Business Mum's Journal Edition 9: Adam

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Central Edition

Supported by mothercare

Issue No.009

An interview with Innocent Drinks co-founder

ADAM BALON NEWSDESK We share your news reports, from celebrities to raising thousands for charity...

HOW TO FESTIVALS A mum and Dad team tell us how they organise the UK’s biggest family friendly festival

Write and publish your own e-book

EXHIBITING? HOW WE DID IT 3 mum entrepreneurs share their business start up journeys

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Business Opportunities 1

Top tips and secrets revealed inside




Editor: Jane Hopkins Advertising & Editorial: Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Neither the editor, nor The Business Mum’s Journal officially endorses any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without prior permission of the publisher.

Hello and Welcome! A big hello to our new readers, and thank you for your continued inspiring news! In response to the emails we receive from our readers, this edition sees a new feature- the newsdesk. Original title I know but hey, it’s a workin-progress! Quite often we spot fun stories that are too short to make a feature of so this is your chance to tell all our readers about your news and achievements, and show your website address off too. I hope you enjoy reading the news, and seeing the photos. And if you have news, please do share it with us. I particularly enjoyed the cover feature this edition, meeting new dad Adam Balon (see pic below) who told me all about life with his new family, and how he managed to juggle it all and build a multi million pound business. We at MumsClub are big innocent fans and we wish the innocent boys all the best. I hope you enjoy the interview and pick up some great tips. Hello too if we’ve met you at any of The Baby Show’s we’ve been to, if you did pop along, you may see your news inside... Have a great summer, don’t forget the sunscreen and we’ll see you online, if you’ve not already connected with us on Facebook please do as we’ve been running all sorts of competitions and our daily questions are great for networking...and keeping you motivated! As ever, wishing you every business success.

Jane Jane Hopkins MBE Founder of the MumsClub group @mumsclub | @janehopkinsmbe 06-09. Interview: Adam Balon;



Co-founder of Innocent Drinks 11.

Interview with a mum: Victoria Dixon

12-13. How to:

Write and publish an e-book 14-15. Spotlight on...

Business Opportunities 16-17. Secrets to Successful Exhibiting

20-21. Mumpreneur Watch! 22.

How to network

24-25. NewsDesk:

Your news and achievements! 26-27. How we did it: 3 mum success

stories 28-29. How to organise a festival:

An interview with a mum & dad team festival organiser. 3

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The Innocent Interview: Adam Balon

Innocent Drinks: A Great British success story

Innocent started in 1999 after Adam, Richard and John sold their smoothies at a music festival. They put up a big sign asking people if they should give up their jobs to make them, they then put two bins out front, one labelled 'Yes' and the other 'No". Then asked people to vote with their empties. At the end of the weekend, the 'Yes' bin was full, so they duly resigned from their jobs the next day. They’ve since developed the company, through constant innovation; by making veg pots, juices and kids' drinks, in a quest “to make natural, delicious, healthy foods that help people live well and die old”. And by doing so, they have built a company so successful that they have now sold majority shareholding. Coca Cola have bought majority stake in the company for multi millions and thus created a Great British success story. Jane Hopkins MBE met with innocent founder (and new dad) Adam Balon to hear all about it. So Adam, it’s an exciting time for you, did you ever think it would happen? No, not at all. When we first wrote the business plan, at the end of 5 years it said we would be employing 20 people and the business would be turning £8million and when you’re sat in a little empty office with literally zero pounds in sales, then your first sale is £24 that £8million is an unimaginably large number, at that point it was so far away in the dim and distant future that we never imagined we’d get anywhere near there. But as with any long journey you’ve just got to take it bit by bit, we did the first year and actually turned £400,000 which is still a long way from the £8million but it was double what we thought. After that we took it step by step by step and looking back, we’ve come a long way but every step seemed logical so didn’t seem that big.

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When you had the original idea, were you actively looking to start a business? Yes, we were always talking about what we could do, and how we could identify a problem that we have in life and come up with an idea to solve it, then we could potentially make a business out of it; hence the daft ideas such as an electric bath that we joked about until we thought of smoothies. It solves the problem of living and working in London (as it was for us), going out a lot and feeling guilty about not eating enough good stuff. A smoothie was a simple way to do yourself some good very easily and so we figured if it was a problem we had, lots of people would have too, and it was a simple as that. I think the best ideas are often the simplest ones.


The Innocent Interview: Adam Balon What experience did you have back then? We’d all worked for about 4 years, I’d worked as a strategy consultant, so useful for thinking through and solving big problems. I then worked at Virgin Cola, which even though is in a very different market, it gave me an insight to the industry, like I would knew that you’re not just going to go and knock on the door at Tescos to get a listing! It’s bloomin hard work and takes a few years to get the right background, experience and trading history. We knew nothing about how you make smoothies. But so often it’s just about asking the right people - it’s amazing how much people will tell you, and frankly, we learnt a huge amount by asking naive questions! But it helped massively. It’s not something you can learn in books or from university – you just have to ask, which is what we did and it worked. Did the 3 of you have your own roles? Yes, we were fortunate in as much that we all care about the same thing and had the same long term visions but are actually quite different. It was clear that Richard had the strong creativity and consumer touch, and finding a clear way of expressing it, John’s great at making things, he’s an engineer by background so could actually make the smoothies, and I like doing deals so it was a chance for me to do the sales which split responsibilities really well. It’s what you need in a business like ours; someone to come up with the ideas, someone to do the deals and someone to make it and that’s the way it worked.

needs – no gaps and no overlaps, you do. Great people are tough to come want people covering all the bases by but it is always worth holding out for those great people and suffering and not trying to do the same thing. The innocent branding has its own the fact that you have a hole in the distinct style, was this something organisation until they turn up you planned? We didn’t mean to, it basically. was what felt natural, it’s the way we talk and our way of doing it. It wasn’t in the business plan, it’s just that when it came to writing, we thought we can make a little joke there, or add a nice tone there, it was just who we are.

