Thursday, December 30, 2010

Award winning Scottish Mumpreneurs

Entering awards can be daunting for Mumpreneurs but two of our Glasgow Network Mumpreneurs have got it spot on.

M.T O'Donnell of successfully won the The Best Supplier Website at The Bridal Magazines Awards, beating off big companies like Confetti.

The award ceremony takes place in 2011 so we will be interviewing M.T after the awards, to get the low down on what life is like as an award winning business.

Glasgow Girls Wedding Guide

Irene McNamee of made it to the shortlist for Best Stationery Supplier and
Louise Graham of also made the shortlist for Accessory Supplier of the Year. Both ladies are also in the Glasgow network.



Wedding and Baby Bespoke Accessories
 Alison Tinlin of has also successfully made it to the final of Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards 2011. Alison has been shortlisted as one of 5 top wedding planners in the UK. Winners will be announced at the ceremony on the 14th Jan 2011. So we wish her all the best.

Plans and Presents
Also celebrating earlier in the year was Edinburgh Scottish Mumprenuer Anna Louise Simpson of . Anna Louise scooped the Best Start Up at the Mumpreneur Awards 2010.
Mama Tea at Mumpreneur Awards

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scottish Mumpreneur Network speaks with

We as you know at Scottish Mumpreneur Network I am always working hard to get our members special discounts. This one comes from the wonderful

"The premier blog and directory resource for weddings in the North of the UK and the wider web. A double daily dose of wedding inspiration, supplier showcases, real and celebrity weddings, giveaways and more!"

"Currently adding Featured Suppliers to the Brides Up North directory. Quote Scottish Mumpreneurs for preferable rates!"

I have been speaking with the team behind this site and rest assured they are fab. In fact you will see my business on there next week.

Please contact them direct at for your special rates.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wedding & Vintage Headband maker Louise at talks to SMN

Wedding and Baby launched in Jan 2009 and is now gaining recognition from wedding industry experts for providing a range of vintage inspired headbands, combs, tiaras and jewellery. Wedding and Baby was also shortlisted in The Bridal Magazine Awards for Best Accessory supplier of the year 2010.
Rhinestone Rose hair comb

In the beginning, Louise Graham decided to build her business by working with extremely talented designers to establish her business. This decision was purely due to her time commitments being limited as she cared for her young son. However as a Product designer to trade (having graduated from Napier University Edinburgh with a BSc Hons in Industrial Design) it wasn’t long before Louise’s creativity was bursting to get hands on again – so she launched her own range of tiaras, headbands and jewellery in Sept 2009. Around this time she also gained recognition from X – Factor contestants, which resulted in her designs being worn to the premiere of Shrek 3D in June 2010.

Clam Headband

Within a year and a half in business Wedding and Baby have launched a wholesale option, allowing the designs to be available to try on in bridal boutiques throughout the country. Already within a month of setting this up Louise has stockists eager to stock her designs.

Louise focuses on vintage inspired pieces with a twist. Her work is renowned for being more than just a wear once accessory. In fact many of her designs can be converted into a brooch and worn again. As well as the website, Louise offers appointments in Glasgow for bespoke orders.

Vintage Wedding feather fascinator with bird cage veil

The Spring/Summer 2011 collection is causing a stir with the media. As always Vintage is the essence of the collection, although this season sees more fabric and feathers along with the usual rhinestones. You can be sure to see Louise’s designs gracing Bridal magazines and Wedding T.V programmes throughout 2011.

What makes Wedding and Baby so unique is that Louise becomes part of the style team. She instinctively uses her design qualifications to create a headpiece that will suit the bride, the dress and the ceremony. Cuddles are a regular occurrence from brides who are blown away by their breath taking bridal accessories.

 What’s more Louise keeps in touch with most brides long after the big day and is always delighted to see the baby photo’s that follow!

To have your dream wedding tiara, headband, comb, fascinator, birdecage veil or jewellery created for you make sure you contact Wedding and Baby.!/pages/Wedding-and-Baby/52939309408

Twitter @weddingandbaby

Vintage Cuff Bracelet

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Interview with inspiring mumpreneur Chez Bec.

