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's interview is with the lovely Steph Douglas from Don't Buy Her Flowers. She is mum to 3 children (Buster is 7, Mabel is 5 and Frank is 4 months) and lives in St Margarets, between Richmond and Twickenham. Steph shares her story and tells us why it's ok to pull up the drawbridge when you have a baby plus how the inspiration came for her business after receiving so many flowers after Buster was born!
She describes Don't Buy Her Flowers as "a thoughtful gift company. Started in 2014 as gifts for new mums, it’s evolved to also include gifts for many different occasions, from bereavement to birthdays. The central idea is that the gifts offer some TLC to the recipient and encourage them to have a bit of time for themselves."
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I worked in Brand and Marketing on big national campaigns and then when I had Buster, my first baby, I was inundated with flowers and had the idea for the business because it was really clear to me that new mums need looking after. I returned to work, had another baby, returned to work again but felt less excited by my job at the same time as not being able to shake the idea for Don’t Buy Her Flowers, and also struggling to see how the future would work when the kids were in school with me working in town. I started a blog first, to see if I could and to see if women identified with how I found motherhood and life as a grown up. That went really well and gave me the confidence to quit my job and start Don’t Buy Her Flowers.
It kind of all came together rather than any one driving force. Owning a business is flexible, but I’ve never worked harder so it doesn’t give you more time but at least it’s down to me to manage and I’m doing something that excites me every day. I ran the business from home for the first two years and then it got too big, so we took on space in Gloucestershire and have been building a team lead by my brother who is Head of Operations.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I am completely irrational when hungry and just an awful person to be around. I suffer badly from hanger!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
- Don’t try to do everything you did before and run a business on top. You’ve got to let go of some things, find a better balance with your partner if possible, accept that your social life may have to slide for a while… it’s all short term but that first 1-2 years is hardcore and you’ll burn out really quickly if you don’t look after yourself.
- Don’t waste energy looking at what other people are doing. Social media is a brilliant tool for small businesses but it can make you feel inadequate or like you’re not moving fast enough. Everyone’s circumstances are different and most importantly YOU are different, so stay focused. All the businesses that I put in my business plan as potential competitors when we launched have folded, and a load more have sprung up. There’s nothing you can do about what other people are doing so use that energy to drive you forward and to be the best instead.
- Work out what success looks like for you. I’ve met plenty of people that have said ‘oh I work every weekend and we haven’t had a holiday in three years’. My business was meant to allow me to spend time with my family and sometimes, when I’m feeling the pressure to develop a new idea or attend an event, I need to stop and remember that.
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Pull up the drawbridge. You don’t have to get out and about, or bounce back. Take it easy, nap at every opportunity, accept help, eat the cake and get to know your baby and new family set up. It will all come back but having a baby is a big deal and a big adjustment and it’s ok to hole up. I wrote about it in this blog post
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?
Green. I was told that it suited me and then for a while everything I bought was green, but I don’t think I have anything in the wardrobe at the moment so will rectify that!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
Something outdoors – a walk that involves stuff to climb and ideally some sunshine and hot chocolate.
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Just being on my own is a bit of a treat at the moment as Frank is only four months old, and as I’m still feeding him, I can’t go far without him! I do love a spa treatment too, especially a facial. I always fall asleep.
Steph, you are an inspiration! Setting up and running a fab business (with 3 young children) that recognises we all need a bit of TLC is something I hold closely with Halia Rose too - mums need to look and feel good as well as baby!
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here