Mum, career, business. Many of us make some pretty big decisions regarding our careers when we decide to have a family. But often these decisions can be the best things we ever do. Westender have spoken to 3 different Mumtrepeneurs, finding out how motherhood actually launched new careers.
By Tracy Mukherjee
Being from Glasgow it never occurred to me that Bounce and Rhyme should be available in different languages. Because not all baby attendees will have English spoken at home. Did you know that coffee is supposed to be drunk hot? For many women out there the last time they had hot coffee was the same time they didn’t return from the school run to their stone-cold toast. And as for decorating your little one’s bedroom, blue, pink, or yellow? Exhaustion doesn’t help the creative process. However, Westender present Mums who bucked these trends, instead deciding to use their experiences to embark on new business ventures.
The Language Hub Partick
Growing up Bilingual in Germany had a profound effect on Michele. She felt different. Not wanting her own children to have the same bilingual experiences, she started to look into options for her children to meet others with similar family situations. What she found was, well, not much! Jump forward 12 years and you’ll find the Language Hub in Partick. With her background in Language teaching, Michele and her partner Andrea now have their own dedicated premises. This incorporates a café, multilingual lending library and event/exhibition space.
What’s very important to the Language Hub is having activities and classes from the very young up to adult language classes. Says Michelle ‘With regard to language acquisition, we know that the earlier you start, the more your brain benefits from it and can create a basis for future learning.’
Activities for All
As such there are pre-school activities including multi-lingual bounce and rhyme. ‘It enables parents/carers to create new networks, it allows those with interests in language to share these with their children and it gives families that have other home languages the opportunity to immerse in these outside their home in a safe environment.’
There are also activities for school age children, including language classes, story reading sessions, arts, and crafts activities. School holiday activities are available for primary aged children and art workshops for young people.
With a café serving hot and cold food, home bakes and hot drinks, this sounds like the kind of language learning for my family! She adds ‘See it more as a journey of new experiences, a chance for meeting new people and learning wonderous and fascinating things about different countries and cultures.’
‘If you communicate with a person in a mutual language, you speak to their mind. If you communicate with someone in their own language, you speak to their heart!’
Stephanie McLeish and Lesley Collins
The Mum Club
The Mum Club is a monthly brunch event held in Oran Mor, Byres Rd. It is organised by childhood friends Stephanie and Lesley who had gone on to work together on another venture. In 2022 the team launched The Mum Club Franchise here in Scotland. Lesley explains,
‘Stephanie and I have known each other since school. Stephanie moved to Jersey and attended the Mum Club there as a way for her to meet people. Afterwards she immediately called me and said we need to start this in Scotland.’ Lesley previously ran networking events so was excited by the new venture: a regular club for mums to get together, chat, support each other, laugh.
That need to connect with other new mums, feeling isolated when at home with a new baby is something Lesley is only too familiar with. ‘I had my youngest in lockdown and it’s a very different experience from having my first. Having a baby in lockdown was a driving force to start this because it was so isolating. There is an instant trust when a mum meets another mum, something that says these are my people. Numbers get exchanged after the events; friendships get built.’
But aren’t there enough groups for mums and babies – Baby Gymboree, Bounce and Rhyme?
It’s About Mums
Lesley says ‘So many mums have their babies but that doesn’t mean all of their best mates have babies at the same time, can chat over coffee, get together etc.’ She goes on. ‘The group is about mums. Bring your baby if you want to (there are babysitters on hand), but it’s 2 hours of you time. There are many mums that would feel too shy at Gymoree or Bounce and Rhyme to organise a coffee date with some mums after.’
So, what happens at a Mums Club Brunch? ‘The format is very chilled’ says Lesley. ‘We already have your order for brunch when you got in touch. Some mums come as a group, some come solo, and we know who and will introduce people to have a chat if they are on their own. We partner with different brands so everyone has a goody bag to take away with e.g., dummies, teethers and nappies.’ What’s more Lesley tells me, there’s a free Mums Club Bag to put them all in!
And a final work from Stephanie ‘Creating monthly events where we watch women who are connected by the shared experience of motherhood become friends is pretty special.’
If you needed any further enticement, you’ll get to enjoy uninterrupted coffee…hot!
Daisy and Dragon
Daisy and Dragon is the brainchild of former au pair, designer, artist and all round Super mum Kirsten Kane. Kirsten has a background in theatre set design and her idea all started whilst working as a nanny in Monaco.
Kirsten says ‘Daisy and Dragon started as a hobby when I lived in the South of France. I was working as a nanny for a few families as well as working for a children’s birthday party company in Monaco. For the parties we would create whole worlds which would then end up in the bin at the end of the day. I wanted to create a longer lasting effect by bringing the same ideas into children’s bedroom design.’
After moving back from France, the pandemic hit. ‘My husband lost all his income, and our daughter was 6 months old. I decided to make her a tepee and paint a mural in her bedroom. Word spread about my tepees, and I was making them for friends and family so I started a website and rebranded the company. Once lockdown lifted, I was also able to paint some murals as well.’
Kirsten’s mural work is a child’s dream and is exactly what she describes from that time in France – a whole world created in their bedroom. ‘Having trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I learned how to paint murals. I have now designed and painted multiple murals. When a client approaches me, we talk through their vision, and I ask for a photo of the room. I then photoshop some different options for them. My murals are normally completed in a day and are then enjoyed for years to come!’
The surrounding wall – done, but what about soft furnishings? Kirsten’s tepees are bespoke and beautifully crafted. You are unlikely to get your little one to sleep in their beds ever again!
Kirsten says ‘I designed my tepees to stand out from the crowd – I created the pattern from scratch and developed my unique bow ties which I haven’t seen in other shops. I chose some patterned fabrics that I loved as well as some plain coloured cotton… and invested in an embroidery machine so I could personalise the tepees as well.’ With the room being ever so chic, what does a mum do with messy toys? ‘My toy boxes were designed by me with children in mind. I created a lift off lid so fingers can’t get hurt and a removable and washable cushion – we all know how messy toddlers can be! I can then paint on the boxes whatever the client would like – it’s a blank canvas for me.’
Murals, tepees, toyboxes and the small matter of being a mum. That surely should be enough? Not so says Kirsten. ‘When my daughter got a bit older, I wanted to take her to a toddler arts and crafts class, but I couldn’t find one – so I made my own! I have been doing my classes for over a year now.’ Kirsten has just moved into her own venue to hold her classes and design her products.
‘It is my idea of the perfect children’s playroom,’ says Kirsten ‘a beautiful Montessori style space…where children’s imaginations and creativity can grow and flourish. My classes are my favourite time of my week, and my own daughter comes with my husband every week as well.’ Count us in!
The Mum Club – follow link to Glasgow events
# mum career business
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