I am truly delighted to have had the chance to interview Rebecca Doyle of Chez Bec for The Scottish Mumpreneur Network. Personally she is a huge inspiration to me as we are in the same field of business and shows that she utterly is a "gem" in the wedding industry. I hope she can mentor me some time when she is free and isn't away collecting awards and launching her brand all over the world. So personally thank you from the bottom of my heart - Louise x

Here is her amazing story -

It takes real courage to fly in the face of everything you have worked for, throw away a hard-won career and follow your dreams, but that is precisely what Rebecca Doyle did five years ago when she gave up her career as a lawyer to start a jewellery business. If she ever wanted proof that she did the right thing, it came in the form of an award from Wedding Ideas magazine earlier this year.

Rebecca owns and runs successful wedding jewellery brand Chez Bec, which in January scooped the award for Best Bridal Accessories as voted for by readers of Wedding Ideas magazine. She is also mother to 20-month-old twin boys, a role which she juggles with the demands of a growing business. “Life is pretty full-on,” she says, “but I couldn’t be happier!”.

Happiness certainly seems to be one of her qualities, together with positivity, entrepreneurship, a clear head, sound business sense, determination and, above all else, a clear sense of direction. Affable, personable and full of energy, she has the courage of her own convictions and, now, the joy of spending her days doing something she loves.

It wasn’t always so. On the advice of her careers officer she studied law at university (“It’s such a dry subject, and only later did I learn that you can do a different degree still be a lawyer – if only I’d known!”), but took a year out after she left to consider other options. Nothing obvious sprang to mind and nothing attracted her either so, almost resignedly, she applied to two top law firms and came back from an interview with one of them to find an answerphone message offering her a job. After a couple of years spent training and another two years working in corporate finance, she was well-entrenched in the glamorous role of being one of the only women in a male-dominated environment. “Crazy hours, suffocating demands and working under intense pressure all came with the territory,” says Rebecca. “But the crunch came when my boyfriend (now my husband) booked a holiday to Antigua and the firm gave me a BlackBerry so I could be contacted at all times. And contacted at all times I was!” Rebecca realised that despite the kudos, the career progression and the fantastic salary, this was not how she wanted to live her life. In September 2005, with her boyfriend’s total support, she handed in her notice.

There was an ulterior motive behind this. Ever since she was a little girl, Rebecca had cultivated a love of jewellery and had shadowed her mother, an antique jewellery dealer, at shows and fairs for years. “I used to love visiting the flea markets with my mum and I used to spend my pocket money there. Once I bought a silver locket and I sold it in my mum’s shop in Tetbury. A man bought it for his fiancĂ©e for Valentine’s Day. That was my first sale! I was seven.”

The never-forgotten kick from this sale, plus a love of pearls, trinkets, accessories and pretty things, together with a wealth of business knowledge gained from her years as a lawyer, put Rebecca on a clear and determined path. She knew she wanted to set up her own jewellery business. “It was obvious to me that it should be an online business. When I was a lawyer, the ridiculous hours meant that I never had time to go shopping. So I became queen of internet browsing and online purchasing! The relatively low start-up cost of an online shop as opposed to taking premises was a huge incentive, too, and meant that I could get up and running quickly.”

 Rebecca set up an office at home, from where the business is still run. Her stepfather came up with the name (a French and abbreviated translation of ‘at Rebecca’s house’). She took herself off to jewellery trade shows in the UK and Paris to take a good look at what was out there and to decide which wholesalers and designers she was going to buy from. The next step was to sign up a PR company to promote the business (“now I do it all myself because it’s far too expensive to use an outside firm”) and invest money in search engine optimisation, which means that if a bride keys ‘wedding jewellery’ or ‘bridal jewellery’ into Google, Chez Bec will appear on the first page of results. She decided not to sign up to any existing online jewellery stores as she felt sure that having a strong web presence via her own website was key to building the brand, and so she spent her limited marketing budget on making sure that potential customers were directed straight to her own website. Rebecca also sent an email alert to over 1,000 contacts that she had built up over the years and got herself listed on Daily Candy, the online magazine that sends alerts to 250,000 readers every day. She placed adverts in fashion glossies such as Grazia and Marie Claire. “I learnt the hard way through trial and error what works and what doesn't. I used my knowledge of the law to do all the legal bits myself, but if there was a book on how to run a successful online jewellery boutique then my life would have been a lot simpler and easier!” she says. “I realise now that when I started up I underestimated the extent to which online marketing was necessary, and I should have invested more money in it. If I had my time again I would go straight into bridal jewellery, as concentrating on the niche market has made us a bona fide brand, and has been a great success!”