So how do you create a business that you can one day sell? It’s all about hiring people who are frankly better than you. It’s about making sure you are not absolutely critical to the business so you’re not doing all the work, and that there are other great people within the business who can So what is the reason for your success? I think we make really great take over from you. I think a lot of problems that products which really is the most entrepreneurs have is that they set important thing, and it’s so easy to up a business that is so driven by get caught up in the whole we make themselves and their personalities, funny jokes or have a nice office, or that if they left the business, it would have cool people working there but be nothing. And in the early days, ultimately, we are here to make stuff that’s exactly what it is for any start that people really want. People who up business, but you have to find want food and drink want delicious ways to step back so other people can things and I think we provide just be left to do the running. That was that, they are also healthy, natural, definitely a conscious decision we and are also responsibly made. But made 5 or 6 years ago when we business isn’t as simple as that, it is decided to give the next generation of about getting the execution right,

leaders a chance to run the business. And one of the reasons Coke wanted to take a bigger share is because we have a brand that can be expanded beyond these shores. So there needs to be potential for growth in a business otherwise no one is People say don’t work with your going to want to buy it. friends... but that’s often because But getting the people friends are very similar and you end is quite a task in itself... up wanting to do the same job as the Yes, it is really difficult other person which creates an but if you get it right, overlap and leaves a huge gap and it’s the single most that’s the worst thing a business important thing you can


So you didn’t have an exit strategy from the beginning then? No not at all, we originally wrote a 5 year business plan and said we’d sell because we knew it’s what funders would want to hear. Then two or three years in we wrote another but we didn’t need more funding and had no ambition to sell because we were enjoying it so much, and adding value. But there does come a time when it’s right to let the next team of leadership take the business on and that’s where we’ve come to here.


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8 - Be your own Boss


The Innocent Interview: Adam Balon often the strategy is really simply but it is how you actually deliver those things and that is not easy. We don’t have a patent or a special widget that no one else has, we’ve got access to exactly the same thing and the same fruits that everyone else has so anyone else could copy us but you’ve just got to convert the raw materials you’ve got into a better product, be more consistent than anybody else which is what we spend our lives doing, and customers respond to that. If they know that your smoothies always taste better than other peoples smoothies they will keep coming back. You mentioned people copying, has that happened much? Oh god yeah, people have launched brands that looked identical to us, it’s happened right across the world. At first it was annoying, we felt we were getting ripped off everywhere but there’s actually very little we can protect. It’s interesting that in the food industry, unless they are actually copying your logo then you can’t protect it. If it looks a bit similar but it’s different then, they can get away with it. You can’t protect the recipe so you can spend your life being really annoyed or you can just get on and make sure you continually improve and that’s Fruit Towers, the very cool Innocent offices, complete with library, chill out area and astro turf!


ultimately the way we went. We thought you know what, they might be copying us so we’ll be bigger and better, and that’s what drove us on. How did you get to Coca Cola, the company who ultimately bought you out? Interestingly, from quite early on in the business history they wanted to know what we were doing. It was coincidence that we were both based in Hammersmith which was probably one of the reasons they noticed us because we had really good presence in all the stores nearby. Every year we’d have a conversation with them, and discussed investment but for a long time we said no. But then in 2008 we were hit pretty hard with the crunch and a number of other things, so we put out an investment memorandum to wealthy individuals, venture capital firms and trade partners such as Coke which is when the conversation started seriously and led us to where we are now.

there’s less thinking oh I’ll finish that off tonight, because you know you’re going to be up tonight! I’m home at 6.30 for bath times pretty much all the time which means I can’t let meetings run on or do all of that stuff that I used to be able to do, which makes you value time even more. So after Innocent, what’s next? I’m still going to be involved with innocent and still remain a shareholder but the amount of time I spend here will be less. The three of us are going to find something else to do. One of the things we are going to be doing is looking for businesses to invest in.

Oh? Tell me more... Well, without our business angel at the beginning, we wouldn’t be here now – he took that leap of faith in us, and we’d like to back other people who are starting out, in the same way. I think it’s very much what goes around comes around and that’s a great maxim to So, you’re now a Dad to your 10 go by so if we can find great month son, how did becoming a dad businesses that we really rate we will affect your working life? Well, it look to back them. means I now do less work at work because I’ve spent more time at So on that thought we’ll let Adam get home with him, and I’m lucky to be back to crushing fruit and if you are able to do that. I think I’ve been thinking of investment, you can apply forced to be more efficient because here:

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Start up to Success: Victoria Dixon IMAGINE being able to work from home whilst caring for your children - there are the new generation of mums breaking into the business world and the internet is opening up a whole new portal for Mums, enabling them to turn their skills into profit. One such Mum is Victoria Dixon; a 35 year old Mother of two has come up with a wonderful way to do just that! She is able to create a very unique keepsake that will be treasured forever. Having had almost ten years’ experience using a variety of different computer programs and effects enables her to take everyday photos and transform them into fantastic, enchanting works of art. “My business is now into its seventh year and it has been mentioned in a large number of popular blogs, been shortlisted and has won awards - had many reviews and been in Prima baby magazine & the Flybe Uncovered magazine as well as some “Starting your own business involves using what you enjoy or are good at and learning how to market and sell that so that other people want to buy it or use your services. The best place to do this I believe is on the internet, particularly in the current financial climate.” regional & national Newspapers. My business has also been featured in three books to date with another two to be launched this year. I work with a number of photographers worldwide and a number of online retailers selling my portraits.

