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mumpreneur

Christmas 2013


Page 8 STYLE THAT WORKS

KNOMO LIFESTYLE ACCESSORIES Whether for work or everyday, a great bag that keeps our belongings organised but looks stylish too, can really make your day. A worn bag without any organisation can do the opposite, especially when our keys get lost inside, or we miss an important call because we can’t find our phone. That’s why we started Knomo, creating bags and accessories that keep you organised and also protect your tech devices too. Whether you choose a handbag, briefcase, laptop sleeve, travel trolley or tech accessory, each piece will protect either your laptop, tablet & smartphone. Designs are offered in sleek, luxurious leathers, lightweight nylons or durable canvas, with prices starting from £25.

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Devilish Dadpreneur Little Devils founder Michael McDonagh grew up in care but has now turned his fortunes round to create a company with a turnover in excess of £400k. However, he likes to give back to his roots and often speaks at events to inspire other children in care, the biggest event for him being the Care to Independence conference in London last year. Having experienced difficulties finding a well made, reasonably priced pushchair, Michael decided to establish his own pushchair and baby products company called Little Devils Direct. With a funding package comprising savings, borrowings and

a loan and grants from Youth Business Scotland and Business Gateway, Michael launched Little Devils Direct six years ago with his partner Adele Gahagan. A Growth Fund Accelerator Loan in 2010 to provide some working capital enabled the business to expand further. His ethos is to provide top quality baby and infant products at affordable prices. Every range of products he sells is fully vetted and exceeds British Standards. As well as selling online, Little Devils Direct is now also supply a number of retail outlets. The company employs four staff and a number of casual workers at a 7000Sq ft warehouse in the East End of Glasgow and have a turnover in excess of £750k. Staff’s hard work

was rewarded last year when they won PSYBT Outstanding Business Growth Award. This year, Michael has chosen to support the system that worked so hard to support him and will donate a number of products to local children homes. The more Little Devils sells in the lead up to Christmas, the more the company will be able to donate ensuring children have a comfortable and inviting space to relax this festive season. Visit www.littledevilsdirect.co.uk buy gifts and help others!

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www.littledevilsdirect.co.uk


JUMP ABOARD the Christmas Jumper Bus Tangled Penguin Christmas Jumper £39.99 Funky Christmas Jumpers

Lupesa Reindeer Christmas Jumper £16.99 Missguided

Penguin Jumper £32.00 M&Co

Christmas Santa Stuck Jumper £19.99 Internacionale

Kana Reindeer Christmas Jumper £16.99 Missguided

Happy Birthday Jesus Christmas Jumper £39.99 Funky Christmas Jumpers

Christmas Mitten Jumper £40.00 Marisota

Black Candy Jumper £14.00 George at ASDA

Kylie reindeer jumper £20.00 M&Co Iesha Sequin Snowflake Christmas Jumper £16.99 Missguided

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From Small Seeds... I always hoped that when I had children (didn’t know it would be ‘children’ so immediately!) I would want to be a SAHM (stayat-home-mum). However I did not hand my notice in until 11 months + 3.5 weeks after my twins Carys & Morgan were born , just in case! The first 2.5 years of their lives flew by, in a bit of a blur and I suddenly was faced with nursery for 3 afternoons a week; so they could develop their social skills and so I could let them become more independent, of me and so I had ‘time’ to do all the things that were not getting done when you have 2 little people to entertain for 90% of the day. The very first day I managed to go for a 8k run, have a shower in p&q, do the washing, dry the washing, put washing away, clean and tidy and even sit down and have some lunch. WOW! I was super impressed with how much one can do in 3 hours without the little people around. After 2 months, I started to get a bit itchy. I felt (absurdly) guilty for having lots of ‘time’ to do things

and was managing to go for a run or ride my bike (Triathlon training) most afternoons and still get shed loads done.

