Do you dream of being a mumpreneur? With the number of mumpreneurs in the UK firmly on the rise – with more than 800,000 women and mothers throughout the country now running their own business venture either part-time of full-time from home – starting a business as a mum is no longer just a pipe dream but something that is attainable for many of us. Today, I’m handing over the floor over to Lisa from what2buy4kids who is currently living the mumpreneur dream to share her story.
Hi– I’m Lisa, a full- time working mum. I’m wife to Jeremy and I have 3 children. Chris, my son, is my eldest child, Emma came along two years later and Katie is the baby of the family. I live in a small village in the heart of Cheshire. I now run my own business, what2buy4kids, which is an online toyshop selling good quality toys and gifts for kids from birth to 12 years.
Before I had my kids, I was a primary school and early years teacher. I loved being a teacher, helping the children learn new things and watching them develop. I truly believed that I would continue with this career until I retired!
So why the change in career?
I changed career, because I was frustrated at the amount of paperwork that teachers had to do, and felt it was taking away the enjoyment of teaching.
So once my kids were school age, I put on my thinking cap, wondering what I could do as an alternative to teaching. I needed to fill in the gap and extra time that had now been created since Katie had started school. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and I also wanted to use my knowledge and expertise as a teacher (as well as a mum), so what better than setting up a website selling fun and educational toys and gifts for kids.
So 7 years ago my new baby, what2buy4kids, was created – I do treat my business just like a new born baby.
I nurture it and look after it
…just like I would a new baby. I began the business from my dining room at home, I created an office, and brought all the new stock into my home. In the early days, there was just me, and I did just about everything, from buying in new stock to picking and packing the orders. I even took an active role in the design and development of my website.
Each year my business grew and grew
…with family and friends helping out, where they could, especially at the busiest times, such as Christmas. Last year, my business had grown so big, that we were bulging at the seams. There was stock in almost every corner of the house, so I had no alternative but to move.
This was a challenge in itself
After months of searching and failing to find just the right property to meet all of my needs, I decided to take on an almost derelict warehouse, and to build offices within it. This meant I could design my new office space and warehouse, just as I wanted to. The 4 month building programme began and after many long days, weekends and evenings, we were ready to move in.
August bank holiday last year was the ideal moving date, so as you can imagine it was all systems go. We had just 3 days to move and we did it all ourselves. No removal/relocation company, just the hire of a van and many hands, which definitely did make light work. We also had to make sure that there was no disruption to customers or their orders. .After a full-on weekend, we were once again open for business and ready to trade on the Tuesday!
We are now based in the centre of Warrington, and I have a fabulous team working with me. They care about my business as much as I do, and that’s why it’s such a great success. One customer recently summed us up beautifully as “the company that cares”, which is so true!
My business wouldn’t be where it is today
…without hard work, passion and a dedicated team. It’s not been all plane sailing though, but you have to take the good with the bad, and keep on persevering even when the going gets tough.
My top tip for working mums
….is to do something you enjoy and are passionate about – then it really won’t ever seem like you are actually working!!! That way you’ll see your work more as a hobby. Also believe in yourself, convince yourself that you will succeed. Also try to challenge yourself each day by taking on something new and exciting.
Did you find Sally’s story inspiring? Are you thinking of becoming a mumpreneur? Do share your thoughts in a comment below.