beautiful way to add something completely different to a photograph. I am able to add a little bit of magic to make a beautiful personal gift for a friend or family member. I work to achieve an as photo realistic effect as possible. I have a customer who has to date ordered over 200 portraits from me! To know that she loves my work so much feels wonderful! Being able to choose the hours I work is a huge advantage and allows me to be there for the children and family when I need to be. If I need to do something as

simple as taking one of my children to the doctors, have a sick day or enjoy beautiful weather I can. Mostly I work in the evenings though when my children are in bed, this means that apart from checking emails through the day and taking a few phone calls I am able to be Mum for the day and run the business at night. I love that my business enables me to remain at home with my children and not miss out on their early years while still contributing to our household income. I never intended to make huge profits running my business – I wanted to do something to supplement my husband’s income and help us live more comfortably. This may change and it may evolve as the children grow but for now my business is what I need it to be.”

I am providing a unique and 11

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How to publish an e-book

How to Write & Publish an e-book e book Have you ever wanted to write a book? More an more people are doing it, and it’s a great way to become an expert in your field. We asked author and entrepreneur Maria Albertsen to give us her tips for successful publishing.

I have always felt that I have a book inside of me, but the one thing that put me off, was the process of publishing. I chose self-publishing as I’m naturally a person who likes to get things done as quickly as possible and I knew my genre of book would do well without a publisher behind me. Would I choose self-publishing for all of my planned books? Well no, but this book was in the self-help genre, anxiety to be specific, and I already knew people who would buy it (my list!), I knew several affiliates would pick it up as well as knowing that the topic of anxiety was always well searched for. My next book, which will be a business book, will be when I look to find a publisher who is willing to work with me. These are my top tips when deciding to write a book and self-publish. Define your target audience. Before you even begin you need to think about who will buy your book. It’s no good even starting to write it if no one will be interested in it, if you want it to make money for you that is! Will they be men, women, both? Stay


at home mums, professionals or entrepreneurs? What issues do they want to learn about? If you can narrow it down to a specific audience you can write for them, which will make your book more appealing and more likely to sell. Remember – people buy information to solve a problem, show them you can help them or indeed solve their problem for them. Do your research. I know people say this a lot, and that’s because it really is so true. You need to ensure that your book is up to date and covers the issues the reader wants to learn about or needs help with. You need to be the expert. If you are lacking in skills in a certain area, then go out and learn them, or you can do what I did, and bring in someone who is an expert to help you. I think the latter is often easier and your readers will appreciate you - Be your own Boss

for it. There are numerous tools you can use which will allow you to see what topics are being searched for online or are selling well, such as; wordtracker’s keyword questions tool, Ubersuggest and google insights. Make sure you look at the bestsellers lists on Amazon to see what type of books are doing well. If you have your own blog, don’t forget to check your own stats and maybe you’ll spot a specific niche people are searching for that is bringing them to you, it makes perfect sense to write about that! Also, read other books, blogs etc. and look at what topics people are responding to most, is there a specific trend, or a gap people are missing? Focus and write your first draft. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect; the idea for me was that this was something that served two purposes.


How to publish an e-book Firstly, I had something to show people and to gain their feedback on, checking I was writing well, it was interesting, answered questions and solved problems. Secondly, it gave me structure to start to refine and finish the book. I don’t think it’s important to write in any order. I found that by writing the chapters that interested me most enabled me to finish about 60% of the book. Seeing it coming along so well then inspired me to keep going and to finish it.

looked at the book I found something new which needed changing or editing. However, Amazon’s proof reading service is great and they will print and send your book to you so you can read it in paperback form before you actually click the publish button, which is a big help. Would I do all of this myself again?

Certainly not! It was very stressful and time consuming and I’d much rather pay someone next time round so I can get on with what I Revise and get help if needed. like doing best, writing! I personally didn’t use a proof But if money is an issue reader as I couldn’t really afford it for you, then it is and I thought I could do it myself. certainly doable. What this meant was that I actually Publish it! spent more time revising and proof Many people I speak to reading the book than it actually find this the most took me to write it! To be honest, it daunting part and I nearly drove me insane! It’s hard think that’s usually work and I found that every time I because it’s new to


them and they think it will be a difficult process. To be honest, I found Amazons self-publishing services very easy to use and their support was great too. I chose to use their direct publishing platform and offer my book as a paperback option as well as publishing with them on Kindle. Both processes were very straight forward. The result? My book is now making me money just about every day and I’m really enjoying working on my next one! My advice? Just go for it, don’t let any of your fears put you off! Maria’s book; “The Anxiety Sufferers Tool Book” by Maria Albertsen is available to download on Amazon.

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Spotlight on Business Opportunities...If you’re looking for a new business, have you considered franchising or direct sales? Here’s some examples of popular choices to consider...

Music With Mummy Classes MUSIC with MUMMY is a pre-school music education programme for children of all ages - from birth until they go to school. Running successfully since 1992, this established business has been tried and tested by thousands of children all over the UK and indeed around the world. Franchisees start up with an investment of £125 to cover home-based training followed by a monthly licence fee of £35 - £85 which provides fantastic, original music, teaching notes and all the support you need to start up your business. The fees give franchisees the freedom to operate as many classes as they want with no further percentage cuts or sliding scales - earnings are kept by the franchisee. This makes Music with Mummy unique from all other child-centred franchises. It is financially rewarding - a job that is immensely fulfilling.

Run your own magazine Could you run your own magazine? We take on a small number of new virtual editors each year. You simply buy an low cost annual license, we supply your pre-written magazine and you sell advertising to cover print and production costs, and then you’re in profit. All that is left is to distribute your magazine locally...