Just nine months after Rebecca resigned from the law firm, went live. It started life as a contemporary jewellery boutique selling affordable pieces and the stock was brought in by Rebecca from designers in the UK and Europe. However, when Rebecca was planning her wedding in August 2006 she became totally obsessed with weddings and slowly began to source wedding jewellery. She also advertised for designers locally and put the word about through contacts she had made that she was looking for jewellery designers to work for her. In May 2007, almost a year after launch, Rebecca launched a wedding collection. “It went absolutely crazy!” she laughs. “The collection outsold everything else, so I started cutting back on the other ranges and asked my designers to start making pearl jewellery.”

 Rebecca stopped buying in jewellery and focused on designing her own, and employed her two designers to work full-time for Chez Bec. They are based in Kent. By 2008 the boutique sold bridal jewellery exclusively. The company prides itself on selling exquisite yet affordable necklaces, earrings, bracelets, tiaras and hair accessories set with sterling silver, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals. From simply stunning to fabulously ornate there is something to suit all brides, and there is a bespoke service for those who want something designed and made exclusively for them (it is also possible to have standard pieces altered). For men, there are pearl cufflinks and cravat pins. Each piece is beautifully designed and handmade in the UK, and gift-wrapped as standard in luxury branded gift boxes with generous amounts of soft white tissue paper. If it is a gift (and there is plenty that is suitable for bridesmaid’s presents!) it is supplied with a hand-written gift card too. These simple yet important touches really do make a difference. Meanwhile, the user-friendly website is easy to navigate with clear photography and clever features such as style guides and testimonials from happy customers.

Having gone 100 per cent bridal, Chez Bec now advertises in wedding publications. The wedding ideas award was, for Rebecca, the icing on the cake of everything she has worked for. “The real thrill of this award is that it is voted for by brides themselves. I love my brides and I get a kick every time one posts a comment on the Chez Bec website saying how delighted they were with their purchase from us. We were finalists in the Best Bridal Accessories category two years running, and finalists in the UK Jewellery Awards 2008 for Best Bridal Jewellery. But to actually win the Wedding Ideas award, and by a big margin, as we did, was really fantastic, especially as there were 70 companies in our category!”

Chez Bec has fared well in the recession and figures actually went up last year. “I do think that couples are delaying their weddings due to the financial situation, but they are still getting married. And when they do, our prices are really affordable – our most expensive item is £68. I believe we really fit a niche in the market, and we are getting more and more orders, not only from the UK – we get orders from France, Spain, the US and even Australia and New Zealand!”

Chez Bec retail has been such a success that at the beginning of last year Rebecca decided to expand into the wholesale market. “I realise that not all brides are online shopaholics like me, and that some do like to try jewellery on before they buy it. Very often they like to try it on when they are trying on dresses so they can get the complete look. I really didn’t want to open a shop, so supplying other shops seemed like a natural move.” A brave step in a credit crunch perhaps but, like everything else Rebecca turns her hand to, a good one. The first wholesale range, launched for AW09, was extremely well received and has a fast-growing stockist network (currently 15 shops) in the UK. Rebecca hopes to expand that network and to this end she is exhibiting for the first time at Harrogate in September, where she will be launching two stunning new collections for SS11 – organic designs incorporating vintage-inspired components and a myriad of freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals. What bride could possibly resist?!

Is your business full time or do you work elsewhere too?

I run my business full time alongside being a mum to 2-year old twins. Life is pretty busy as you can imagine!

Has your business aims changed over the years? if so what has changed?
My business has grown year on year since I started it back in the summer of 2006. It has even grown through the credit crunch when a lot of businesses are failing. I sell more in one month now than I sold in the whole first 6 months of opening! I have recently gone international with a stockist in Munich in Germany and I hope this is the first of many international stockists. I sell all over the world through my website with a strong customer base in the US, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Malta and Italy

How do you market your business?
I advertise in all of the leading bridal magazines and I invest a lot of time and money in SEO. Never underestimate the power of marketing, both online and offline. Being a website, if people don’t know where to find you, how can you ever expect to have any customers unless you tell them where you are!

