New South Wales
We’re delighted that North Shore Mums is a finalist in the Local Business Awards for Specialised Business, but we’re not alone! We decided to take this opportunity to introduce you to some amazing local mums running their own businesses, who are also in the running for a prize. Find out more about us, and two other nominees we are profiling for the awards!
Who are you? Rachel Chappell
What’s your company? North Shore Mums
Why did you start the business? When my family moved from the Northern Beaches to Wahroonga in 2012, I had a toddler and a baby, lot of questions to ask and not many local friends. I wanted to find out things like what playgroups were on, best local playgrounds with coffee nearby, fabulous doctors for kids and ideas of things to do at the weekend. At the time, there was nothing online that connected local mums, so I decided to create a Facebook group. The quick growth of the online community indicated a big gap in the market for a more structured resource to provide the information people wanted – local services, event listings, jobs and inspiration about how to get the most out of the North Shore. Before children I worked as a Marketing Manager in women’s magazines, and had some online experience – so I decided to launch the website which is the ‘business’ aspect of North Shore Mums.
What’s been your biggest challenge? Knowing when and how to scale the business. In the early days I ran the website by myself – sourced all the articles, wrote all the event listings, weekly newsletter, liasied with advertisers plus handled the marketing, social media, accounting, business management and website development. It was chaotic! There was so much more potential, but I was limited by the hours that I could do myself. When I started to outsource some of these jobs, I was able to spend more time on growing the business that working in it. I now have three amazing North Shore Mums who work for me – they are all really experienced, hard-working and enthusiastic local mums – who also love the flexibility of working the hours they want around their families. Bringing in people to work on my ‘baby’ was scary and a big ‘next step’, but the best thing I’ve done!
What do you love about running your business? I love the flexibility it provides to work the hours I want around my children. It means I don’t need to ask my employer for time off to attend kindy concerts or school assemblies. I still have dedicated child-free days that I work, but also fit in other pieces during the day when my baby naps and at night. I also don’t waste time traveling to and from work everyday, which is another bonus.
How do you balance work and family? This is something I’m continually working on. I find it very difficult to separate the two – particularly when my office is in the middle of the house and I pass my desk throughout the day! Even when I’m out and about at the weekend exploring new places, I’m always thinking about how we could incorporate it into an article for the website or posting photos on Instagram. North Shore Mums has completely taken over my life (but in a good way).
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? Go for it! Obviously do your research and ensure there is a gap or need in the market for the product or service that you’re looking to sell. Also surround yourself with other like-minded business mums who will support you and can offer advice for your new business journey. There are lots of great local business networking groups that can be invaluable for support, business contacts and customers.
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? North Shore Mums has completely transformed the way local mums connect, source local services and find out what’s happening locally. As well as making information so much for accessible to mums, many local businesses have really benefited by having a new cost-effective advertising medium that helps them reach their target demographic.
Who are you? Di Shepherd
What’s your company? ibelieve Fitness
Why did you start the business? To reduce the stress of a high corporate job and allow me time to focus on me and my hubby and our dream to one day have a family. I wanted to help other women reduce stress and feel great about themselves, remove the stigma associated with intimidating gym environments and instead provide outdoor group fitness options with an exceptional level of client service where participants felt supported.
What’s been your biggest challenge? Letting go and delegating, bringing on board other staff members to help me run the business more efficiently so I could concentrate on family.
What do you love about running your business? Helping other women empower themselves to become fitter, stronger, healthier and happier.
How do you balance work and family? Currently my bub is just a newborn, so I have found good reliable staff to keep my business going while I concentrate on family and establishing routine.
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? Just take that first step and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take risks, learn from mistakes and keep going. Take the challenge and delegate early so you can grow your business.
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? We bring our community together in a nurtured healthy like-minded community. I have strived to build my business over the last 3 years into an exceptional level of customer service that delivers a unique supportive outdoor fitness service for other wonderful mums. I love what I do and strive for excellence in every way!
Who are you? Helen Wootton
What’s your company? Delight Homewares
Why did you start the business? I fell in love with making candles when I made some for myself, as a bit of a hobby, when I was pregnant. My friends and colleagues loved them too and asked if I could make some for them and continued to get more and more requests. After I had Riley I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him to go back to work so started Delight Homewares and the journey of working from home.
What’s been your biggest challenge? The biggest challenge for me has been getting my name out there and letting people know about Delight, which is why I feel networking is so important. Nearly all my business has been from meeting people and from word of mouth. Time is also a huge challenge being a Mum to a three year old with lots of activities going on, so time constraints make it difficult to get much done – especially marketing.
What do you love about running your business? I love the making, the creativity and the gorgeous fragrances I’m surrounded by. With all the testing I do I’m always burning candles and what’s not to love about that. I love the fact I can work from home with my husband and still spend so much time with my son. I love working with my fantastic customers and having such a great relationship with them.
How do you balance work and family? It can be a challenge but we try to have specific days that are for work and specific days that I spend with Riley. Weekends are family days (mostly!). On work days I focus completely on my business and try and get as much as possible done. On the other days I try not to work and if urgent things come up then we seem to manage and find that evenings are always a good time to get things done.
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? Go for it. Make sure it’s a business that you are completely passionate about and it’s something you love doing as you will need to put in long and odd hours to make it a success. Your passion will also come across and make things much easier for you
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? Well I was nominated and became a finalist for a reason and I hope that reason is that my customers love my products, love what I stand for and for my customer service (which I pride myself on). I would hope that I won because my customers thought I deserved to. Without my customers I wouldn’t have my business and be so fortunate to be able to do what I love and spend so much time with my son.
The winners will be announced at the prestigious Local Business Awards Gala Presentation Evening attended by local business people, sponsors and dignitaries on Wednesday 9 November. We’ll be sure to keep you updated!