assemblies, their first cricket matches, the teddy bears’ picnics – I wouldn’t miss them for the world.” When she was pregnant with her

oldest son she worked in fashion and had studied interior and furniture design, and was disappointed by the ranges of nursery furniture on offer – so she decided to do something about it. She designed her own collection of furniture and, together with Gary, who handles the business side, opened her

“I like homes to feel homely – which is all about comfort. I also think that white interiors are peaceful and calming. We like to ensure that pieces remain useful, even after children have grown up. A chest of drawers or an armchair in the nursery could later be in a sitting room or bedroom. Classic style never dates.”

fingers can be wiped off! All our painted furniture has a protective varnish, and so do our walls. Our sofas have washable slipcovers, and our seats are covered in a wipeable white faux leather fabric.” Maria is keen on practicality, as well as style in her designs. “I like homes to feel homely – which is all about comfort. I also think that white interiors are peaceful and calming. We like to ensure that pieces remain useful, even after children have grown up. A chest of drawers or an armchair in the nursery could later be in a sitting room or bedroom. Classic style never dates.” Maria’s passion for design and her enthusiasm for family life can really be combined to maximum fun effect when it’s time for the children’s parties. “We just love birthday parties! We blow up balloons, decorate fairy cakes and put out fabulous bunting in the back garden. We take our themes very seriously!” Ultimately, it’s Maria’s experiences as a parent which inspire her work. “Parenthood has taught us about unconditional love, and all the joy and laughter that children bring us through the simplest things. I believe that a child’s space is a very important element of their growth. It makes me feel good to know that I help to create their special places, and that hopefully they will be happy ones.”

first shop in 1997. 16 years on, business is thriving. “We’ve been a recognised brand over a decade and we have clients all over the globe – including royalty, rock stars, footballers and supermodels!” Maria’s ability to multitask extends to her furniture. The Chic Shack style is predominantly white, and while busy parents might be forgiven for wondering whether such a colour scheme, is, well, sensible, with young children around, Maria doesn’t see it as a problem. “People often ask us how we keep our www.chicshack.net own home so clean. It’s simple – sticky


NLM Photography

Shnuggle

Betty Ioannides www.nappycakesbybetty.com

Natalie Martinez www.nataliemartinezphotography.com

Sinead Murphy www.shnuggle.com

When Betty’s sister fell pregnant she wanted to buy her an amazing present in celebration of the precious news. As any doting aunty-to-be, she wanted the gift to show how thrilled she was about this exciting time. Betty soon found herself researching nappy cakes online but felt they were impersonal and that the gift wouldn’t be unique. From this, she decided to make her own and instantly fell in love with the whole process. Betty enjoyed making the nappy cake but also appreciated presenting her gift and seeing her sister’s expression. From that moment she knew she had found her perfect job; and one that incorporated her creativity with her love for babies.

Having completed an internship in the Art department at Vogue, Natalie Martinez was inspired by the work of great fashion photographers in the industry and soon realised what a great creative outlet photography can be. Natalie had always enjoyed taking pictures of babies and children; exploring their sense of presence and personality. Pining for a creative career, Natalie made her photography business a reality,

What makes Nappy Cakes By Betty unique? My nappy cakes are built to look like two tier edible cakes so they also make amazing centrepieces at baby events. To maintain the clean, elegant look of each design, most items are hidden inside the cake; so an ‘ingredients’ list is provided. Every cake is customisable and special gift items can be added to make each one truly unique and personal. How does running a business fit around a busy home life? A work-life balance is so important and getting it right means a lot to me; I’m working hard now so that I am ready to juggle work and babies one day. What plans have you got for the future? There are a few ideas in the pipeline but for now I’ll continue to advertise as much as possible and attend shows - I’m excited about exhibiting at The Baby Show ExCeL, February 2014.

What makes NLM Photography unique? I like to think my desire and enthusiasm to get the best results from my work is what makes me unique. I truly enjoy what I do and I see each little person as a brand new challenge. It doesn’t always come easy for little ones to have their photo taken, I always take time to put them at ease, which always gets the very best results. I am very proud of my work and my business, and this will always show in my photography. How does running a business fit around family life? Photography work is very flexible, there are no set working days, so I can often fit my bookings around my availability which is a big plus. What plans have you got for the future? I have just started to branch out into the wonderful world of wedding photography. It has proved to be incredibly challenging but I love the results and the beautiful images that can be captured. I would love to continue with my baby and child photography alongside, photography is a very fulfilling career!

