#mumpreneurstories is a series of interviews by mumpreneurs who share their journey to inspire and encourage others mums to live their dream. There is a lot we can learn from each other :) #mumpreneursquad
1. Tell us a bit about your families.
We are Lucy & Jemma, friends and colleagues for over 10 years. Jemma lives in Hertfordshire with husband Tom and together they have two children, William, 6, and Molly, 2. Lucy lives in Surrey with her husband, Tim, and Leo, 4.
2. Fill us in how you came up with the idea of creating your own brand?
It’s a bit of a cliché but we literally had a water cooler moment in the office. We work part-time in Finance for the UK’s most loved department store, we absolutely love the brand but we’d always felt like something was missing from our lives and harbored dreams of doing something creative. It was by chance that we were discussing the experience of how hard it was to find unisex neutrals for our babies when on maternity leave - everything had been so very pink, blue or cutesy. We recognized there was a gap in the market on that day and it was like a light-bulb moment. We looked to Scandinavia, the masters of minimalistic design, for inspiration, and started planning. The very next week we’d decided upon our first product, Lucy had designed our logo and the brand was born! It’s been quite a whirlwind ever since.
3. What is the role of each of you at Molly & Moo?
The business side of things is still very new to us, so we don’t have clearly defined roles as such – in general when things come up we just see who has spare capacity at that time! Due to logistics and our individual skills though, there are certain tasks that fall naturally to each of us…Jemma fulfills all of our website and wholesale orders from her home (and has it down to a fine art!). She is super-organised so manages all of our finances and stock. Lucy is our in-house photographer, copywriter and branding expert, having run her own photography business for several years before starting Molly & Moo. It comes in handy for both product design and marketing content. We manage our website updates, suppliers and social media between us, taking it in turns to post content on Instagram – this works because we have different ideas and it keeps our feed fresh.
4. Most mums start their business on their own. You have the privilege to do it with a friend. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages to start a business with a partner?
Having business partner means you have a mix of skills, a permanent sounding board, someone to share the workload with and a kindred spirit with which to share your Brand’s successes like no-other. We honestly can’t think of any disadvantages! For us, Molly & Moo simply wouldn’t be possible without one another because we also have part-time jobs and mummy duties to fulfill. If you’re considering a business partner, it’s vital to find someone on the same wavelength because teaming up with the wrong person would do more damage than good! Luckily we were friends for almost 10 years before starting Molly & Moo so we were pretty sure that we’d make a good partnership from the word go.
5. We have seen on your website that you have quite a few mentioning in the press. How did that happen? Did they contact you or did you contact them proactively? Do you work with a PR agency?
At the beginning we trawled through every single baby magazine on the market to find the relevant contacts, and emailed them frequently with press releases about our new products. We were quite persistent which paid of because we have made a few really great contacts at well-known titles such as Gurgle, Absolutely Mama and Baby London and they have given us great editorial coverage! At the end of 2016, we took on a PR agency to support us, because it was becoming very time consuming and hard to juggle alongside running Molly & Moo, working part-time and being mummies and wives!
6. When starting the business which areas caused the biggest investment in terms of time and finance?
Stock, stock and stock! Finding the right suppliers at the right price and with the right ethics was an incredibly lengthy process. We actually had a couple of false starts and ended up switching suppliers as a result, all of which added unnecessary delays and stress. And of course, financially the cost of stock is the single biggest investment for us. At the moment every single pound we take is being churned back into repeat orders or additions to the range. It’s frustrating because our heads are so full of ideas for new products but we are slaves to our cash flow!
7. You have previous experience in the retail industry, do you think it is mandatory to start a small shop?
No, not at all! All you need is a clear vision and a whole dose of passion and self-belief. It helps if you have relevant skills that you can draw upon, but even that is not necessary nowadays because you can source all kinds of things on websites such as Fivver.
8. Your products are sold at various stockists. How did you create these partnerships?
Initially, we were the ones contacted by retailers interested in stocking our products but now that we have more products in our range we are able to pursue wholesale much more actively. Instagram has been a great platform to find and engage with wholesalers that are a good fit for us and we have recently started reaching out to them. We’re excited about growing that side of the business through 2017 because we see it as absolutely key to unlocking the potential of our brand.
9. Being a mum and an entrepreneur what are you biggest struggles beside time management?
Switching off…there is always something to do and because we’re both so passionate about the brand it would be all too easy to spend all weekend working. We have to make a real effort to ensure that we switch off and are ‘present’ with our families at the weekends.
10. Thank you so much for your insights! Is there anything else you would like to share with us? ;-)
To any budding mumprenuers out there we’d say to make 2017 the year to do something for yourself and take the plunge to start your own business. It’s so inspiring to see so many new brands coming through at the moment and there is a place for everyone. It’s hard work but so very rewarding. For us the year ahead is all about building up brand awareness and wholesale…we’re so excited about what the future holds for Molly & Moo!