Fabulous Mum: Bree from Little Chomps October 16 2015

We have all heard of Mumpreneur's, those amazing creatures that due to modern technology, social media and let's face it...women's creativity and our ability to multi task, have recently appeared. 

You might be one, you might know one, or you may dream of being one. The thought of having your own business, being your own boss and fitting work around your family is VERY appealing. The truth is, it is very hard work and a constant juggling act. Not many Mumpreneur's become millionaire's but most have very high job satisfaction. At Flat Out Mum, we always try to support these types of businesses first. 

One of these amazing women is Bree, who has created Little Chomp's feeding smocks. I have tried many of these products in my time with four very messy eaters and I promise Little Chomps are the best! They are NOT made of plastic (I won't tell you Bree's secret ingredients!) so they are durable, machine washable and have secure buttons to keep them properly in place! 

This week, Bree share's her thoughts on starting her own business and gives some excellent advice to Flat Out Mum's thinking of doing the same thing.

How did you get the idea to start Little Chomps?

When my daughter started solids we were blown away by the mess she made. We tried a few products on the market but they either didn't cover her clothes properly, were too expensive and/or weren't waterproof or wipeable. We saw an unmet need and decided to take the plunge! 

What do you find is the most difficult challenge of being a working Mum? 

Definitely balancing all the competing needs of family, marriage, friends, extended family and the business. Having kids in my mid-thirties, I found it really difficult to switch off my work brain. I really enjoy working, coming up with ideas, researching and learning. I also enjoy working at home, being in the house with the kids rather than rushing out the door each morning to an office. But on the flip-side, like many other mums in business and working from home have said before me, it's difficult to separate work and home life, to switch off and relax, and to recognise when you humanly can't do it all. My husband often threatens to confiscate the iPad and to turn off the wifi? It's hard to know when to stop when you're so emotionally invested and don't have standard work hours.

Your tip for Mums on how to juggle returning to work….

Juggle is the right word. I think you have to accept that you can't get the balance right 100% of the time. Some days it all works well and you feel fulfilled in every way and other days you feel as though you've fallen short of your responsibilities to your family, business or both. I'd also say it's important to take care of yourself (of course I'm hopeless at following any of this advice).

Your tip for Mums who have an idea & want to start a business...

- Research the market extensively first.

- Trial your product/idea with a sizeable group from your market.

- Educate yourself. I attended a series of free ecommerce workshops run by VECCI and funded by the government. These workshops were invaluable! 

- I outsourced a lot of design/branding work to freelancers on sites like 99designs.com and fiver.com. On a skeleton start-up budget, this was the best option.

- Join or form a group of women also 'going it alone'. I was lucky enough to have a brilliant group of four ladies to 'chew the fat' with. They were so reassuring and a wealth of information always.

- And finally, marry well. I don't underestimate the importance of a supportive partner. On top of sharing the parenting and household responsibilities, working on your own can be lonely. I share and seek his advice often, and I'm not sure I would have had the nerve to take the plunge if it wasn't for his support.

Your best time saving tip is…

Keep a notebook handy. Mine lives on the kitchen bench so I can jot down ideas and return to them later when my hands are less full. Also, I try to categorise my to do list into three categories so that I can have realistic expectations of what's achievable in a day. 

1. Must do

2. Ought to do

3. Would like to do.

Then, if I only achieve the couple of things on my 'Must do' list, I can relax (that's the theory anyway).

Also, if you can manage it, get a cleaner! I don't know what I'd do without the help.

The best thing a friend has done for you since having kids is…

I was lucky enough to have a really great Mothers Group. I found it so helpful to vent and compare horror stories when the going got tough, and of course to share in the joys as well. These girls, my existing girlfriends, and of course the grandparents, have all been supportive through this parenting and business journey. I'm a lucky girl.

Your favourite every day wardrobe essential is…

Jeans. I basically wear jeans every day. It takes so much time and effort to negotiate my kids into their clothes, I put much less effort into getting myself ready in the morning. And, forget about accessorising!

Your favourite flat shoes and why…

Heels? What are heels? I'm in Converse most days. My 3yr old daughter asked me to wear a pair of heels from my wardrobe the other day and I had to say "no sorry sweetie, mummy only wears heels at night time".

Thanks so much to Bree for sharing her wisdom! 

Find out more about Little Chomps here.