Sinead and husband Adam hadn’t intended on launching their own company, but when they began using the traditional Moses basket with their first baby they knew there was an opportunity to improve the product. With Adam’s background in product design it was easy to create a Moses basket that incorporates the traditional aspects but with modern improvements. Sinead and Adam created one product and their idea was so well received, they decided to develop a range of products. What makes Shnuggle unique? Our Shnuggle Basket is the first nonwicker or non-maize Moses basket that’s hypoallergenic and easy to clean. It’s also 10% longer than traditional baskets, so you get longer use. We’ve designed a clever locking mechanism that ensures the hood stays up. The basket doesn’t creak and rustle because of the man-made material that we have used. We call it the silent Moses basket! How does running a business fit around family life? We’ve found that running our own business gives us the flexibility that we didn’t previously have. If we have to go to a doctor’s appointment or to see a nativity play, we can schedule the working day around these things. We work hard, but because we love what we do and genuinely believe in our product, we really enjoy it. What plans have you got for the future? We intend to grow our business to release more innovative baby products that help make life easier for modern parents.

London Special

Nappy Cakes By Betty


noynoy

The Prenatal Classroom

Oui Maman

Dominnique Karetsos www.noynoy.co.uk

Anastasia Alcock www.theprenatalclassroom.com

Estelle Le Guillou www.ouimaman.co.uk

When Dominnique began to prepare and style her little girl’s nursery she wanted pieces that reflected her own personal style that were full of imagination, colour and fun. She wanted products that were non gender specific in colour palette and print, yet functional and excellent quality… out of this desire noynoy was born.

When Anastasia had her first baby she realised how lucky she was knowing and understanding the process from a medical viewpoint. She knew what to expect so was able to remain calm and concentrate on delivering a healthy baby. From this, Anastasia decided to set up classes with a team of specialists who could provide expert and honest advice, preparation and training.

French-born Estelle Le Guillou has been working and living in London for over 10 years. As part of a FrancoBritish couple, Estelle and her partner had always wanted their children to be looked after by a francophone nanny. Estelle had her first daughter while working as a solicitor for a city law firm. When returning to work they found it very difficult to find a reliable French-speaking nanny. Based on her experience Estelle decided to start her own business establishing Oui Maman as the specialist French-speaking nanny agency.

What makes noynoy unique? We have thoughtfully developed each product, designed each fabric print and sourced only the highest quality of materials from around the globe. Best of all we are not afraid to use vibrant colours that spark imagination and allow parents to be creative and style their nursery. Each range includes everything you need for baby bedding and sleep accessories for years 0-2. How does running a business fit around family life? I would be lying if I didn’t say trying to create a family/work balance is often a challenge. When I do get it right I owe it to the noynoy team, and my business partner, Hande Sadic - all who are very dedicated and passionate. We do everything ourselves and always put in 100%. It also helps to have a very supportive other half who cooks! What plans have you got for the future? Since we’re a start-up brand, we have to get our launch right. Knowing our customers’ needs and listening to their feedback is paramount. However, having such a great team of creatives means we’re constantly in product development meetings and planning for innovative designs. We like to keep the noynoy buzz alive, always.

What makes The Prenatal Classroom unique? We are totally inclusive; covering every type of labour and delivery. We have a wonderful team of experts - GP, midwife, nutritionist, paediatrician, anaesthetist, lactation consultant, women and child’s health physiotherapist and integrated acupuncturist, who all have a wealth of knowledge both as specialists and parents. How does running a business fit around family life? Only just... I am extremely busy but the most important time for me is with my family. When the children are back from school they get my undivided attention, when they are in bed I am often found to be on the computer! What plans have you got for the future? I want to continue to provide prenatal classes that are helpful and inspiring for couples. Our postnatal care package is growing too, now offering support from our feeding specialist, our physiotherapist - a baby and mum MOT at 6 weeks, and advice from our GP and nutritionist. I am also writing the third book in the series with One Born Every Minute about the first year with a new baby, which I’m loving being a part of.

What makes Oui Maman unique? I know how difficult it is to balance a job with childcare. And this is the idea behind Oui Maman; an agency run by parents for parents. It provides bespoke, discreet and reliable services and is dedicated to taking the stress out of childcare. We offer a wide range of options (permanent, temporary, full-time, part-time, live-in, live-out or babysitting) and work hard to ensure families and their nannies are happy together. How does running a business fit around your family life? There are ups and downs. I recently had my second child, and have not managed to take as much time off as I had for my first because I run my own business. However, I still manage to attend 1-2 activities a week with my baby and take my elder to school. Overall, my family life is much better than before. What plans have you got for the future? Expansion! We are now three in the office and I have a lot of ideas and projects for the business… so watch this space.


