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!
With the Easter weekend upon us, it seemed appropriate to share the story of Rhiannon Abbott. Not only a mum (of a 2 year old and another one due imminently!) but also the owner of two successful businesses, The Epsom Bakehouse and The Purple Loaf which came about from her love of baking and meant a big career change of her previous life working on government policies!
In case you're looking for some baking inspiration this weekend, why not try out Rhiannon's gorgeous recipe for Hot Cross Buns.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
The Epsom Bakehouse came about following a big period of change in my working life. Following many organisational re-structures, I decided to leave a career in local government policy in 2012. I wanted to try something truly different, and signed up for a Bread Angels course. There, I not only learnt more about baking bread but also how to set up my own bakery from home. I established The Epsom Bakehouse in early 2013 and built a loyal following selling delicious fresh bread at the Epsom Farmers Market.
Today, I pass on my skills through a range of breadmaking courses. I teach hands-on techniques as well as the importance of fresh bread made from simple ingredients. I started the classes because I really enjoy teaching, and I meet a diverse range of students. There’s a wow moment when a loaf of bread they’ve baked themselves comes out of the oven, it’s fantastic.
Having a strong social media presence has always been a key part of marketing my business. Without a physical shop-front, and not knowing many people in Epsom when I started out, getting online was a way to interact with potential customers and showcase my expertise. I quickly became passionate about the many business benefits I could see from building a wide online network, and could often be found passing on social media tips to my fellow Bread Angels. It seemed a natural step to establish my second business, Purple Loaf, training small and start-up food businesses to use social media effectively to promote themselves.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
Through my brilliant choir, I’ve sung onstage with some very famous faces including Robert Plant, Pete Townshend and Barbra Streisand (not all at once, though - that would be interesting concert!)
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
My first reaction to this was to think ‘I’m not sure how good a job I’m doing, what shall I say?’, so that would be a tip: I don’t think anyone has this truly sorted! Comparisonitis can be very unhelpful, so don’t beat yourself up if it feels like you’re not getting the balance right and that everyone else has it down pat.
Planning is my main way of keeping on top of things. I block out time for work, put alerts in my phone in advance so as not to forget things (not always failsafe!) and make a lot of lists. Having a child has also made me more efficient with the time I do have available to get things done.
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Do what feels right for you, and to take each day as it comes. Before I had my first, I wondered why people were so keen to offer help once baby had arrived. I realised why after! Ask for, and accept, any help needed, and certainly don’t worry if all you do in a day is keep yourself and baby comfortable – that’s all that matters at the start.
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?
A deep aubergine purple – it’s even inspired the look and branding of my new business. It’s a colour I feel confident and comfortable in, and I think it appeals to my love of cosy winter nights in too!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
We’re just getting started on baking, but I think that will be a popular one. Otherwise, any chance to get out and about exploring and seeing friends – we have some lovely spots to visit here in Surrey.
What do you like to do for some me-time?
If I have time, it’s to sing with my choir or anything else music-related. Otherwise, reading a good book, doing crafts or even getting the occasional massage are good times to just switch off for a bit.
Thanks Rhiannon for sharing your story - such an inspiration to take the plunge and completely change your career but what a success it's been - not only a busy mum but managing two businesses as well. I know, I would have always wondered "what if" had I not made my career change too!
Here are the links you need to know about Rhiannon and her businesses and if you're in Surrey definitely take a look at her baking courses!
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here