There was absolutely no way I wanted to go back to my former career (KS2 Coordinator & Year 4 primary school teacher in a VERY successful = very demanding, school). Most people are thoroughly shocked by this; “but the holidays” they cry….. er yes, I have just spent 12+ weeks with 30 children, marking on average 120 books a day, managing a team of 15 people, dealing with parents and then for the ‘holidays’ I get to spend it with two little people who would not appreciate mummy having a rest! I take my hat off to anyone who can, but maybe 11 years of teaching and education left me a little drained; I wanted MY children to have my enthusiasm and energy and not someone else’s (sorry!). But what to do? Every now and then the charming husband would make some remark about how much time I had on my hands and would have when they started school and even suggested that:

“maybe a couple of hours a day, in somewhere like the Co-op would be good for you.” Cue murderous thoughts…. Divorce thoughts, etc etc. I really wanted to work for myself so I could fit it in around the children. I love learning things so maybe a completely different tack was needed? Maybe I could retrain? The list started: Web designer, Graphic Designer, Interior designer, shoe designer, baby clothes designer, and twin product designer. Every week I thought I had found the answer – except nothing was truly convincing me that it had staying power. Lost in a haze of ‘could dos’ a nursery cake sale for Easter email pinged in my inbox with apologies as it was for the next day. Aaaaarrrggghhhhh! Whizzing about on the Internet it dawned on me that some biscuits would be quickest / easiest to do. I found a cheats way of making them look professional and off I went. Annoyingly, the cheat’s way was way too labour intensive and in the end I thought I would have been better off just making a cake!


When I can’t do something it bugs me…. So I wondered about going on a course to learn how to do this icing malarkey properly – just so next time I could save myself the stress and I was intrigued as to how you actually did it. I found a course to go on which was aimed at people who just want to have a go at new things (i.e. me!). Off I went to Chiswick on a freezing cold March Sunday morning (I ran there – don’t ask?!) looking forward to a Sunday being creative and a break from the kids, with no clue how my life was about to change. Whilst we were icing the biscuits the leader of the course asked me if I had done it before, cue other people looking over my shoulder and nudging (not good when icing!). Er no, not properly anyway! The morning flew by and I was immersed in a creative world of designing and icing my biscuits until the woman had to practically kick me out. I had had it; that magical moment & epiphany… I could make biscuits! As you can imagine the husband was not convinced. But I did my research and presented him with some facts: • Massive in USA • Only 1 ‘famous’ company which charge ridiculous prices and churn out basic, less intricate biscuits • Biscuits travel better and last longer than cupcakes and flowers. • WE LIVE IN (an area of London

known as) NAPPY = think of all the customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VALLEY potential

So I did three more months of research, buying equipment, practicing and perfecting my recipes (biscuits and icing), doing market research, sourcing my tins, etc, before launching The Biscuit Tree just before Father’s Day this year (most of my customers were local mums!) . Having only been going for just over 5 months, my order book is now almost booked up until Christmas and has seen each month double, triple and quadruple in orders. I get most of my business from word of mouth, my facebook page, twitter and posting on nappyvalley.net or other facebook groups. Specializing in bespoke biscuit tins (I still do basic ones if you just want to send someone edible flowers instead of flowers to look at, maintain and then clean the vase afterwards) where people can choose 2-12 differ themes and I will design a biscuit/s for each theme. These are really popular for a special birthday (40th, 50th, 60th, 70th are my most popular orders!) or for a tenth wedding anniversary,

which is tin! Each tin is unique and can have a personalized label with photos and a message, making it a really special gift that can be used after all the biscuits have been eaten (often they don’t last more than a week!). I have had some really amazing biscuit requests: Kelly Brook, Blue man group, a slide rule, a spreadsheet, family crests, university coats of arms, and a Dyson hoover to name but a few! My biscuit motto is: if you can think it – I can make it and bake it! I have also been creating party favours: instead of a goody bag give a biscuit bag. No plastic = totally fantastic! Yes there’s the sugar content, but I only use the finest ingredients (organic where I can) and they are a damn sight better for you than a lollipop! Most people ask me how I manage to do it, whilst still being a SAHM. I get up at 6am every day to get a coupe of hours in before Carys & Morgan get up / I let them out of their room! I ice like a woman possessed whilst they are at nursery in the afternoon and then I wrap, package, design and create the labels, send invoices, follow up enquiries when they have gone to

bed. It’s hard, but I don’t imagine that anyone thinks that running your own business is going to be easy. There are only a few other things that I think have helped: being a teacher – gives you an amazing array of different skills and you are VERY good at multitasking, being a woman – ditto, being a committee member of my local twins club (got an opportunity to get my brain working & thinking again) and the strength ,stamina and determination that being a mum of mulitples gives you. Oh and it’s a damn good way to avoid doing the rest of the housework! By Rhiannon Davies Founder of The Biscuit Tree & Executive mum to 3.5yr old twins. Visit facebook page for details on how to get 10% off your first order! www.biscuittree.co.uk Facebook.com/The-Biscuit-Tree Twitter: @Bisctweet_Tree


