Creative mums

Yes Mums in business. Bimble Shoes

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I did mention before that ever since I joined the mad, but wonderfully colourful blogging world, shortly after sinking myself into this deep motherhoody pool, I started to notice the variety of mums’ flourishing businesses and creative projects. Most of them are just an honest hope for more flexible and quality hours around the tiny humans. Others are being fuelled by a desire to succeed in becoming a real role model for a future generation. No matter the motivation, I often stumble upon unbelievably bonny and genius treats using artisanal clever skills, online visionary wisdom, creative cooking, baking, painting, blogging, writing, printing, drawing, innovative upcycling, beauty enhancing etc call it as you wish, these mums seem fearless despite limited or, sometimes, even inexistent financial resources.

I recently found myself browsing a website called Bimble with a beautiful mumpreneurial story behind. Founded by sisters Bethany and Osyth, Bimble is a family business that sets out to liberate little feet, giving tiny toes the freedom to move uninhibited, as nature intended. We take this very seriously because we know that every foot is different and needs room to wiggle, in order to grow up healthy and take its owner to great places.

I haven’t met them in person, yet as I wanted to find out more about all behind the scenes work, motherhood and how’s creating a fabulous product, here it goes…

Motherhood is a game changer. Was this the main reason behind pursuing a career you’ve creatively developed on your own?

Osyth – In a word, yes. When we were growing up our parents chose to start their own business (as shoemakers) so that they could not only do something creative but spend more time with us as children. Bethany and some of the older siblings (there are seven of us!) were even home-schooled for a while and so for us that model of parenting was familiar, and although taking the leap from employed to self-employed creative entrepreneur will always be scary, we’d seen it work first hand and we knew it was the childhood and motherhood experience that we wanted for our families.

How does a regular day for you both look like?

Osyth – Our days are quite structured – I think they have to be when you have two toddlers and work from home. I usually get up with my kids between 5 & 6am, my husband and I like to take our time getting them breakfasted and dressed for the day, as it’s one of the few times of day that we get to spend together, enjoying a leisurely coffee. After a quick stint at the gym around 8 I’m ready to start the day. I usually spend either the morning or the afternoon with the kids – swimming, crafting or going to groups or playdates. The other part of the day I spend working, I’m lucky to have a little office at the back of the house that I can retreat to, my oasis of calm away from the chaos of the two little mischief makers, and a childminder who comes to ours so I’m never far away from them, which is great. Every evening I have dinner with the family and then when our daughters are in bed I get back to work for an evening stint. I handle the creative and social side of the business, so I spend a lot of time talking to suppliers, managing our brand and creative marketing material, product testing and developing, as well as running our social media channels. Photography is a big part of my day, I’m always snapping my kids for social media, and I’m addicted to my iPhone and VSCO!

Bethany – I try to work a pretty standard 9-5 day at the moment; for the last four months my husband has been a stay at home dad, allowing me to focus on launching the business. I have been very lucky, I am working from home most of the time so I can eat meals with the family and  I can be there for my daughter if she is sick or needs me for any reason, and I always make time for bedtime so I can have some nice cuddles and quiet time with her at the end of the day.

But this is likely to change, we are expecting our second child in December and my husband will be going back to work soon so I imagine working life will be a bit more chaotic with work fitting in around naps and bedtimes – just muddling through as a lot of people do! As I am focussed on the commercial side of the business I do need space to make phone calls and attend business meetings so we may need to introduce a small amount of childcare or nursery into the normal week. The rest of the time I am getting pretty adept at typing emails with a toddler on my knee!

The balance between being your own ‘boss’ and a good mum must have a lot to do with a healthy time management and a bit of discipline. Could you briefly share your own key tips on improving the efficiency of a busy mum’s daily schedule?

Osyth – Spreadsheets, lists and shiny cupboards! We have both been project managers so we love a spreadsheet and we organise ourselves too with daily lists. But a little thing that has genuinely revolutionised my personal and family organisation have been the shiny whiteboard-esque cupboards in my kitchen. With a whiteboard marker I write up our family calendar, a separate chart for my work schedule and another for our shopping lists & weekly meal plan. And then I have my sister checking in on me every day too so that’s a big help!

Today so many of us may experience periods of low confidence when motherhood kicks in, especially when a career change is also involved. What would you advise mothers to do in order to overcome this and pursue their dreams like you have successfully done?

Osyth – Surround yourself with positivity – people who love you telling you that you can do it. For us, being sisters and best friends has been ideal for that. Whenever one of us has a wobble the other one is there with encouragement and positivity. Also – ask for help! From your partner, your friends, even professionals. We invested in some mentoring, which not only gave us an insight into the unknown world of launching a retail business but gave us the confidence we needed to start down the road and make a solid plan of how to achieve our goals.

What would you advise the new ‘mumpreneurs’ to keep in mind in the early days of growing a business?

Bethany – Trust your instincts. It’s easy to doubt yourself and feel pressured into making decisions or doing things that don’t feel right, but often our biggest mistakes have been things we felt weren’t right at the time but we didn’t listen to our instincts.

Also mistakes are inevitable, don’t let them put you off, just learn the lessons and move on.

Finally we’d say invest in your network. Whether it’s local mums, social media, business networking groups or formal mentoring, our network has been absolutely invaluable in getting us access to the skills, services and collaborations which have not only made this journey rewarding from a business perspective, but also a lot of fun!

Which are the 3 ‘I got this from my mama’ lessons you’d like your tiny human to learn from you and proudly use later in their adult lives?

Osyth – Our mum is a bit of a saint, having raised seven kids and run a busy house whilst being a mumboss and managing her own business with our Dad. And she was pregnant most of the time! I can count on one hand the number of times I remember her raising her voice and since becoming a mother of two I’ve just started to realise what a big deal that is. I would like my daughters to learn that patience and a good sense of equilibrium can go a long way to both achieving what you want and keeping your friends along the way. Our Mum is also one of the strongest women I know, and I want my daughters to grow up with that same can-do attitude, to let nothing hold them back, and to not be afraid to break the norms. Our parents spent their lives doing just that. One of their crazier acts was to sell their house in the early 80s to live a nomadic hippy life out of the back of a landrover, travelling across Europe with 5 small children for a few years. Then when they returned to the UK they chose to start a shoemaking business with no prior knowledge of shoemaking – building a name and reputation for themselves through hard work and commitment. So in a nutshell – be patient, don’t be afraid to break the norm and anything is possible!

Your favourite quote

Bethany – When my daughter was tiny I found the adage “This too shall pass” very helpful. When things were tough it reminded me that it would get better, but in a bittersweet way it also made me pause to savour the beautiful moments in our lives as the old cliche is true: they grow up so fast!

Finally, what has motherhood been teaching you and what are your favourite motherhood perks?

Bethany – It has taught me that I have a lot still to learn! On the one hand becoming a mother can be very empowering. There are times I am surprised at how capable and efficient I have become, when there are limited hours in the day and you have a tiny human relying on you to keep them alive you can sometimes be capable of superhuman feats! But also – a lot of the time – I am completely clueless and making it all up as I go along, learning how to be a parent, often getting it wrong but somehow muddling through.

My (French) husband is teaching our daughter to speak French so I am also learning as she does, reading her storybooks and listening to nursery rhymes in the hope of improving my very basic GCSE French.

The best perk of motherhood has to be the cuddles. That unconditional love from a tiny person who thinks you are the centre of their world, and never holds back their love and affection is the absolute best!

Osyth – Agreed! What other job requires the best cuddle you’ve ever had whilst at work?!!! You can’t beat it.

For updates and a splash of colour, follow Bimble shoes on Instagram.

Aly