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Creating wealth, from health! Forever Living Products offers a way to build your own business on a parttime basis working alongside existing commitments. Income is earned through the retailing of a market leading range of aloe vera and beehive based health and nutrition products, and through building a team of likeminded people. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary as award winning training and support are provided. The company is 35 years old, cash rich and debt free and hold Investors in People Gold and Champion status. Network Marketing is now well respected and proving to be the profession of choice for the 21st Century. Forever offers total choice, whether you want an additional top up income or a larger business which will bring you a significant monthly income, free international travel and a share in company profits. Whichever you choose, we will hold your hand every step of the way. Forever Living Products are members of the Direct Selling Association.

Sell Gorgeous Stationery Phoenix Trading is a top 10 UK direct selling company, with over 10,000 traders worldwide. You could be selling our popular greetings cards, along with gift wrap and stationery, all with gorgeous designs at great prices. You can run the business on a part time or full time basis, and as there are no targets to meet, you can do as much or as little as you want from week to week. It costs just ÂŁ30 to register as a trader, which covers your first year's registration, brochures and order forms, product samples, display boxes, stationery, a business manual and a free website (there's an option of a one off fee to upgrade it to an e-commerce site, too). At time of joining, you also have the option to buy a special offer best selling stock pack.

Prices correct at time of press


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Exhibiting Secrets

Secrets to Successful Exhibiting Exhibiting for the first time can be both exciting and daunting. You’re going into the unknown, to get your product ‘out there’ so it could be a big expense for your small business. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and as we’ve been exhibiting for several years we’ve got lots experience, and now have it completely sussed. These are our top tips. Remember that it’s not always just about selling - you are presenting your business direct to your market so what else you could get out of the event? For starters when stuck behind a desk for much of your working life, the chance to talk direct to your potential customers face to face is a rare one so don’t miss the opportunity to get valuable feedback; literally ask them what they think. You’ll find what they like, don’t like. Information like this can change the way you market your business in the future so listen to your customers. Presentation is Paramount - Brand your stand. You’re joining a sales arena with competitors, so you want visitors to be drawn to your stand. Think ahead and plan how it will look. What do you need? Colour schemes, a theme? posters, leaflets, branded t-shirts, staff...where will you stand or sit? Look at the smaller detail; bunting in your colours can look fabulous, make sure you iron any table cloths, do you need carrier bags for your customers to promote their purchases from you?

Finally, the Number one, often overlooked rule: Collect data. Make it your mission to collect data! Your database of potential customers is vital to the growth of your business. Get their email address so you can thank them for coming, remind them who you are and send them useful information or special offers from time to time. Give them a future discount Your sales pitch - Visitors will wander code, a recommend a friend offer.. by your stand, what you say will give them a reason to stop, how can you Housekeeping - before you go, check break the ice? If you throw a high you have travel arrangements and pressure sales pitch at them, they’ll accommodation booked. Do you have walk on by. So think carefully about the people to help you? How will you take best approach - you’ll find you amend payment? Take snacks and drinks, and this as the day progresses but it’s great wear comfy shoes. Seriously, the killer to have a starting point. Ask a question heels might look great but after 3 days it’s always a good way to engage. on them you’ll be ready to bin them. Above all, be confident, friendly, but Take a camera and take lots of photos not over powering. for your social media and blogging.

will have planned your stand prior to the day, things can go wrong! So take string, blu tac, double sided tape, Velcro strips, scissors. Anything you may need in an emergency. For us, long elastic bands have been a godsend in the past when hanging roller banners; (a new design foxed us - they didn’t have hooks as before).

Show offer & competitions - have you got a show exclusive or a competition you can offer? This can draw people to your stand and the show organisers may well use it to promote as a benefit to visitors. Giveaways can attract visitors, what can they get free with Setting up - get there early, it can take every purchase? longer than you think. Although you

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Remember exhibiting is not just for selling, it is an opportunity to connect with your customer so present yourself well, consider your sales pitch, get an exclusive offer to promote and collect data! Oh and enjoy yourself, it’s hard work but lots of fun.


Exhibiting Secrets

Nicole Muller, Portfolio Director at The Baby Show offers her insider tips: 1 - It’s not all about at show, take advantage of pre-show marketing benefits! Good quality exhibitions will provide you other opportunities to promote your brand up to 4 months out from an event. These include website presence, social media, promoting launch products and any special offers at the event. If you are prepared to be open to ideas and supplying products for additional promotion, although not guaranteed, further coverage may be secured in national and regional press. The event makes for a good hook to gain coverage rather than approaching a media direct. 2 - Promote your presence in advance of the show! Shout about your attendance, especially if this is a major live sales platform for you. Tell customers through your marketing channels that they can meet you and come see your products, demonstrating your active position in the market and commitment to building relationships with parents, bumps and babies. 3 - It’s all in the presentation! Make your temporary shop look as good as it can through product display, graphics and special offer/sales messages. Put yourself in the shoes of your target market and make it easy for them to buy from you. Consider the layout of your product, the colours of your graphics, think about whether you need any furniture and electrics to help showcase your products.

4 - Customer Service wins - Smile, be helpful and welcome your market! Make the most of every minute you have at the show, there is nothing worse than seeing someone sitting on their mobile phone, ignoring customers as they pass. Here is a great opportunity for you to engage with your audience and make sure they remember your great products and customer service. Treat them how you would expect to be treated and the sales will flow! 5 - Sales can rocket at a live event, take advantage! With the growth of online stores, exhibitions are the perfect platform to meet your target market and sell face to face. It gives consumers a unique opportunity to can see, touch, try and buy your products to drive sales and possible future business. 6 - Exhibitions offer additional benefits on top of sales! Make the most of meeting a large volume of your target market, use the exhibition for other exclusive business opportunities to drive brand awareness, deliver live product demonstrations, gain endorsement through PR by meeting celebrities, gather invaluable consumer feedback and collect key customer data.