You have had great success over the last year winning awards. Would you encourage others to enter awards and what has the benefits been to your business from winning an award?
Winning the Wedding Ideas Awards 2010 was like a dream for me. Having been runners up for the two years before, I never thought we would actually win the Award but it really was 3rd time lucky! Winning the Award has boosted my business more than I ever imagined it could do. We are now an “award-winning” brand and that gives customers a certain confidence when buying from us. Winning the Award was like the most enormous seal of approval one could wish for. It meant that the last 5 years of hard work had been worth it. I get emotional every time I think of winning the Award. After my wedding and having my twins, it really was one of the best moments of my life. I would certainly encourage others to enter awards. It can only give recognition if you win and if you don’t win, you’ve not lost anything. And if at first you don’t win, try, try and try again. We’d been runners up in the Wedding Ideas Awards for the two years previous to winning.

We know you are also a mum to twins. How do you juggle business and babies?
I am indeed Mummy to Max and Isabella, my 2-year old twins. We don’t have any family nearby to help out. Our nearest family is 2.5hours away and the rest are in Scotland , Canada and France ! I have limited childcare and work pretty much every single second I can around my babies (nap times, evenings and weekends). Most people think I am totally crazy even attempting to run a business with twins but for me, my business is my third baby and there was no way I could ever give it up. I was even on my blackberry two hours after my c-section as the babies had decided to turn up rather early (at 35wks instead of their booked c-section at 37.5wks) and I’d just begun a total re=-design of my advertising campaign and I had adverts to sing off left, right and centre! It wasn’t ideal but what could I do. Let’s just say I’ve learnt to do a lot whilst balancing two babies on my lap!

What are your plans for your business in the next few years?
I hope my business continues to grow from strength to strength as time goes on. Each year, I launch one of two new collections and I love each collection more and more. Dealing with brides every day of my working life is an honour and I wake up every morning raring to start work. Not many people can say that now can they.

Do you have any advice that you would like to share with fellow mumpreneurs starting out or growing their business?
Research, research, research! If you don’t know your target audience you won’t know what products they want to buy and you won’t succeed. Also, never underestimate the power of marketing, both online and offline. If people don’t know you exist, how will they ever find you? When starting out it is very normal to eat, drink and sleep work. Indeed I still do this most of the time now, 5 years on and with twins to look after! But you have to stay focused and one step ahead of the game. If you can find a niche then do it as that will make you stand out and give you a place to put down your roots and make your own. Stay determined and have 100% belief in what you do. It is not easy running your own business. No holidays (I have to work even on holiday!), no sick days, no guaranteed income. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Nothing beats being your own boss. And I still get a kick from every single order that comes in. I love my brides and I still get that warm fuzzy feeling every time one sends in some feedback or a photo from their wedding.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

Check out Rebeccas' website

Chez Bec

Thursday, November 4, 2010



Buchanan Galleries shopping centre has presented the Scottish Mumpreneur Network based in Paisley with a cash boost from its Community Bursary fund.  More detials to follow.

Scottish Mumpreneur Network

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lesley Reid from Carla Barla Beads tells us how she approached retailers.

Hi my name is Lesley Reid and have a jewellery business called Carla Barla Beads
 My Business is a new business and it has been running since July 2010. I have been asked to give you some pointers on how to get your items into shops.

What I will do is tell you how it started for me, the first shop happened due to meeting someone at a fayre and they liked my stuff and they started to stock it, really it was as simple as that so the first thing I would advise is always network your fayres you just dont know who you will meet.

The next shop was a customer who advised me to visit her local boutique, she thought my jewellery would suit this shop. So popped in checked out their range, made some stuff to match there collection and phoned them. They asked me to come in brought in the range and they loved it. What i would advise if you can to start with offer sale and return so there is no initial outlay for the shops and they are more likely to stock it.

Another shop I was told about through facebook some people who liked my site, when they found out I was approaching shops told me about one near to them. So dont be affraid to ask people and use soical networks to your advantage.

