This Start-Up Story comes from Helen, founder of a clothing brand called Mini & Me; aimed at Mums AND their little ones.
Tell me a little about you and your family, what your business is, and the inspiration behind getting started…
My name is Helen and I live with my 3 wonderful boys, in the fabulous city of Leeds. When I was younger I always dreamed of running my own business (not really understanding how much work it really is!) The opportunity didn’t really present itself until I had been through my first pregnancy.
I worked in advertising during my pregnancy, which consisted of long hours, client meetings, many a brief written. I wanted to look ‘together’ attending meetings, and not dress fully in stretch or a ditsy pattern. I also had (have) very little time in the mornings and wanted some ‘go to’ items that were timeless and would work with my non-maternity wardrobe. Unfortunately I was made redundant from my job, so after I had my first baby I decided to start planning my business.
How did you make the leap from idea on paper to reality with your business idea?
I discussed the idea with a few close friends who where also pregnant, and because it wasn’t an industry I was familiar with I used good old google to help me! I did contact a few factories myself but there is so much more to it so I hooked up with a production company who guided me through the process.
How did you get your first sale or client?
My first sale for Mini & Me came from a friend! I suppose friends and family will always support you and it seemed like the perfect opportunity, plus most of my friends where pregnant at the time.
What ‘lucky breaks’ or helping hands have you had along the way that have really boosted your progress?
During the first few months of launching the collection I was at home with a toddler and a new born baby (looking back probably not the best time to start a business…) and struggling to find ‘inspiration’. I stumbled across a group of women who ran an ‘alternative’ networking group – during the evening and at a bar. All of them ran their own businesses and it was so refreshing to see that everyone goes through the same ups and downs. I have been lucky enough to meet photographers, fashion stylists, coaches etc who have helped me elevate my brand, given me confidence and become friends.
What do you LOVE about your business and working for yourself?
I only have to answer to me (I have never enjoyed being ‘told’ what to do…). I get to make all the decisions, which sometimes can be hard but as the business evolves becomes easier.
I love the flexibility it gives me around my young family and how it has helped me to grow. I love the creativity and exposure to loads of different things I would not get in a ‘normal’ job.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve had to do since setting up on your own?
Learn to be me!
I have never been a natural ‘sales’ person, and quite shy so when it comes to shouting about by business and how brilliant it is – can be quite scary. The fear of people not liking what you do, appear stupid or even failure. I have however learnt to become more resilient.
Who is your support network that you simply couldn’t manage without?
My close friends who understand me outside of my business. Who have grown with me during my twenties and had a laugh and then through the early days of motherhood when we have mostly likely had a laugh and a cry!
What exciting plans do you have for your business over the next 6-12 months that you’d like to share?
I have thought quite a lot about the future of my brand, I have loved developing a collection that is quite personal to me and reflects my style and as I start to move away from maternity I am focusing on where I am now. Dressing for days out with my boys and dressing them!
Mini and Me was always about mama and their mini(s) and I want to steer it in that direction. The clothing will always be designed with motherhood in mind, but less of a maternity focus.
On your own start-up adventure?
I’m Lucy. I’m a Business Coach helping women who work for themselves to create beautiful businesses that make a positive impact on the world – sharing their skills, talents and creativity in a way that feels good AND makes great money, too.
Drop me a message if you’d like a free 30-min clarity call to get a handle on how you can grow your own ideas into a purposeful, profitable business that both FEELS good and DOES good: