Mummy Looks Fab is a small Shoreham based business selling breastfeeding and maternity clothes on the internet. Run by mum of two, Sam Mackley, since 2006 the website offers good quality clothes from known designers with longevity and quality in mind.
After quietly running my business from the peace and safety of my work-from-home office for as long as I can remember, I recently got invited to London to meet one of the designers we have been using for 7 years. To say I don’t get out much would be an understatement……
The main misconception people have about my life is that I spend all day wafting around, trying on clothes and doing glamourous “shopping” trips for stock. The truth is I haven’t been on an in-person buying trip since 2011. With so much of the choosing being possible via samples and on the internet, over the years it has become easier and more cost effective (and frankly less stressful) to do it all from behind a screen. I certainly don’t have to worry about how my hair looks before I start an e-mail convo with a supplier about next season’s collection.
On that basis, earlier this year when a long standing cyber-relationship finally spilled in to real life, I panicked.
I have been buying clothes from Singaporean designer Annee Matthew since 2006. She was over in England doing a whistle stop tour of all of her wholesalers and she suggested we meet in London for a brunch. I planned my outfit, and pulled together a draft buying plan for 2014 – I even bought new shoes - but I was still too nervous for words….Who would have thought a simple bit of eggs on toast could inspire such trepidation…. I felt so out of my depth about having a “proper” business meeting with someone I had sort of known for so long, and despite all my careful preparation, I arrived at the restaurant out of puff, sweaty and stressed.
Annie was waiting patiently for me with her business partner, and from the first hesitant rain-soaked-handshake-that-turned-in-to-a-cuddle it was obvious that I really didn’t need to worry. We talked about our kids, we talked about fitting it all in, we talked about how difficult the retail climate is, social media, the competition, postal services, restaurants, raw food, London, school work and partners, and it turns out that life for a Singaporean mother of two running her own web-based business is pretty similar to life for a Sussex based mum of two running her own web-based business. Via a series of apparently meandering subjects we also managed to thoroughly discuss our businesses.
It was a lovely meeting and we both left it hoping it wouldn’t be another 7 years before we get to do it again. Aside from being productive and enjoyable, the main thing I took away was a re-energised attitude towards these opportunities. I had wasted so much time worrying about it, that I had lost sight of the principal joy of mumpreneurship.
The things we already have in common far outweigh our differences, and that makes doing business as a mumpreneur not only a pleasure, but also a very straight forward process.
I’ve recently signed up for three more out-of-my-usual-comfort zone events through the MNC and I am looking forward to starting some conversations with new people safe in the knowledge there is a good chance we already secretly know each other’s lives very well.
To celebrate finally meeting after seven long years of working together, myself and Annie would like to offer our customers 30% off certain items in the new season range.
Please see www.mummylooksfab.co.uk for further details.