Managing shops can take alot of work and alot of the time its builting on relationships formed and trust made. All my shops mark up my jewellery so dont undercut yourself, and always keep a copy of the stock they hold. In alot of the shops they wear my jewellery, people tend to finding it easier to visualise how it is going to look on if someone is modeling it.

The main points I would advise are:

1. Always network you dont know who you are going to meet

2. Use social networking to your advantage

3. To start with offer sale or return

4. Dont undercut yourself the shops can easily mark items up

5. Keep a note of stock held in the shops

6. Work on building up relationships and trust between you and the shops.

I am currently trying to get into department stores and magazines so i will keep u posted on how this goes in the future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Erica Douglas of Ace Inspire gives us an Introduction to Business Blogging

Introduction to Business Blogging

Hi, I'm Erica and I'm new to the network. My business is ACE Inspire and we provide remote courses training for online business success, which covers business blogging, social media, email marketing etc..

I'm not sure how many of our members are already internet savvy so I thought I'd make my first post an introduction to business blogging. I hope it's not too basic!

So What is a blog?

The word 'blog' is shortened from it's full title 'weblog' and a blog is just that, a 'web' 'log'. A log, journal or collection of articles on any topic.

What is a business blog?

A business blog is an ongoing log about your business. It can comprise articles about your business and products or services, new launches, promotions, your backstory, industry news, case studies, testimonials and more. It can be presented using text and multimedia such as podcasts, vlogs and slideshows. Done well it will demonstrate your expertise, build customer loyalty, drive traffic to your business and increase your sales and profit.

The power of blogging should not be underestimated and you really are missing a trick if you aren't already doing it.

Here are some benefits of business blogging;

* It is a platform to create preeminence and expertise
* You can capitalise on relationship marketing
* You can improve SEO by creating a steady flow of keyword rich relevant content
* You will increase incoming links
* You can increase your pagerank
* And overall increase traffic to your business website

How to start a blog

Starting a blog is fairly easy today. Purchase a URL, sign up to a blog hosting company and then outsource the set up to a tech expert. In total this should cost no more than £150. Then it's just a case of starting to write. Stuck for content ideas? Watch the video below for my content generation technique.

Erica Douglas
Twitter -

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Scottish Mumprenuer Network celebrates it 1st birthday in style!

The Scottish Mumprenuer Network celebrated their 1st Birthday in style on Sat 2nd Oct 2010, at Malmaison Hotel Glasgow. With 20 members in attendance they had a chance to network, listen to 2 very inspiring speakers and enjoy a lovely 3 course meal.               

Of course the Mumpreneurs were sure to check out the cocktail bar before the proceedings got under way.
We are delighted that Gemma from Glamour Eyes came along to do mini manicures in aid of Cash for Kids. The Scottish Mumpreneur Network had been raising money for cash for kids in an online raffle - which saw a total of £257.96 being handed over to cash for kids.

The room was decorated beautifully thanks to  ,  ,,,
The wonderful Marian from took photo's on the night.

Louise Graham (Founder & Glasow Co- ordinator) and, Irene McNamee  Heather Dunsmore  , Alison Tinlin (event co- ordinator) , Karyn Taft , Elaine Busby (Co-Founder and Glasgow Co-ordinator) Ready Steady Go Childminding 

Libby Young ( Central Co-ordinator), Kelly Mazengera Fairweather  , Debbie Foley   Lisa Dunn ( Dumfries and Galloway Co-ordinator)

As founder, Louise made a quick speech to thank everyone for attending and gave a brief history about the Scottish Mumpreneur Network. 

After a delicious meal Alison introduced the very inspiring speakers.

Gillian Dick from  told us why she set up her own business and shared some of her top tips to fellow entrepreneurs.
Gillian is a real inspiration to any woman in business.

Morag Malloy from Fission Creative  then took the floor to tell us about her journey into being a mumpreneur. Morag had the audience nodding their heads as she described situations of how she manages business with small children to care for. It was great to laugh out loud at some of the things that we ALL do as mumpreneurs.

Ann Louise Simpson and M.T O'Donnell  watch as the speakers deliver their very interesting talks.

 Lisa Dunn  and Lesley Reid Carla Barla Beads look on too.