Finlay Fox Slippers £19.95 www.oscarandeve.co.uk Henley Sofa in Alex fabric £295.00 www.aspace.co.uk

Chocolate Coins £1.50 Heatons

Fish Bowl £7.95 Red.co.uk

Shaun the Sheep Childrens Dinner sets £39.98 www.beckyandlolo.co.uk

Hobby moose £12 Next

Magic Candy Dispenser £39.00 Jacamo

Spud Gun £6.95 House Of Bath


Luxury Christmas Hamper £70.00 www.giveplenty.co.uk

Luxury sleep masks for a restful sleep www.lapadd.com Love Heart Tea Lights £4.95 Red5.co.uk Armani Diamonds Rose EDT 50ml £34.50 Panelled Crystal Hardcase The Perfume Shop £45.00 Accessorize

Chiffon Cami And Chiffon Frenchie Short £35.00 Marks & Spencer

Totally Fabulous Mug £7.99 www.oakroomshop.co.uk

Whoopie Pie Lip Gloss £5.95 www.prezzybox.com


Bluetooth Earmuffs £39.95 Red5.co.uk

Hooded Onesie £22.50 Jacamo

Lead Colour Felt Messenger Bag £29.99 www.mygifttree.com Paper Plane ipad Case £15.49 www.cloth-ears.co.uk

Muvi Atom Micro Camera Bundle £99.95 Red5.co.uk

Water Dancing Speakers White £39.95 Red5.co.uk

Star Wars Lego LED Keychains £8.95 Red5.co.ujk

Star Wars Lego LED Keychains GBP 8.95 RED5 Cookoo Watch Black £109.95 Red5.co.uk

Chocolate Chip Shortbread £9 Heatons

Fine Single Malt English Whiskey £35.00 Marks & Spencer

‘Devilishly Handsome’ Mug £7.99 www.oakroomshop/cp/uk


It’s never too late to follow your heart

At MumpreneurUK, we love hearing about mumpreneurs like you who have taken the plunge and followed their dream. 30 year old Katie Massie-Taylor is a great example of a mum who has swapped a high flying city career for something far more rewarding. After years as a stuffy stockbroker, Katie (and 11-month old Tilly) now follow their dual passions of art and family, with Katie’s innovative new gift business www.paintmeapresent.com “I’ve always had a passion for art,” says Katie “and always did paintings as presents for friends, who loved them because they were so personal. This made me realise there was a gap in the market for somewhere to commission quality, personal art at a reasonable price as art is so often perceived as only being available to the very wealthy groups in society.” Katie’s artwork is based on a photograph provided by you, so you can have that masterpiece landscape or portrait, but of a person or a place special to you. Katie decided to leave behind the daily grind of the trading floor (and the lucrative salary) and take a leap of faith to start up her own dream business. “I won’t lie, it was scary and it still is,” says Katie “but I would never go back. My working days are certainly different now, but I have the pleasure of knowing I’m bringing affordable art to the masses while spending time with another love of my life, Tilly.”