Nikki Khan Classes

burp! boutique

Nikki Khan www.nikkikhan.co.uk

Kate Hayden-Ellis www.burpboutique.com

The story of Treasure Chairs came to life when Kirsten was looking for a special first birthday present for her daughter, Fleur. Kirsten always wanted it to be memorable and unique; she had the idea to give her a personalised chair, so went in search for one. Alas, Kirsten admits she didn’t get very far so asked a local upholster to make one according to her specifications; little did she know that this chair ended up being a first of many more!

Nikki wanted a more personal approach to midwifery care; specifically stressing the importance of Early Pregnancy Classes in the first trimester when many mums feel most vulnerable. Having been a midwife for 25 years, and worked in both the NHS, private sector and overseas, Nikki has a broad knowledge of maternity care. Offering small tailor-made classes enables her to share this knowledge and empower couples for the journey ahead.

After the birth of Kate and James Hayden-Ellis’ daughter Evie in 2010, they were aghast at what was available on the high street for baby girls and boys finding a market saturated with shades of pink and blue. The couple, both with design backgrounds, knew that they could collate a great collection for children that promoted new designers and artists whilst also helping to neutralise gender stereotypes.

What makes your classes unique? I am the only practising midwife and lawyer in the UK. I qualified as a clinical negligence lawyer in 2008 whilst still practising as a midwife. Unique but a challenge to say the least! I’m also co-author of DK’s ‘My Pregnancy’ Book and the Expert Midwife for Infacol and Sudocrem. These joint careers have increased my awareness of maternity care. The classes enable me to offer reassurance and make couples aware of when to seek medical help to ensure all goes to plan. At the antenatal classes there is an Obstetric Physiotherapist available to offer advice and a great goodie bag from top brands for new mums.

What makes burp! boutique unique? We celebrate individualism by supporting British Made, up-andcoming designers and artists, and don’t promote gender stereotyping. We believe children should have a wide choice rather than being pigeonholed at birth. Along with the unique and wellmade clothes, we choose amazingly illustrated books, funky posters and soft toys. Our mission is to bring you lots of wonderful alternatives.

What makes Treasure Chairs unique? They are custom made. You can choose the colours of the legs to match your fabric, design your own seating arrangements - consisting of a chair and a sofa, for example. The options are endless. We receive colour swatches of curtains, for example, so we can make sure that the chairs are a perfect fit! They are the perfect gifts for special occasions such as baby showers, christenings and birthdays. How does running a business fit around a busy home life? It is challenging at times when everything happens at once! We want to make sure that we provide the best for our customers and at times that means we have to work long hours, but we do anything to get the best results! What plans have you got for the future? Now that the main products are launched, Caroline was brought in to take over the management and to take it to the next level of establishing Treasure Chairs into the world of children’s furniture! It is still a small start-up business so it is important that we market ourselves to get known.

How does running a business fit around family life? It currently works well as Evie is now at pre school three days a week so I get full days of work time, but we have another How does running a business fit around baby on the way so things could get a family life? little interesting... we’re excited to see Hectic, but I have a very supportive how it pans out. husband and daughter who motivate me to keep me focussed on what I love... What plans have you got for the future? being a midwife and a mum! We want to spread the word of burp! even more and get to a point where we What plans have you got for the future? can give a percentage of our sales to Having previously run antenatal weekends children’s charities. Developing an art/ in the Isle of Wight, I am now in the café/shop at some point would also process of launching Antenatal and be amazing. We’ll continue to push Postnatal courses both at the Notting Hill the boundaries and always try to bring Harbour Club and at BMI Syon Clinic. something different and fun.

