Posted: Fri 25th Mar 2022
Sleepless nights, early mornings and days that blur into weeks are familiar experiences for people who run their own businesses – and for mothers.
Research from Enterprise Nation found two-thirds of female founders said their experience of trading over the pandemic increased their resilience, with 66 per cent expecting their business to thrive this year.
Emma Jones, founder of small business support network, Enterprise Nation, said: “Working mothers take busy to the next level. They are tenacious. They understand the notion of hard work and with a finite window of opportunity, they know they have to fill a day with multiple tasks.
“My own mother was a hard-working entrepreneur who never failed to turn up and get the job done, even though she was running her own restaurant with two young children in tow.
“These women are pioneers, they are influencing the next generation and opening doors. They show that hard work pays off and that being your own boss is achievable for everyone – and more specifically for women with children.”
Mum-of-four Laurelle Darroux, from East London, founded her beauty business Sleepgoddess over the pandemic, launching her range of ‘vegan, non-toxic products’ to aid sleep, in September 2020. Her products include pillows and ‘natural shower mists’ to induce a lovely sleepy feeling.
“I lost my job following my return to work from maternity leave and I was home with my little ones. I had always lined my babies’ hats with satin and wanted a more sustainable fabric for their sensitive skin. I went on a journey to find hemp silk because traditional silk is not a cruelty-free fabric. I designed an elasticated pillowcase based on my baby's cot bed cover in the process. My family thought it was a good business idea and encouraged me to pursue it.
“Being a struggling insomniac for many years, I thought I would concentrate on sleep accessories but for the vegan market. My products had to be ethical and cruelty-free and really help to enhance sleep. I launched my handmade pillow mists, sleep shower steamers and other accessories for quality sleep.”
She also used her time to learn about how to do business. She took part in the Amazon Small Business Accelerator with Enterprise Nation and picked up tips on how to handle her finances, structure her website, research and marketing.
She said: “My tip would be to never doubt your idea no matter how silly it may seem, learn as much as you can about your niche industry and take advantage of the many free resources out there like Enterprise Nation and YouTube tutorials.
“Also, find a mentor, find other people who are passionate about business as you are and keep hustling to keep the passion and dream going!”
‘Natural laundry product’ firm Little Beau Sheep was founded by mum-of-two Sarah Turner, in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. The idea for her woolly dryer balls came to her when she was living in a tiny flat with her two young daughters, experimenting with energy-saving plastic tumble dryer balls.
She went on to develop her own ‘sustainable range of natural products based on British wool’ which sell on Etsy, Amazon and via her own website, and learned how to structure and grow the business by learning online via tools.
Sarah said: “We were living as a family in a compact and bijou flat whilst our house was undergoing major re-structuring. As any mum will tell you, laundry plays a large part in your life when little ones are on the go. Getting said laundry dry without a garden added to the task and I was forced into using a tumble dryer. In an effort to speed things up, I invested in off-the-shelf plastic dryer balls. Besides being unbearably noisy, they broke and just added to the world’s unwanted plastic problem. As an avid ‘felter’ I put my skills to work making a softer natural alternative using wool – and Little Beau Sheep was born.”
Former finance manager at Asda, Hanna Dilley came up with the idea of her frozen toddler food firm Benji’s Bites when she was rearing one herself.
Mum-of-two, Hanna, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said: “When I was going through the sleep deprived newborn stage with my second son, I didn't have the time or energy to cook my toddler a healthy meal every day. So, I started batch cooking and freezing, but in a "Benji's Bites" way.
“Each product is frozen separately in small 30g cubes so that parents can choose both the meal combination and portion size.”
The award-winning firm delivers frozen cubes of goodness that busy parents can mix and match to suit their schedules and gently expand their child’s taste buds.