  Gillian Burke of  networking.
Ladies get networking as they await dinner.
Also in attendance were Jen Allan

  Our delicious birthday cupcakes and cake pops were created by Nicki McCourt from

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Directory of Scottish Mumpreneurs - Mums in business

We are delighted to announce our brand new directory of Scottish Mumpreneurs - Mums in business. If you would like to be listed in our directory at then please complete the subscription link below.

Listing in the directory is £10 per year, per business listing.

Not only will you be listed on our site, the directory will be promoted on our facebook page with 303 members (and counting), as well as on our twitter @scotmumpreneur and here on our blog.

There are big promotion plans for our network, with interest from the local press all over Scotland!

Join our directory now!


State your website address

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Click the link below and click like. Would really appreciate your vote.

Scottish Mumpreneur Network in Dunbartonshire!

Dunbartonshire Scottish Mumpreneur Network meet ups

Our meet ups were held on the 24th and 26th August. We held one during the day and one in the evening for those who could not meet before 6pm.

24th August in Goggle-box, Helensburgh.

Goggle-box is a soft play centre which meant we could bring our children and not have to worry about childcare. 11 people stated they would attend but in the end there were 5 of us (one had forgotten, I do not know why the others did not attend).

We brought business cards and examples of our work.. Several mums from nearby tables came over to see what we were doing and we issued our business cards and spoke about the SMN. Also the owner of Goggle-box informed us she was doing a ladies night and would we like stalls? We discussed amongst ourselves the possibility of having our own regular craft fairs.

The 5 who attended were:

• Kirsteen Allison – Your Wedding at Loch Lomond, Can You Do Me a Favour,CIA Photography and a careers adviser.

• Catherine Marsh – Beauty for You, Cath's Clay Creations and NHS 24

• Jenni Regan – Dub Stitch and Loch Lomond Kids

• Jenny Townsend – See Saw Children's Clothing, The Shepherd's house B&B

• Pam Freeman – Phoenix Trading

August 26th, the Clipper, Dumbarton

This was an evening meet up for those who worked during the day. 7 people said they would attend but only 5 turned up.

Again we brought business cards and samples and discussed our work over a meal. This evening networking event was good for getting to know each other but the Gogglebox one was much more successful, I feel mainly because there were more mums and it was held in a 'mum' environment (soft play).

The people who attended the evening meet up were

• Kirsteen Allison – information as above

• Catherine Marsh – information as above

• Ann Pryce – aromatherapist, retailer, stress management, tarot reader

• Lauren Munro – mobile hair and make up

• Lauren's mum – administrator

We hope to have meetups monthly and hopefully recruit more people to come along.

Kirsteen Alison of

Catherine Marsh:

Jenni Regan:

Jenny Townsend:  and

Pam Freeman:

Lauren Munro:

Ann Pryce:!/pages/Dumbarton-United-Kingdom/Lotions-Potions-Gift-Shop/115630285133317?ref=search

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Scottish Mumpreneur Network in Dumfries and Galloway!

It was featured in Dumfries and Galloway Standard, The Galloway Gazette and on West Sound Radio! 
The first meeting of the Dumfries & Galloway group of the SMN met on Tuesday 31 August 2010 between 10 am and noon at Hillcrest House, Station Road, Wigtown. There were eight attending, which was excellent for a first meet.Those attending were:

Deborah Firth of Hillcrest House

Heather Bestel of Magical Meditations 4 Kids

Renita Boyle, storyteller and author

Gina Lawson of Gina Lillycrop Designs

Claire Nash of Cupcakes by Claire

Helen Arnold of Brora Lodge B&B

Fiona Harrison of Galloway Alpacas

Lisa Dunn of HexagonVA (coordinator)

The meeting took the form of introductions, as some had never met before whereas others were old friends. Sitting around the coffee table we introduced ourselves, our businesses and our ideal clients/customers. This threw up some interesting ideas for strategic partnerships and for possible future ventures. Everyone agreed that it had been a great meeting and were keen to meet again, the next meeting being pencilled in for the last week of October, date to be confirmed.

We finished with a cup of tea and some amazing cupcakes!

Lisa thank you so much for all your hard work. Ladies I would love to come and meet up with you some time too. Keep up the good work. Louise x

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Working Mothers Survival Guide

Scottish Mumpreneur Network talks to Jo Scard Co Author of The Working Mothers Survival Guide. A practical, realistic, down-to-earth and entertaining guide for all working women who want to have babies but keep their careers on track too written by two working mums.