London Special

Treasure Chairs Caroline O’Neill & Kirsten Robinson www.treasurechairs.co.uk


Deearna Withey | Deearna’s Maternity Agency Rebecca Moore talks to Deearna Withey; a mother, grandmother and an expert in the maternity care industry, about her global 24/7 service: Deearna’s Maternity Agency. Deearna Withey has been in the maternity care industry for over 20 years, becoming a trusted household name, and rightly so. With experience in almost every field, she’s a maternity nurse and trainer, birth coach and baby carer, multiples expert, feed and sleep consultant and more… London’s very own baby whisperer. Deearna first got into childcare almost immediately after her first baby was born, 28 years ago. Battling with the constant crying of her newborn, Deearna was faced with post natal depression. Nonetheless, being admittedly stubborn she refused medication. Instead, Deearna took it upon herself to study post natal depression and fully recovered from the illness. This is a decision she’s still thankful for, “Gaining an understanding of why it happened was a good move, this enabled me to help others,” recalls Deearna. And this experience set the foundation for her career path. Now over quarter of a century later Deearna has two children and four grandchildren: Joshua, Aimee, Aeris and Theia. Her whole family are very supportive of her Maternity Agency, “If we are out and my phone goes they all know I will answer the call and may

then be tied up for a couple of hours. I like people knowing you don’t need to pay for everything, and sometimes just to hear it’s okay is all they need,” says Deearna.

received a card from him recently and the contents said ‘To the angel that mummy sent to look after us, thank you’, to make such a difference is so rewarding.”

“I received a card from him recently and the contents said ‘To the angel that mummy sent to look after us, thank you’, to make such a difference is so rewarding.”

Deearna is so dedicated to her job, and with a demanding schedule she has to be. “I can’t imagine not working with mums and babies; post natal depression is the most misunderstood condition that’s why having a maternity nurse or night nanny to set the foundations really does help.”

Offering guidance can be what so many parents crave, and unfortunately due to the nature of Deearna’s job, she does have to deal with many sensitive situations. Deearna recalls one of her toughest memories; “I was watching the news one day and saw that a lady had committed suicide as the result of psychosis. She had just given birth to twins 10 days earlier.” Deearna knew the area so drove to see if she could find the house. “The police were there and I gave my card and asked them to tell the dad to call me. I hadn’t even got in my car and the dad called. I returned to their home and he handed me the babies and said please help me. I ended up staying for 3 months.” Deearna still keeps in touch with the family. “I

When I asked Deearna about the prospects of her Maternity Agency, she was sure of the future, “Deearna’s Maternity Agency will always be around. I hope that in 10 year’s time I’ve won the lottery and can offer all clients a free start up pack of services, but if anyone needs a chat that will always be free. I’d hate for people to be sat at home struggling, ring us we will always answer and guide you,” says Deearna. It’s certainly reassuring that there’s somebody with a hands on role just at the end of the phone. Because sometimes all we need is a bit of support, and Deearna is more than qualified for that. But don’t just take my word for it; let her five star rating on our online directories do the talking. www.deearnas-maternity-agency.co.uk


Betty Bramble

Gentle Baby Things

Abigail Halpin www.bettybramble.co.uk

Gavin and Charlotte Matier www.gentlebabythings.co.uk

When Abigail was looking for a stylish footmuff for her pushchair she soon realised there were very few available. Seeing this apparent gap in the market she set up Betty Bramble, which creates distinctive luxury footmuffs and pushchair accessories in a range of fabrics from fun and bright designs to more delicate, vintage inspired patterns.

Gavin and Charlotte had always wanted their own business and after daughter Elodie was born, the desire to launch a business grew. When searching for the right clothes and products for Elodie, they saw a prime opportunity to create an online boutique for high quality stylish clothes and gifts for 0-3 year olds, all organic or ethically sourced. This coincided with the opportunity to relaunch the Gentle Baby Things brand which perfectly summed up the couple’s values: gentle to your baby and gentle to the planet.

When Louisa was expecting her first son, she had her heart set on a natural drug-free delivery. After weeks of learning about labour, she was rushed into hospital one evening concerned that something was not quite right. Within moments, Louisa was being prepared for an emergency Caesarean section. The procedure went well and not long after her son was in her arms, but she felt unprepared. As a trained breastfeeding counsellor, Louisa sees hundreds of new mums in the same situation; so she set out to rectify this. What makes Lulubaby unique? We have an amazing team of professionals and the quality of our teaching is unrivalled. No one else has a consultant anaesthetist and consultant obstetrician alongside seven other professionals teaching their classes. We focus enormously on life after your baby has arrived, aiming to equip our mums well for those first few weeks. Because we care so much about our new mums, we are very focussed on providing postnatal support and being available.

What makes Betty Bramble unique? Betty Bramble makes premium footmuffs using the best quality fabrics and lovely cosy, thick wadding. We source high quality fabrics from around the world to create beautiful, exclusive footmuffs at an affordable price - all designed and manufactured in Britain. We are passionate and committed to the future of British manufacturing.