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Opportunities Franchises & Classes

Relax and let Softplay Takeaway bring the party to you!

GREAT opportunities are now available to run your own business, running ‘Music with Mummy’ classes designed for babies, toddlers & preschoolers.

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QUALITY soft play equipment to hire. PARTIES, CHRISTENINGS, WEDDINGS. Simply arrange a venue and we do the rest! No huge up-front fees, royalty fees or commissions taken. Being short listed for the ‘Best Franchisor’ award is a great advert for our affordable franchises.

Visit For West Midlands classes contact Lindsay Lucas on 07815 759035.

We are by covered by Public Liability insurance Fun, clean & safe. Ideal for children 0-4 years. Packages to suit all budgets. FREE! 16 Fancy dress costumes with every hire. Quote ref: MC01. (Offer ends 31.10.13)

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We like to keep an eye (or two) on what mumowned businesses out there are doing, and these are the likely suspects for this issue‌

After many years in the corporate world, in 2012 Sandra Cull left to have a baby and, like so many new mums, she started a business that would enable her to stay at home to look after her little boy, Adam.

Camilla McGregor is a mum of three and a former nurse.

Her future plans are to offer additional statement jewellery combinations, personal styling advice plus exclusive jewellery made to order as a one stop shop for simple styling.

After the birth of her second child she tried tummy belts and control pants along with her nursing bras but wasn't happy with the support or comfort they offered. After exploring the market she found there were no all in one garments available for breastfeeding mums. This led her to create her own range of shapewear to make sure that new mums weren't missing out. Camilla wanted to feel great about her own post pregnancy body, so created the product that would do just that for her and so many other women . After the birth of her third child, Camilla was able to wear the products herself and was delighted with the results. She let us in on a secret... Even though she is no longer breastfeeding she still wears the shapewear all the time, describing it as her second skin!

She created an online service that enables customers to buy affordable statement jewellery. Her research told her that women found it hard to find time to buy jewellery pieces without wandering the high street or surfing online to find complimentary pieces to transform their wardrobe or finish off a new outfit. Her aim was to create a concept that offers a simple and time saving way to buy beautiful jewellery combinations in a click. As a recent mum herself, Sandra felt that this was a great way for women like her, whose bodies were changing shape, to update their wardrobe, still feel attractive, without spending a fortune.

Not unusually, Neverland Creations started as a hobby for a bored new mum Clare Birkby! With a bed-loving baby, Neverland has grown into a full-time and growing business with a 5 month waiting list and over 8500 Facebook fans. Clare loves hearing from clients with their own ideas, turning frowny koala doodles into beautiful handprintimprinted silver charms and coming-home outfits into beautiful lions! Clare says she is constantly being asked for new and exciting products so the portfolio is growing by the week, so keep a look out for stunning wooden keepsake boxes and a whole range of home accessories and creatures in the pipeline.

20 - Be your own Boss


Jess is a busy mum of 4 who, frustrated with having to sell the hundreds of unused toys and clothes on ebay and at car boot sales with 4 children in tow decided she needed a new solution.. The problem was that she wanted both extra cash and much needed extra space in her home. The solution was to create an indoor market where buyers could browse tables full of pre-loved babies and childrens items, in pushchair friendly venues and pick up arm-fulls of bargains. She says “We all love finding a bargain and with the cost of raising children soaring I wanted something which would help families, just like myself, save and make some money.” So she launched the first Little Pickles Market in Winchester, back in September 2010 with just £200 to get the business started. The launch was a huge success and the markets snowballed form there. Little Pickles Markets has grown in just 2.5 years from having one market organiser in Hampshire to having 24 market organisers running markets in 7 counties across the UK and the business is growing all the time.

Ashley Siddell created a business that lingerie that was great specialises in nursing bras for smaller quality, beautiful and busted women (A and B cup). Having most importantly suited struggled to find nursing bras for her 34AA bust, Ash set up Petite Maman in 2012 after road testing all of the products with her 7 month old son and is looking to expand over the next 12 months to bring more great products to her small -busted sisters!

my figure. Road testing began and I was so impressed with the bras that I wanted to make them available to other petite mums!”

She says “I have always struggled to find bras to fit my 34AA boobs, and when I became pregnant last year I knew that it would be a mission trying to find nursing bras. The only A cup bras on offer from other retailers left a lot to be desired with shapeless cups and stretchy white fabric. I received my first sample bra by airmail from a specialist international manufacturer just days before my due date! Finally, I had found nursing

She has even overcome post-natal depression and believes her business has been a great motivator to do so. “This business has been a massive learning curve for me and one of the most valuable skills I have gained is from networking, making contact with fellow business owners and potential customers.”

Abbe Opher is 36, mother to Ozz, 5, and Yasmine, 3, and lives in Monmouthshire with her Israeli husband Eyal. In 2012 Abbe and Eyal launched an innovative website for parents who want to save time and money clothing their growing children. Abbe wanted to create a service that enabled parents to bundle up their children's outgrown clothes to then be bought by others with younger children. She says that by keeping clothes moving between families that need them, everyone involved can save a lot of money and dramatically reduce waste. There are 300 users today and usually it takes a minute between a mum signing up and her buying a bundle. The most important balance is between the supply and demand, and Abbe knows from the wishlists that mums send in that there is a lot of demand. She says "The more people join and the more bundles they list, the more choice we will all have when our little ones outgrow their clothes." She is now designing an education pack for eco-councils in schools and planning ReLIKE parties for mums. She says, "It is hard work but very exciting seeing our lovely outgrown clothes flying off to new homes!"


