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Don't buy her flowers...

Please tell us a bit about the nature of your business...

We sell thoughtful gift packages, for new mums, get well, bereavement, birthdays and any occasion when someone deserves some TLC in the post. All of our packages have options and add ons so they can be tailored to make them perfect for the recipient, and they are beautifully get wrapped with a handwritten tag.

What inspired you to start your business?

When I had my first baby eight years ago, I received eight beautiful bouquets. They were well-meant but I was exhausted and overwhelmed and it struck me as bizarre that at a time when I was doing more caring than I'd ever done in my life, I was being given another thing to care for. From that point, if a friend had a baby I'd send something that was for them and let them know it was going to be ok, and they were always so grateful that it seemed odd no-one was doing something like this. The core idea was something that offered TLC, and encouraged the recipient to take ten minutes for themselves. We started as gifts for new mums and since then have evolved to cover every and any occasion, but the core idea remains the same - that it's all about the recipient.

What was the most challenging aspect of building your business in the beginning?

I think just getting started. Starting a business is huge - the list of things to 'do' before you can start, from working out couriers and packaging to getting an alcohol licence to ordering products, building a website, and all this before you even find your customers - it all felt massive. I wrote lists and tried to stay focused on one thing at a time. It was the only way to feel like I was moving towards launching without feeling in a frenzy of overwhelm.

If you were to launch your business again, would you do anything differently?

Do you know, I don't think I would. We started the business from home and I did everything myself, right through from ordering products and packing to marketing, which was hard work but meant the overheads were low and also I knew the business inside out. We now have a team and everyone has more defined roles, but I needed to prove the concept and bring some money in before I could invest in more people.

What keeps you motivated?

The feedback we get is motivating - often it's emotional because our packages are all around offering thoughtfulness. When someone knows that someone is thinking of them - whether they've just had a baby or they're having a shitty week - they know they're loved. It's a massive privilege to be a part of those exchanges of care every day, and it is motivating for us because it's where the core idea came from and how we wanted people to feel. It also hugely helps that we've doubled year on year since launch. That growth really drives me on as it means we're getting it right, and also that we can try new things and involve more people, which is exciting.

How do you balance work and family life?

Ha! Well, I'm a bit better at it than I used to be. Sometimes I strike the balance and sometimes I don't, and I'm more accepting of that. Those first two years were particularly hard because I ran the business from home so couldn't escape it. Packages were still leaving us at the weekend, plus the physicality of having it in the house was tricky with two small children. I also didn't have anyone I could pass work on to at that point. BUT we survived it and now we have a warehouse and a team so operationally, the business runs without me, which was crucial when I had another baby last year. At the moment I'm trying to fit work in to three days when everyone is in school and childcare and that's challenging, which can mean work creeps in to nap times, weekends and evenings, but I'm not willing to put Frank in nursery for more days at the moment so it's a choice, which I know I am lucky to have. Running a business also gives me flexibility to be at drop offs and school plays without having to ask anyone's permission. I've never worked harder in my life than running a business, but it is on my terms. I think the important thing is to remember that you are in charge. I'm never going to be 'done' as there is always more to do when you're running a business, so you have to be able to stop and say 'enough'.

What’s your proudest business moment?

I think when we moved the business to a warehouse in Gloucestershire in 2016. That was a huge change and has allowed us to grow and become 'proper'. Building a team is also pretty mega.

What’s been your most successful form of marketing and/ or brand awareness?

For us it's a combination of social media, PR, networking and Facebook ads. They all contribute. The big spikes tend to come when someone with a big following talks about us - not because they're being paid to, but because they've genuinely sent or received one of our packages and they get the sentiment. When Sarah Turner AKA The Unmumsy Mum posted about us on Facebook when we were still pretty new, it went absolutely nuts. Her audience are bang on our target, so they got what we do.