They say that friends and family and business don’t mix. But if you can get the basics right, it can be very successful…even with young children.
Isobel Thompson, 48, shares how she’s managed to get everyone from her husband to her teenage son, and her eight-year-old twin daughters involved in her business.
Relationship status: Married
Job title: Founder
Company: Morrck (www.morrck.co.uk)
What work did you do before you set up your company?
I spent 25 years in HR working for companies including the NHS and BHS. My last role was as a department head for Tescos.
How did you fund the business?
Savings to start with.
Profit in first year
None – we re-invested to the profits to move the business to the next level.
What was the motivating factor for staring your own business?
My twins â€“ I was so I disappointed with the utter impracticality of so many baby products, I decided to do better, and so invented the Baby Hoodie, a hooded travel wrap designed to fit into any car seat or buggy.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
There’s a new challenge every day. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t learn something.
Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
There are so many highs. Customers saying that our products are the best baby product they’ve ever bought – it’s really satisfying to hear positive feedback when we launch a new product or fabric design. I don’t really do lows, but the key challenges have been sourcing suppliers who can provide the goods and services we need.
How have you managed to stay on top of your career with the demands of motherhood while running a business?
I’m lucky that my husband is involved full time with the business and is hugely supportive. Between us we juggle it all.
How has running your business impacted on your relationship with your partner and children?
I think it’s made us stronger as a family and has given the kids a different idea about working. It’s given them the opportunity to find out what it takes to run a business, and has allowed them to get involved in all sorts of aspects from customer service to fulfilment â€“ there are not many eight year olds who can say they’ve got that sort of experience!
Any tips for expectant mums, or mothers who feel that you can’t have a successful career and a happy family life at the same time?
I always get people to ask themselves three questions:
1. Work out what you will have to sacrifice in order to start and maintain the business and ask yourself if you’re prepared to do this?
2. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to be successful (within legal and moral guidelines of course)?
3. If you won the lottery would you do it anyway? If you can answer â€œyesâ€ to the above, then you have a chance, because that’s the passion that’s required.