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to: w o H

Some members of the Midlands MumsClub Networking Clubs OK, let’s get this straight from the start. Nobody likes networking. That is, initially. Trying to ingratiate yourself, make an impact or, heavens above, sell to a room full of strangers is enough to bring you out in hives. But that’s where most people make their first fatal error. You don’t have to do any of the above. Networking is about getting you and your business in other peo-ple’s consciousness. How you do this should feel comfortable and enjoyable to you. So from the outset try to source a networking group that suits your needs and feels right. Go to a few before you decide.

Look the part. You are your brand, Say “We need to mingle” and do just so look well-groomed, up to date and attractive. You are your business’ shop window – so are you Harrods or Primark? Check for clean shoes and nails, dandruff on collar and if in doubt invest a couple of hours with an image consultant to get it right.


When presented with someone’s business card, show courtesy by holding it in both hands and reading it carefully and then commenting on it before putting it respectfully away. Afterwards you can write on the back The really great part about Make good eye contact and give a what you talked about. People’s networking is you will meet people warm, firm handshake, not a limp or business cards reflect who they are, who inspire, who can help you build knuckle-crushing one. so treat them well. and develop your busi-ness; you get Always follow up. Email those you support and contacts; you feel less Smile and let it light your eyes. met and say how nice it was to meet People who smile put others at ease. isolated (if you work alone). And yes, them and maybe even suggest a you will get business from it too. In Listen, listen, listen – our ears coffee if you feel that would be short you will grow. never get us into trouble. Find out useful. It’s not an excuse to stand in a corner what people do, how you can help Finally, keep in mind it takes five visits clutching a drink and monopolising them. Use network-ing as a fact- to the same networking group before the one person who you do know. finding mission about others, the people fully get what you do and start Nor is it a social date where you have market or new trends. to trust you and refer clients on. a lovely lunch and go back to work Don’t rule people out because they sloshed with a bulging pocket of look shy, different, introverted or are business cards. in a profession completely alien to By Sarah Wade and Carole Ann Rice And it is definitely not an occasion for what you seek. You never know who co-authors Start Your Dream the hard sell. Nothing clears a room they know. Business: Secrets of Successful and faster than a pushy sales person If you get stuck with an Olympian Happy Entrepreneurs (pub forcing their wares on anything with a bore, don’t stay put out of politeness. Marshall Cavendish April 2013) pulse that crosses their path.

22 - Be your own Boss




Stop the press... What’s happening around the country

NEWSDESK The national news that our mums in business are making! Got something to shout about? Tell us! In April Tom Daly popped into to Turtle Tots (pictured below) Edinburgh's baby swimming classes whilst in Edinburgh for the World Series Diving Championships. Tom’s facebooking the photo of him with the babies (and future Olympic swimmers) generated over 24,000 ‘Likes’!! Karina Reinhardt, owner at Turtle Tots Edinburgh and pictured here with Tom, and all her parents were delighted to spend some time with him. Karina commented "I just wished I'd brushed my hair before taking this picture!". Tom went on to win the 10m Platform dive later that week.

We are delighted to congratulate Midlands based Amanda Rees, (pictured below) creator of local maternity clothing website who completed the London Marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 59 minutes! Amanda raised £1500 for the National Blind Children's Society:, and hopes to raise a total of £3,000 for Did you know? MumsClub is 6 them from the 30s Disco she is years old this summer! Yes, from a organising! little idea for a single mum of one to find like minded women to chat to, grew a whopping great national network of mums in business which we’re proud to be a part of. Happy Birthday!

Tool Book. She also becomes the North West Regional Ambassador for Virgin Media and its rumoured that Sir Richard has her on speed dial (ok, we made that bit up). She is also both a MumsClub Ambassador, and a Virgin Media Pioneers Ambassador for the North East. Fabulous news Maria!

Berkshire Business Mum, Tina Stubbs is helping local children become more confident and safe with her C.H.A.M.P.S Academy kids confidence & personal safety Entrepreneur, business mentor workshops in the Berkshire area and psychotherapist, Maria starting the beginning of June. Albertsen (pictured above right) wins backing from Sir Richard Happy Birthday! Jo Livings is Branson for her RagHeroes celebrating 5 successful years with business, she then publishes her her Virtual VA company first book: The Anxiety Sufferers

24 - Be your own Boss


Stop the press... What’s happening around the country Sam Mann, tv and radio presenter (pictured below), launches her brand new website mumazine packed with Interviews with favourite celebrity mums and dads, plus parenting advice, fashion, beauty, nutrition and fitness from her team of top contributors.

Designing mum Clare Birky from Neverland Creations shaved her head in a very good cause! Clare (pictured below), says it started as a dare and went from there! Once the idea was in their heads, and

being very lucky mummies to three beautiful, healthy children they chose to support Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, supporting families with sick children. Rather chilly but looking fabulous, for a great cause! Pictured Left to right is Clare, Mhairi, Suzy & Lizzie. Clare has raised over £1000 but if you can spare some pennies to support the cause please do so here: page, it’s -in-May.

Mum-owned business sees its products stocked in one of London’s most prestigious department stores. Chiara Stone’s fabulous jewellery of hoobynooworld now has her jewellery stocked by Liberty’s. Fabulous news Chiara! (Page 26)

And finally, Michelle Wall aka Shellybobbins, aka Noah’s Mum (pictured below) has been working hard to raise awareness for Spina Bifida after her son Noah who is now one, was born with the condition. Noah has defied the odds and brings happiness to all around him whist Shelly has set up a charity, launched a website, released a single on iTunes & Amazon, designed a jewellery range, designed a physio table that's going into production, had Noah’s charity logo promoted on 5 rally cars and she’s even organised a grand charity Ball. Please take a look at Noah’s site or tweet Shelly Sharon Ward, from Warwickshire, using #hugsfornoah. :) founder of Teddy & Me, (pictured above), the UK's leading premature and tiny baby clothing company sees her range of premature clothing stocked in John Lewis.

