From mum to Mumpreneur…where it all began for North Shore Mums

Ever wondered about the story behind North Shore Mums? We’re thrilled that the Founder of North Shore Mums, Rachel Chappell, has been selected as a Finalist in this year’s AusMumpreneur Awards – in the ‘Business Excellence‘ and the People’s Choice ‘Influencer‘ category. We wanted to take this opportunity to share her entry into the awards so you can find out how it all started… 

Please spare a minute to vote for Rachel to WIN the Influencer Award at the AusMumpreneur. This is the second round of voting, so if you voted her to get to this stage, thank you – but she needs another vote from you in this round too! 

Tell us about yourself & your business 

I’m a mum to three girls (aged 7, 5 and 2), live on Sydney’s North Shore – and run the North Shore Mums website and Facebook community. The website has been going for almost four years now, and shows strong growth every year – now attracting over 100,000 monthly visitors. The website provides all the information a parent might want – lots of local event listings (What’s On), trusted local businesses (Directory), family-friendly jobs (Job Board), as well as inspiring articles. We also have a very active Facebook community of 25,000 members, which is used for advice, recommendations and support.

What inspired you to start North Shore Mums?


Article in North Shore Times, August 2012

We had just moved to Wahroonga from Dee Why, I had a toddler and a 6-month-old baby, and didn’t know any local mums. I wanted to get recommendations for doctors, childcare centres and playgroups, I wanted to know the best playgrounds (near coffee!), I wanted to find out about local events and I also just wanted to make some new friends! I couldn’t find reliable information from Google, so on a whim created the Facebook group. The quick growth of the online community indicated a real need for a more structured resource for local mums. With a background in magazines and marketing (and not wanting to return to the corporate world!), I thought I’d try creating a website to complement the group. I’m so grateful that lots of local businesses have supported the website by advertising, which has made it a viable business model!

What do you love about being a mumpreneur?

I love the flexibility of working the hours that suit me, around the activities, classes, play-dates and appointments for my family. It’s also really empowering to know you have created something from scratch – identified a gap in the market and turned it into a successful business.

What has been your greatest challenge & how have you addressed this?

Managing an active online community has lots of challenges! As we go through our parenting journey, we all make different decisions for our family, based on our own values, needs and circumstances. Whilst the majority of our members are respectful, it doesn’t take long for one thoughtless comment to quickly escalate. We have a zero tolerance on any kind of bullying or ‘mummy shaming’, and will remove comments and members for attacking others. We have to make some tough decisions sometimes, and unfortunately we can never please all 25,000 members. So coping with criticism and personal attacks is always really tough, and the admin team have had to develop a thick skin and try not to take it personally. Things can run smoothly for months, and then WHAM!… out of nowhere a crazy situation arises. But honestly, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a wonderful community 99% of the time.

What have been your greatest achievement in the past 12 months?

Rachel Chappell & Chris Michaels

Rachel Chappell & Chris Michaels before their performance at Stars of the North 2017

I love giving back to the community, so was honoured to be invited to participate in this year’s Stars of the North for Cancer Council NSW. I took a step out of my comfort zone as a business owner and mum, to learn to dance with a professional – which culminated in a performance in front of hundreds of people at a gala event in June. It was an incredible experience, and I personally raised $18,000 for Cancer Council along the way.

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

I wish I knew more about the intricacies of setting up a small business to get it right from the beginning – such as the best accounting software, insurances required, legal protection and employment legislation. The growth of North Shore Mums has been very organic, and I’ve adapted as the business has evolved, but it would have been invaluable to take on the services of a small business advisor from the beginning.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business for the first time?

Before you get started, you really need to identify whether there is a gap in the market for the product or service you’re looking to sell, and then put together a comprehensive business plan to work out whether it can be a profitable business. It really helps if you’re passionate about what you do, as you’ll be intrinsically motivated to succeed and you won’t actually feel like you’re working!

Why do you believe you should win this award?

North Shore Mums has fundamentally transformed the way local mums connect on Sydney’s North Shore. There was a huge gap in the market for information and support for local mums, and North Shore Mums has filled that need. The website provides local mums with everything they need to navigate their way through the parenting journey. I’d like to think that many local mums plan their weekends and school holidays based on our What’s On section, find their nannies, cleaners and plumbers from the Directory and are inspired to visit new local destinations from our articles!

Our niche market also provides local businesses with a cost-effective advertising platform for reaching local mums. We get so many lovely emails and testimonials from people who are just so grateful that they can see a real influx of new customers after promoting their business through the NSM website.

I’m also really proud that North Shore Mums is providing flexible, family-friendly job roles to other local mums (the fab website team), so they can earn an income by working from home. As a mum myself, I know how hard it is to find a role that you can fit around the demands of a young family, so I’m really glad we can now offer that.

If I win this award, it’s not just for me… it’s for all North Shore Mums! It’s for the website team, the incredible volunteers who moderate the Facebook group and the 25,000 amazing women who make up the North Shore Mums community.

Please spare a minute to vote for Rachel to WIN the Influencer Award at the AusMumpreneur. This is the second round of voting, so if you voted her to get to this stage, thank you – but she needs another vote from you in this round too! 

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