Motherhood is a life changing event and I can speak from experience. Whilst you get to celebrate and bond with the new little person in your life, you naturally undergo a startling change and it’s so easy to lose sight of yourself. As a high achiever, I struggled with the notion of having very little to show for my day during my maternity leave, other than both mother and baby managing to survive! This is a common feeling for a lot of new mothers, but goes part way to explain what it is that kick drives us mums into exploring what we want out of life and what we could be doing differently. The birth of the mummy entrepreneur is becoming a phenomenon, as we take control of our lives and find better, more inventive ways to balance family and our passions.
Through my writing, I’ve met so many great Jersey mums doing just this, so thought I’d share with you three of the best:
Being left ‘holding the baby’ is Kiley Henley-Thomas’s speciality! Rather than searching for her identity after becoming a mum, Kiley revelled in motherhood so much so that she spawned her own business from it. As someone new to Jersey, she saw an opportunity to improve the journey she had been on, offering others support, advice and recommendations that time or resources may sometimes restrict. After having had her own two children Kiley resisted the urge for a third, instead indulging her love for all things baby in the children of others and her venture, Mama Matters.
Mama Matters baby concierge was born as a way to take the worry out of pregnancy for expectant mothers and letting them enjoy this precious time. As part of her services, Kiley offers customised pre-packed maternity bags, gender reveal parties, nursery design, pamper packages and thank you cards. In fact, there isn’t much baby related that Kiley isn’t an expert on!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Mama Matters service caters only to the elite and uber rich. But actually there are many levels on which Kiley operates, that would benefit us all in some way. From practical advice on which pram would best work for a Jersey terrain, to locating that perfect baby mobile that you just cant seem to find. Kiley’s contacts and experience make her best placed to offer advice and guidance on everything from styling, events to more practical concerns at prices that would work for any expectant mother.
Mama Matters celebrated its first year anniversary this year, with Kiley keen to explore many more ways in which the business can grow and help others. Giving back to those who may have suffered a loss of a child, Kiley is now actively involved with local charity Phillip’s Footprints, an experience which she hopes will feed into her growing business.
With decor to die for (check out her party planning) and an expert knowledge of the baby business, Kiley really is Jersey's modern day Mary Poppins!
Find out how Kiley could help you on the Mama Matters website.
Catherine is on a mission to make parents’ lives easier. Through having children of her own and being a foster mum and nanny, Catherine saw a gap in the market for a safe playpen that could be easily transported whilst holding a child. From this idea the SleepSpace Travel Cot was born and launched Catherine into the world of product design with her business BabyHub.
The big business of babies has been a hard struggle for Catherine, but one which is now paying off as she celebrates sales that extend to the Middle East, Germany and the UK. Having appeared on BBC programme Be Your Own Boss, This Morning Live and Netmums Catherine has amounted a good following for her innovative baby products. She even made it down to the last 20 out of 10,000 hopeful businesses on Richard Branson’s Voom: Pitch to Rich.
“Our aim is to become one of the international market leaders for baby products,” Catherine explains, as she looks to take on an assistant to share her knowledge of the business and take it to the next level.
As well as pushing on with her design work, Catherine also shares the knowledge she has learnt along the way, whether it be practical design experience or advice for those venturing into new markets. Through her blog, she charts the highs and lows of BabyHub’s journey, a story that is certainly worth following for any local budding entrepreneurs.
Explore her range of products through the BabyHub website here.
I fully sympathise with Vicky O'Neil, who understands that being a full time mum can feel at times isolating and lonely. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a place where these mums could meet to explore themselves for a short period of time, where they could be more than just mums? Collaborating with local entrepreneurs, Vicky decided to embark on a project to create a series of workshops helping mums to reconnect with the world around them.
The Mum Space classes range from felting to pampering sessions, learning new skills or simply how to get that perfect blow dry. The emphasis is not on the skills to be learnt, but more on establishing that free space where you can rebuild your confidence. It's a community that will allow you to meet other mums and for some like Vicky, elleviates the fear of settling back into working life once more. "I just wanted somewhere where mums could get a break from the kids and come away with a positive feeling inside," Vicky explains.
Mums Space is a concept that has taken off well in the UK, creating a new bred of go-getting mothers and of course supporting the rise of the 'insta-mum'. As well as exploring the next important step in many women's lives, Vicky also uses the platform to support and showcase local female entrepreneurs, demonstrating that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Her experience of living in London opened her up to events like Baby cinema, which she will be looking to recreate at the Jersey Arts Centre next year. This allows new mums to bring their young babies along to watch the latest releases in a baby friendly environment.
Whilst Vicky's focus has been on new mums looking for an outlet, she is accepting of all mums that come along to her event, no matter how old their children are!
To find out more about Mum Space and their next workshop check out their Facebook page here.