How does running a business fit around family life? It does exactly that - it fits around it! In term time, it is a little easier but during the holidays, it’s certainly a challenge!

How does running a business fit around family life? Betty Bramble was inspired by my family; my father has worked in the textile manufacturing and retail industries for over 40 years, and my children inspired me to launch the business. Challenges and opportunities can arise at any point. I therefore need to be incredibly organised, pedantic about time management and have great childcare. Ultimately, though, it is very satisfying and rewarding being able to do both.

What plans have you got for the future? Lulubaby plans to continue growing along the same trajectories. We have three locations and hope to open more in London. We will also continue to grow our popular postnatal offerings which include paediatric first aid as well as bespoke workshops such as ‘Understanding your toddler’.

What plans have you got for the future? We will continue to find new and exciting fabrics for our luxury footmuffs. We’re currently developing coordinating pushchair hoods and buggy liners for the summer months. We know mums want their buggies to look stylish and will continue to create a range of fabulous products for them!

What makes Gentle Baby Things unique? It’s often hard to find clothes that are stylish but also fairly made and kind to the planet. We believe being gentle to the planet isn’t just being eco-conscious; inspired by Charlotte’s background in International Development, we give 10% of our profit to charities that aim to make the world a gentler place for mothers and children. How does running a business fit around a busy home life? The great thing about starting a business is with the internet you can work any time of day or night... it’s much easier to fit around family life now and although there is a lot of juggling and multitasking we enjoy the variety. We also have amazing family who have helped us out tremendously. What plans have you got for the future? Expanding our collection of popular British brands and exciting new ranges from Europe. Ultimately we hope to reach further afield to support artisan co-operatives in the developing world.

London Special

Lulubaby Louisa van den Bergh www.lulubaby.co.uk


Bundles of Joy

Toyella

PLEK

Suzanne Ellis www.bundlesofjoy-shopping.co.uk

Carl Shaw www.toyella.com

Geeta Chagan www.theplek.com

Having run a successful similar business in London, Suzanne moved to the countryside and whilst discussing with friends the difficulty of trying to find gorgeous gifts for the little people in their lives, she decided to set up Bundles of Joy, which provides a service to those who don’t live near shops or have the time to shop. And all started with a £1,000 loan from her mum!

Four years ago Carl saw an unusual toy in a magazine feature. After embarking on an online search, it revealed retailers did a very poor job of promoting the toy’s benefits. Carl wasn’t filled with confidence when entering credit card details into any of these websites either. He felt the toy market seemed neglected and very limited in its offering and believed he could do a better job.

What makes Bundles of Joy unique? Our exceptionally fast service makes us unique within personalising companies. If an order is placed for a personalised item in the morning, it should be sent out later that day, wherever possible. People often forget that a special occasion is round the corner or a new baby has just been born, and how lovely to receive your personalised gift within 24 hours, customers just love it.

What makes Toyella unique? Unique products, fair price and unrivalled service. We source the very best toys from around the globe. Many are unique to Toyella in the UK so they’re extra special gifts. Good design shouldn’t cost the earth and we make our toys accessible through our pricing. Toyella started from our own consumer experience as parents so service is paramount within our philosophy.

Geeta is a former director of her own art gallery, a show curater and art fair organiser. Geeta found that whilst she was pregnant it was physically tiring organising and hanging exhibitions. She decided to launch PLEK and work from home to be able to care for her son alongside still being able to work in an industry she loves. PLEK was an idea she had envisioned for some time, where she wanted to promote not only paintings but also handmade original products that are attainable and affordable.

How does running a business fit around family life? I have four children, all adorable at times, and I’m very lucky to have excellent staff who take on board my extremely high standards. Alongside this, I have a very understanding husband who doesn’t expect every dinner to be a gourmet effort. At busy times, I return to work at night and am never off duty, even on holidays - thank goodness for my Blackberry and Wi-Fi.

How does running a business fit around family life? A toy business has its pros and cons when it comes to family life. I have three children under 12 - a handy consumer group. It’s vital to see the their reaction to toys we plan to sell. On the other hand it can seem like Christmas every day and it’s hard to prise a sample from a five year old’s grip!

What plans have you got for the future? We’ve just launched our exciting nursery scheme. Nurseries throughout the UK can sign up for FREE luxury toys and books through their wish lists, supported by the parents who purchase their gifts through Bundles of Joy. It’s a win win situation for everyone.