We love hearing from our readers so send your news or achievements to along with a photo & you too could be featured here. 25

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Start up Stories: How we did it

3 mums Share their journ


Starting a new business is always going to be different for everyone so we’ve spoken to three different businesses, all started by a mum to see how and why they did it, and where being a mum in business has taken them.

My jewellery is now on the high street! Chiara Stone formed her business, Hoobynoo World in 2012 and was accepted to sell on within a month of launching her business. After a very successful first Christmas trading she attended the Liberty’s open call for designers in January who loved the range and said they would be in touch. Six weeks later she had her first large wholesale order from one of the most prestigious department stores in London. Her jewellery is now available in store. The idea for the business originally came from the little felt brooches I used to hand stitch as a hobby. I

thought I could use my illustrations and have them made into acrylic jewellery, which would make them profitable. Whilst I was designing the characters I had the idea of adding character profiles to go along with the jewellery. This would make my product unique and help me to establish a brand.

start, as they loved my company name! They thought the jewellery would be perfect for the childrenswear section and they would be in touch.

My husband is a children’s author so I enlisted him to write the character profiles for me.

The order has taken three weeks to complete and should be on sale by the beginning of January.

I launched with just 13 characters, which was enough to persuade that my product would appeal to their customers.

I think I have managed to achieve a lot within a short space of time and I have great ambitions for the future!

I was fortunate to have some great press coverage in the mainstream teen magazines and in the Sun newspaper.

I knew research was paramount importance

I was also approached by the management team for two of the girls from MTV reality show The Valleys, Lateysha Grace and Nicole Morris who wanted to wear my jewellery during the shooting of the second series.

Chiara Stone - Hoobynoo World


I went along to the Liberty’s open call in January and waited for two hours until I was seen by two buyers Jenny and Ben. I had just three minutes to pitch my brand and got off to a great - Be your own Boss

I had an agonizing six-week wait until I was contacted by Jenny who placed a huge order for hundreds of necklaces.

When Belinda Bull started to think about a new business idea; a website supplying gifts specifically for mums and grandmas, she knew research would be the key. When I started to research my new business idea, - gifts for Mums & Grandmas, I wanted to be absolutely sure that the gifts I was offering online were exactly the sorts of things my end customer would choose for themselves. I had a limited amount of funds from savings to start buying stock but I managed


Start up Stories: How we did it Belinda Bull - Net2nana

to persuade a few wholesalers to sell me small amounts. I then approached a couple of local Retirement Homes and took my stock in to show to the Residents (a sort of "focus group" for my business concept!). The enthusiasm with which they reacted and their eagerness to buy the "gifts" there and then was really encouraging and the small amounts of profits I made from selling to them gave me essential funds to help launch my business. I repeated this a few times at different Retirement Homes until I felt confidant both with my stock and with my boosted finances to launch I so enjoy these "focus groups" that they have become an integral part of my business plan and I actually still do them a few times a year, as well as being great fun they provide me with valuable insights into what older ladies would choose for themselves as gifts! I've also met some lovely "Nanas" who totally dispel any myths that older people are "beige & boring"!

I found a gap and filled it! Carnie Pollock started her business by almost by accident. She couldn’t find anyone to make a small amount of badges for a children’s birthday party so she decided to make her own. I bought a machine and used part of


our weekly household budget to get a cheap professional machine. At the time we didn’t have very much money so it was a big investment and it meant going without some of our usual shopping. I had to convince my husband we could use the machine for parties as our kids were growing up. The party was a big hit and the badges went down really well. Afterwards friends and family kept asking me to make badges for them, so I made use of the machine. I also did a few kids badge stalls at fetes (and ended up losing money) but so many people asked if I had an online shop that I realised there could be a business in that instead. My youngest was just going into nursery so in 2007 I decided to set up my own online business rather than try and find a part-time job to fit around school hours. I did a lot of research into badge machines and components. I didn’t want to buy from foreign factories in China & Taiwan due to their working conditions and damage to their environments. That gave me the idea that I wanted to offer a greener product. I managed to find a UK Company that supplied machines and they offered bulk components that are made from recycled plastics & metals. I also found a family packaging firm th at was environmentally friendly. It cost a lot more than the foreign imports but I didn’t want to use products I didn’t believe in. Again I turned to the household budget to fund that and crossed my fingers that nothing in the house would need a repair. It was many weeks of beans on toast and me worrying at nights if I had done the right thing. Luckily I had experience in website building as I had constructed free websites for several charities and local groups after leaving Lancaster University with my Marketing degree. I also had a lot of graphic design experience as I did digital art as a hobby. I think one of the secrets of my success is that you should

always pick a business idea from something that you are good at or already have skills in The first version of my website was really simple and I offered just 20 badge designs in one size. It wasn’t very exciting but word soon got round that I was offering free design and unlimited printing colours. I was so delighted when I got my first order (which took two weeks to come). It was slow going at first. When you first start out don’t expect more than a couple of orders a week. Over the years the business has grown due to word of mouth. My family now kindly work with me as we have so much demand for our badges. We have a fleet of machines and offer a whole range of badge sizes. The shop has over 900 ‘instantbuy’ designs and we still offer the same free design service for photo & image badges as well as free personalisation. We sell badges all over the world to members of the public as well as to big corporations and celebrities. I never thought I’d be known locally as ‘the badge lady’ but I love my job to bits. Every day I am doing something I love so I feel really lucky. If you have an idea and are prepared to work long hours don’t let anything stop in your way and go for it. Carnie Pollock

Carnie Pollock—Make A Badge

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An Interview with a (Mum & Dad) Festival Organiser

Welcome to

Camp Bestival!

