The term “Mumpreneur” seems to be one that’s cropping up everywhere these days – and I am hardly surprised. I know so many women in their thirties and older, who’ve begun their professional lives in one industry, started a family, and subsequently realised they needed to find a new level of self-fulfilment.
When I was working as a banker in the city, I always thought I had two options: the stay-at-home mum who gives up her career, or the working mum trying to juggle family life on top of a 50-plus-hour week. In fear of losing a great position and also the lack of optionality to do my job part-time, I chose the latter and had to resort to hiring three different nannies so that we had round-the-clock staff. While I was busy trading, taking long-haul business trips and hosting events for clients, they got to watch my little babies grow up.
It was a very challenging time for all my family, and I cannot say that the big deals and financial rewards made me happy. As each year went by I missed more and more time bonding with the kids, and was constantly switching between the mother figure and the banker. After choosing this path, I was sure that backing out of it would be perceived as weakness. At the time it all seemed very black and white – stick to your career or become a full-time mum and housekeeper. Both options were somewhat terrifying!
But who says it has to be black and white? Women are always searching for a path that’ll shape their future, and starting a business often seems the perfect solution. Soon I realised that whilst I was stuck pondering what I thought were my only two options, many of my female friends found ways to put their skillset to use and started their own companies. Figuring out how to turn your hobby into a career is really the ideal way to balance an inherent drive towards success while still being a hands-on mum.
Daria Simanovich – an ex-broker, old colleague of mine and now a mum of three – started Chelsea Swim Spa three years ago.
It’s a fantastic place where parents and babies can take private classes in a heated hydropool kept at a temperature of 33°C or above.
Off the back of this she launched another business – Chelsea Creperie on Fulham Road. The space has become a favourite joint for local mums and kids. As well as sweet and savoury gluten-free crepes, they do healthy salads, home made gelato, Artisan coffee, wine, as well as birthday parties and cooking masterclasses.
Like many mums, Daria has become her own boss. She arranges her day around her work and family life, however she sees fit. And unlike working for a top brokerage firm, she bypasses issues like the gender pay gap and the competition involved with advancing to board level positions. She is in charge of her own strategy, she can shape her business in any way she likes, and having that autocracy to create and develop your own way benefits her mood, daily wellbeing and therefore her job as a mother.
Another friend of mine, Julia Fulton, who once worked for a top asset management firm, created her own unique party and catering brand, www.foodsy.co.uk in 2010.
Later, when she was refurbishing her house, she was inspired to create another company, www.design-savvy.co.uk. They provide a wide range of high-quality, made-to-measure fitted furniture designs. She has two daughters, both at primary school.
Another friend, Maria Zherebtsova, also an ex-banker, now makes exquisite hats at www.hatsbymaria.com . She always had a unique style and creative mind that also understood the business side of life.
When I finally figured out that I could still follow my passions and see my kids grow up, I began getting satisfaction out of everything. My work with Style’n’Snitch, the time I get to spend with my family, it’s given me a new lease of life and I feel more inspired now than when I started out in finance some 14 years ago.
Knowing that my project has a purpose makes it all easier – it feels great knowing that I can help young designers from CIS countries gain the exposure and marketing resources that wouldn’t normally be available to them.
Here at Style’n’snitch we hope to tell the story behind these incredible pieces, introduce our readers to labels they may never have heard of, and spread awareness of the unique fashion coming out of these richly diverse countries.