What plans have you got for the future? Three years in we’re steadfast in following our original formula. It’s all about the products and the online experience so, simply, more unique toys offered to more people around the world. We are gradually moving into bedroom and playroom interiors and, when the time is right, we’ll have a showroom no doubt.

What makes PLEK unique? PLEK sells original art and products for the home and for little people. Each designer or artist has been hand picked for the quality and originality of their work. These pieces are also not found on the high street, so people can find something truly unique at PLEK that represents great value. How does running a business fit around family life? I work when my son is sleeping or napping, which is tiring but he will be going to nursery soon so that will help free up more time for PLEK. My husband has also been an amazing support and helps out when I need to make phone calls or makes dinner when I haven’t had time during the day. What plans have you got for the future? I plan to build on PLEK’s product variety and get more artists and designers involved and increasing their profile. Hopefully one day PLEK will be a shop and people can browse products in person and view curated shows in an informal space.


Greycoat Lumleys

Little Delivery

Claire Payne www.fablittleshop.com

Stephanie Rough www.greycoatlumleys.co.uk

Nina Elvin-Jensen www.littledelivery.com

Named after Claire’s three children (Florence, Amelia and Betsy), Fab Little Shop’s main inspiration derived from all three of Claire’s girls. A lot of time had been spent finding something different for them to wear, to brighten up their nurseries or to give as a gift. After admitting that she was envious of many family and friends’ delightful purchases, Claire set up Fab Little Shop to work as a platform selling site dedicated to little people and Fab products.

Greycoat Lumleys started life as Greycoat Placements about 15 years ago. The company decided to incorporate Lumleys into the brand 5 years ago after purchasing Lumleys Cooks. Their childcare and education services have always been a major part of their business and the company’s aim has always been to set the highest standards and provide the best possible service for both clients and nannies.

Following her career in property, Nina was fortunate enough to work with a start-up jewellery company where she learnt some key skills. Nina was left disappointed after searching high and low for christening presents for her nephew and decided she could offer something to fill that void. In 2012, Nina set up littledelivery.com, a website specialising in unique, personalised and beautiful gifts for children.

What makes Greycoat Lumleys unique? We have a friendly, professional team of consultants dedicated to providing live in and live out nannies, plus maternity nurses, housekeepers and private tutors. Our team ensure our clients get highly personal, individual attention, tailored to their needs. Our clients also love that we offer visits to their homes for face to face meetings.

What makes Little Delivery unique? I hope Little Delivery offers a boutique feel, with a treasure trove of beautiful and unique gifts. The site maintains a very personal service and we try to make shopping as quick and hassle free as possible. All our gifts are split into age categories so you can quickly find what you are looking for, and if you need your present gift wrapped and sent direct to the recipient we can do that too!

How does running a business fit around family life? A lot of Greycoat Lumleys staff are now mums but, luckily, we have plenty of cover support staff and very efficient systems, so we can be flexible about condensed working hours. We still manage to open extended office hours most weekdays because we understand our clients are very busy as parents.

How does running a business fit around a busy home life? I don’t have children yet and therefore my time is really my own. I love the sense of freedom in being able to choose my own schedule even though in reality, I know I work far harder than if I was employed by another company.

What makes Fab Little Shop unique? It’s a unique online children’s marketplace. We have the biggest range of products carefully selected for little people, made in Britain. We champion talented artists whether established or emerging, small boutiques and exciting new products. All of our products are produced to a high quality with a twist on the traditional. How does running a business fit around family life? Fab Little Shop started back in 2008, but falling pregnant with twins in 2010 meant all plans were put on the shelf. The twins are two now, so I have more time and independence to work. As a mum of three beautiful little females I have total admiration and support for mums working from home with their children by their side, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Fab Little Shop was launched on the twins’ birthday so I’ll never forget how far I have come. What plans have you got for the future? We have a number of great plans for Fab Little Shop, some are a little bit of a secret but if you ask one of my children, they will probably tell you.

What plans have you got for the future? We want to extend and cement our excellent childcare services beyond London and the home counties. Our international sector and our office in Scotland are doing brilliantly, so there isn’t any reason why we can’t build our nanny services to cover the whole of the UK.

What plans have you got for the future? Lots of plans are in the pipeline, but we are definitely taking things one step at a time. We will be looking to really kick start our wish list part of the site soon so you can share your present ideas with others. We have also recently started our Little Delivery’s Little Blog so will be coming up with lots of fun and advice for parents, including cute craft ideas for the kids.

London Special

Fab Little Shop



Baby London Business Files - Spring 2014