March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today we interview Gemma Whates, the founder of ALL by MAMA (the world’s first marketplace for mums in business). She lives in Surbiton and juggles her business with being a mum of two young boys.
**Don't forget Mother's Day is this weekend and TODAY is the last day for orders with ALL by MAMA for guaranteed delivery before the weekend so check out their gorgeous site (including our Halia Rose jewellery!) so you don't miss out on the perfect gift for mum (or yourself!)
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
Hi, I’m Gemma, founder of ALL by MAMA, Mama to two boys Leonardo and Cassius and wife to Tino. I launched ALL by MAMA when Leonardo had just turned two after a year of developing the business around my ‘real’ job in retail marketing. I first had the idea for ALL by MAMA when I visited a township in South Africa to volunteer, way before I had my own children. I stayed for three weeks and helped to look after children while their parents went to work to make gifts for the shops in Cape Town. I was so inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit even when faced with such difficult circumstances that I started to think about how I could support these Mothers when I was back home in London. A couple of years then passed, and I started a family of my own. My eldest son is a mummy’s boy and it was quite quickly clear to me that leaving him to work long hours would not be the best option for us as a family. I thought back to the idea I had and began creating something to support entrepreneurial mums in the UK. It was kind of a lifestyle choice for me, so I could work more flexible around my son (now sons) and an opportunity to follow the dream I had a few years previous. I hope one day we can broaden out to support mums from all around the world.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
My first business venture was in the adult entertainment industry!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
- Go with the flow. There will be good weeks and there will be bad weeks, try to look at the bigger picture. Some weeks it's more motherhood and some weeks it’s more business and that’s fine.
- Remind yourself of your motivations when times get tough.
- Plan your week ahead on a Sunday, to try and avoid any last minute panics – be as organised as possible!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Follow your instincts. There is SO MUCH advice out there from literally everyone, my advice (ironically) is to pay no attention to any of it and follow your instincts. Every child is different, and every mother is different – do what works for you.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
I don’t really have a favourite colour but I do wear a lot of pink – it brightens the room.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
I LOVE to go on mini day trips with my two boys, exploring somewhere new and getting them out and about, seeing the world.
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I love to meet up with my NCT friends, a group of special girls I met when I had Leonardo who helped me through those early days of motherhood. We are all so different and life takes us in different directions but when we meet there is no judgement and we can all be totally honest and at ease with each other. It really clears my mind.
Thanks Gemma for sharing your story and tips with us - how you have created a beautiful marketplace with lots of gorgeous mum-run independent brands is so inspiring!
I find it amazing how so many of us have ideas and then one day, they become reality - yes it's hard work and the journey can be tough (especially if you also have young children!) but we can do amazing things when we put our mind to it!
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here