It’s true—once you have kids you’ll wonder what you used to do with your time. But while life is about to get a whole lot busier,it will never be better. 
Welcome to the Mums’ Club. Enjoy it, enjoy your children, enjoy doing all those things you haven’t done since you were a child. Don’t waste time looking over your shoulder at the next mum who appears to have it all. She is just as fallible as the rest of us.
In fact, the words ‘Supermum’ and ‘guilt’ should be banned! A supermum doesn’t exist and guilt shouldn’t.

Life is about choices and compromises and challenges, and once you have children those factors are even greater. A supermum would be one who handles all these perfectly. We all think we’ve met her—either at mothers’ group or sitting behind the boss’s desk. But trust us, she’s an illusion.

Every mum struggles, every mum has moments when she questions what on earth she’s doing and why—why the house is a wreck or the kids are screaming or your sex life is but a distant memory. Then throw into the mix the demands of a job and the logistics of childcare and you find your time stretched ever further.

We’re so worried about what other people think, particularly other mums, that we forget the only opinion that counts is our own child’s.

And we can be our own worst enemies. We all want to do everything perfectly, but sometimes we just can’t. We are way too

harsh on ourselves. We feel guilt no matter what we do—guilty because we work too hard, guilty because we don’t work, guilty because we don’t have enough time. AHHHH!

Let’s take a breath, give ourselves a break and remember the choices we make are the best ones for our circumstances.

Our dear friend and mother of four, Sharon, sums it up beautifully—‘We all have the same journey, feel the same emotions, the same fears and the same inadequacies. Some of us just take a different path to get there.’ Nor are you alone on that trek. We all have meltdowns, days we can’t manage, moments we question it all and times when we want to pack it all in and run away. That’s when we need each other. Look at the next mum as your ally in this wholeconvoluted journey. Nurture your true friends. They are on your team and you’ll appreciate them even more on those days that go completely to the dogs.

We’re all juggling and struggling and laughing and crying. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting it. Forget trying to impress, let’s just be honest.

Time is precious, so love every moment with your wonderful children, and nurture every second with your growing family, because it does get easier. You may have to make changes like relaxing on the housework and cutting back on those three course meals you were once famous for—but it will be okay.

Promise us this, you won’t forget to stop and enjoy the fairy floss once in a while—the laundry can always wait.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scottish Mumpreneur Network talks about getting your designs stocked in a shop.

Scottish Mumpreneur Network talks to Eleanor of  about getting her items stocked in retail shops.

1. Tell us about your business - what made you start it and how long has it been operating?

I worked in Thailand for several years as marketing manager for a jewellery company and during my time there I saw so many beautiful things that I knew I would buy. So I got to know the designers and producers well and tested the market by sending some items back home and through the excellent feedback I received I decided to set up Things Pretty when I returned to the UK in 2006. I have always worked full time so I started out slowly and worked market stalls at the weekends and progressed to my ebay shop. Since I had my lovely wee boy Charlie, 15 months ago and gave up work, I have really tried to pushed things forward as much as I can by setting up my website and selling to shop, I am now going to attend my first trade far in September so am very excited.

2. We see you have your designs stocked in a few shops? How did that come about?

I have an accessories range in Sam Thomas, luckily she is a good friend and she gave my products a trial run in her shop. Things have been going well over the last five months so we are launching a new range at the end of August. I also approached Mary’s Living and Giving Shop in Stockbridge because I read an article that they were interested in working with local people to promote their products. I popped in one day and asked if i could get involved and I followed it up with an e-mail and some examples of my products. Now I have a regular guest spot in the shop and a range of my brooches are displayed permanently. I also really enjoy working in the shop and giving something back to charity. Also I would say the hardest part is getting the first shop but once you have made that step it’s so much easier to grown from there.

3. Do you have any advice you would give other people about approaching shops?

It can be quiet daunting but I find the best way to look at it is from their point of view. If I was a shop owner, I would love someone to come in with an exciting new, different product, it’s great for the shop as much as it is for you. If you have a unique idea or good product then people love to know about it so just tell them. The best advice I ever read was from Mary Portas in her column in Grazia, she said she was sick of woman wasting time because they thought they were not good enough and I read it and thought, you are right what I am waiting for, just go for it and I did, seriously what’s the worst that can happen?