For the uninitiated, Camp Bestival is a 4 day weekend of festival fun. If, during your youth, you’ve never been to a music festival then perhaps the time is nigh as at Camp Bestival you’ll smile from the moment you arrive until you leave. We spoke to Rob & Josie da Bank, the amazing mum and dad team behind Camp Bestival for some insights into the background of the UK’s biggest child friendly festival. And if you’ve ever fancied organising your own, there’s some great tips here.. Camp Bestival – why? Which of you Dell staring up at some mad hit upon the idea first (and where installation in a tree full of mechanical were you when inspiration hit you)? insects... And then you’ve got the Josie: Well we'll always argue about Castle itself, which makes a magical who thought it up… I’m sure that I backdrop to the whole party too.

Josie: It was quite emotional watching the opening ceremony of The Olympics on the big screens inside the Big Top with Robby and our kids. We weren’t sure that stopping the music for an opening ceremony Josie: The whole Jurassic coast did, but Robby swears he did. would work, but it was a huge draw around Lulworth is an amazing part of Rob: There’s been a lot of water England and perfect for summer and very powerful hearing everyone under the bridge (and a few cocktails sing along under the stars. in the Bollywood Bar!) since then so I holidays for families too. can’t quite remember but we both If you could sum up Camp Bestival in wanted to do a family show. We'd one sentence of not more than 20 just started having kids ourselves and words, what would that sentence felt there was a bit of a gap in the be? market for a show with a really strong Rob: A whirling merry-go-round of musical line-up alongside lots of endless fun for everyone and the best things for kids and families to do. family party you’ll ever go to. How did you settle on Lulworth This is the 6th year now for Camp Castle as the venue for Camp Bestival - what is your fondest Bestival? memory so far? Josie: We'd been there to another Rob: Maybe seeing Chuck Berry take festival a long time ago and to the stage… or Florence whirling remembered it being really magical. around in her inimitable fashion, Rob: Yup, we spent hours lying in whipping up the crowd into a frenzy. what is now Camp Bestival's Dingly

28 - Be your own Boss


An Interview with a (Mum & Dad) Festival Organiser How far in advance do you have to Rob: We have had some work done recently which came out in the plan for the event? Josie: It’s pretty much a non-stop millions. You can’t underestimate steamrolling show that doesn’t halt how may families use Camp Besti as for anything. We're already talking the start of their summer holiday and then go and stay locally and spend about 2014 now! locally. We certainly get welcomed by Rob: Yup, we're always planning. It’s a most businesses and hotels down bit of a problem for us as we work there for what we bring to Dorset together, live together, have kids each summer. We also use local together and everything seems to suppliers and staff wherever possible come back to talking about Camp and work with lots of local charities. Bestival or Bestival after a while! My personal favourite locals are the Seriously though, it’s the best job in Women’s Institute (who make a the world. cracking cup of tea when you’re Fancy dress is obviously an feeling a bit knackered). important part of Camp Bestival (this Camp Bestival is renowned as year’s fancy dress theme is ‘Around festival foodie heaven – is it true The World’) – what are the best that you both genuinely have a hand costumes that you have seen in in choosing what food is available on previous years? -site at Camp Bestival? Josie: The best costume I have ever Josie: Yes, I hand pick them all myself. seen is someone dressed as a take I often give out a few free pitches to away curry at Bestival. The best up-and-coming new foodie traders costumes at Camp are when the that need a hand getting off the whole family gets involved – we once ground. I have also asked a few had a family come as the entire cast people to become a festival trader from Alice In Wonderland, complete because I liked their food so much – with beautiful handmade costumes. Peallaria is the best example of this Another year we had a whole family and it’s now the most popular food come as yellow coats from Hi De Hi. stall. Last year and this year we have Are there any official estimates as to the Young British Foodies coming how much Camp Bestival adds to the along too, who bring the best local Dorset economy annually? Do selection of street food out there that you work closely with local you won't see at any other show. businesses and charities? Camp Bestival wouldn't be the same without Mr Tumble, Dick N Dom and

The Cuban Brothers, but which new things are you most excited to have added on-site this year? Josie: This year we have Horrible Histories, which is a firm favourite of my son Arlo - it will be super to see that. We have made some changes to the Dingly Dell; expect to see lots of fire and water and late-night storytelling. We also have a new night in the Big Top called I Love the 80s – I think that will be a good one for the mums out on a ladies night. Lulworth Castle seems to be magically transformed every year for Camp Bestival - how important is it to you (Josie) to get the look of the event right and to keep it fresh every time? Josie: It’s really important that Camp Bestival and Lulworth Castle & Park look and feel like they do. We have a very strong identity and look in which we take a lot of pride. I am currently having lots of new bunting and signs made, creating new venues. It has a lovely feeling of summer. I hope the look and feel of the show will stay with children forever. What are your plans for the future of Camp Bestival? Josie: To keep it going , to keep it the same size, to see the same children coming back and getting older and also to welcome and meet new families. To keep the content changing every year. And for the sun to keep shining on us!


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Business Directory

Business Directory

Business Directory 30 - Be your own Boss


A business opportunity Could you run this magazine?

The Business Mum’s Journal is looking for virtual editors Nationwide! We’ve done all the hard work and can help you set up your own home business that will allow you to earn a great part time income, whilst being there for your family. To be part of this exciting venture, contact us right away for an information pack... |


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