“The beauty of being my own boss is that I can work when it suits me and no two days are the same. I usually start the day when my daughter chooses and then once breakfast is sorted, it’s down to business. I usually work while Tilly naps but sometimes she joins me on Skype calls too and I might sneak a few emails in while she’s happy playing.” Katie manages all the orders that come through the Paint me a Present website personally, and although that can take up a lot of time it’s her priority to get the photos, notes and details to the professional artists so they can start working on the masterpieces straight away. And once that’s done, she can do something even more fun with Tilly. It’s not easy juggling the two“you have to be very disciplined when you work from home and really focus to be as productive as you can in the time that you have,” adds Katie “I have to multi task to excess and keep switching my brain between mummy and business woman,

sometimes at only a moment’s notice!” Katie is now launching Paint me a Present in the US so work doesn’t stop after Tilly has gone to bed. “I might still have to do a few more emails to customers to check they’re happy, to the artists for updates, to the accountants or the lawyers, pass on any more orders to the artists and well anything else on my to do list. I often work right up until bedtime and sometimes even beyond!” “I’ve been my own boss for over a year now and I love it! It’s tough and juggling business and mummy means really long days but it’s perfect for me.”


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Principles by Ben De Lisi sequin dress £80.00 Debenhams

Butterfly by Matthew Williamson gold collar GBP 25.00 Debenhams Baroque Pearl Hardcase Clutch £45.00 Accessorize

per una Speziale Jacket £89, M&S Collection Jumper £15, Necklace All £17.50, Bracelet All £15 Marks & Spencer

On Top £65.00 Office

per una Speziale Dress £119, Necklace £29.50, Ring £7.50, Bracelet £19.50 Marks & Spencer


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Collection 8 Paige Tapework Dress Phase Eight £325.00

per una Dress £150, Necklace £19.50 / £25 Marks & Spencer

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Red Baroque Flock Padded Bra £14 Red Baroque Flock Shorts £8 Next

Red Herring sequin dress £85.00 Debenhams Pony mix courts £40.00 Next

Jewel Clutch GBP 22.00 Next


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y l l a e R u o Y n Ca ‘Flexible-working’ is the new buzz word BUT is it possible to ‘have it all’? To manage a fulfilling, lucrative career and still be able to put the needs of your family first? Clare Wingfield, What’s On 4’s newest Franchisee says a very resounding YES! Clare took on the What’s On 4 Junior Business in the South East less than six months ago and hasn’t looked back. Clare says “Like so many mums, I had a really great career before I had my children but it all went on hold when the babies arrived. With my girls settled at school & nursery, it was time to think about getting back into the workplace but finding a job that would work around my family and not compromise how I want to raise my daughters was not easy. I found myself firstly responding to and then getting very excited about the WO4J opportunity therefore. I took over the South East region at the beginning of May and it’s been a big learning curve– not only have I had to learn about how our websites work but also I’m learning about the huge potential that is social media – there is so much more to Facebook that just sharing photos of your holidays! And when I’m talking to my customers, social media is very much the hot topic. The WO4 team have been hugely supportive and I’ve received a lot

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of training. The team are all over the UK but relationships are built using the power of technology and a real mutual desire to make a success of my area. Financially, my region is in line with projections and, now that I’m starting to build my sales team, I’m confident we will see strong sales growth over the next few months. On a personal level, I am happy and excited to be running my own business – my head is buzzing with ideas and it’s great to be working again…but I’m still there at the school gates every day” The International What’s On 4 Junior websites and BabyExpo Baby Show licenses have recently been offered across 12 regions of the UK and with only a handful of places available, Clare seized the opportunity to be part of awardwinning ‘What’s On 4’! The What’s On 4 websites, established by Sam Willoughby in 2006, promote 1000’s of activity businesses across the UK and attract over 75,000 visitors each month. The websites also operate in many countries internationally. The BabyExpo Baby Shows attract 150+ exhibitors and 4,000+ visitors to the regular events across the South East, and not being one to waste time, Clare’s Event Planning is already underway with two Events already planned for next year!

Bev and Marilyn, Master Franchisees for the What’s On 4 junior business in the UK add “Being a busy mum and having a successful business is generally very difficult to juggle, but we totally believe that you can ‘have it all’ with our What’s On 4 junior businesses and Clare is the proof that our business model really does work. After this recent success, we’re now ready to expand the business across the UK with unrivalled confidence.” If you would like to join Clare and the team and run our What’s On 4 Junior business in YOUR area then please email marilyn@whatson4. co.uk for more information OR CALL 0121 288 1228 for an informal chat.

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Next Issue March 2014

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all at Mumpreneur UK

Mumpreneur Magazine Dec 2013  

Mumpreneur Magazine Christmas 2013 edition

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