4. Have you had any difficult situations when approaching shops? If so how did you deal with it?

Not really, I did have a shop who didn’t contact me when I thought it was quiet a positive meeting and they seemed so keen but I later learned they had to close their shop, so always be positive.

5. Do you have any advice on how to cost designs for stocking in shops, that our readers would benefit from?

Do your research and know your market, who are your customers and what would they pay for it, ask your friends and family for advice, you can never have enough help. Today’s climate is very competitive and I feel in these uncertain times people are more careful with their money so be realistic, people are choosy but if you have a good quality product that’s a little bit unique then you are in with a good chance. It helps to be different; people also appreciate good customer service and a friendly attitude.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to approach Retailers

Scottish Mumpreneur Network speaks with Evelyn Smith of

My business is named Pollyanna Pumpkin and I sell handcrafted gift plaques for any occasion.

I started the business in August 2009 as I'd accidently fallen upon modelling clay and wondered what I could do with it!!

I ordered everything I thought I might need to create unusual gifts and then began making "test" gifts for friends and family.

These proved to be so popular that I then sourced some local Christmas Fairs and booked myself a table at 3 events.

The Christmas events proved to be massive! My stall was crowded the whole time and people couldn't get enough.

All of the products have my contact details on the reverse, and one woman had bought 3 personalised door hangers for her boss's sons.

Her boss contacted me and asked if I could visit her shop with some samples. She now has a display cabinet filled with Pollyanna Pumpkin products.

She suggested I visit another local retailer, which I did, and she too now stocks my products!

Having got a buzz from the idea of proper shops stocking my merchandise, I then made out a list of shops that I thought might be interested in stocking.

I have only got round to visiting 2 of these shops! One of which was demanding exclusive rights to the product!!

Another stockist at Braehead Shopping Centre contacted me as she too had been given one of my plaques as a gift and wanted to stock them in her unit at the shopping centre. I have been very very fortunate that my plaques have landed in the hands of retailers wishing to stock!!

My advice to anyone visiting shops with their merchandise is to be yourself. I approached the first shop dressed smartly and with a good supply of samples and a wholesale price list, and of course a friendly smile!

I asked if they might be interested in stocking and on seeing the product they did! I would advise anyone doing this to make sure you have your proposal fixed in your mind and not to be swayed. One shop owner almost bit my hand off for the plaques but she wanted exclusive stocking rights to my products and was also looking for my name to be removed and her name on back of product instead. Needless to say I walked away from that one! I wouldn't say that this was a difficult situation, but it certainly made me realise how protective of my products I am and that I wasn't going to have done all the hard work just to hand it to this retailer on a plate! You have to be 100% about what it is you are offering stockists and remember that every retailer will try to get themselves a better deal.

I would suggest that as far as costing your product is concerned, you have to work out exactly how much each item is costing you to make. I totalled the cost of each without adding on hourly rates or anything, and I then doubled that cost to make my profit. So for example if something costs you £5 to make, you would wholesale for £10. Retailing at £15/20. Retail prices can vary enormously depending on stockist and stockists location!!

If a retailer is buying in bulk then 1-10 units would be £10 each. 10-20 units £9.50 each. 20-30 units £9.00 each, and so on.

I am currently waiting for my website to go live and once that happens I will use a different approach with possible retailers. It still means I can visit with samples, but leave the web address for a wider range and also ordering facilities.

My only other piece of advice is that in order to promote your product you must work tirelessly! How on earth are the public going to know that your products exist if you don't draw them to it?Also make sure that your product is labelled with your business name and contact details.

I've learned alot along the way but I think the most important thing is to believe in what you do and have a passion for sharing it with the world!

I remember my first ever massage at a beauty salon and thinking "Why is there anyone in the world who hasn't experienced a massage?!?!" the treatment to me was so amazing that I felt everyone should be treated to a massage. I then promoted massage to everyone and anyone who would listen!!

That's the kind of advertising you are looking for!!!

Your product/service should be so amazing that anyone purchasing it will be telling the world about it!

Good luck!!