It’s so easy for Mum’s to say ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a Mum!” I know the thought went through our heads at times!
Neither of us had ‘worked’ since we had our children (over 8 years) so it was easy to convince ourselves that we had ‘Mum Brains’. To tell the truth, when we first started up 2mums Ltd both of us felt more than a little nervous re-entering the world of business. Neither of us felt 100% confident when we had to write emails to buyers in large well known companies – but that was a better option than actually having to pick up a phone and ‘talk’ to them! Besides why would they want to talk to 2 mums like us?
So you can imagine how elated and excited we were when we received an email from Boots asking to meet with us (I can remember jumping up and down and dancing around my front room like a complete nutter, whilst calling Tracy – and then she started whooping and dancing around – but she was in the street!) We were both ecstatic and walked around with a smile on our faces for days. Boots wanted to see …US!
When the day of our meeting came, we were absolutely bricking it! We sat in the massive foyer of their head office in Nottingham with sweaty palms and gurgling tummies. How on earth could we sit in a meeting with Senior Buyers from such a huge corporation and convince them that our Dribble Stop Tops were a good idea? But you know what – we did it and we did good! After all, it is easy to forget that a lot of the people who work in these big companies are also ‘just mums’, but they are ‘just mums’ who also go to work.
I think the key is to just ‘be yourself’ and that is something we always did. We have never pretended that we knew the in’s and out’s of the retail or manufacturing industry, in fact quite the opposite. If we didn’t understand what someone was talking about we would ask question after question and always found that people respected our honesty and were only too happy to help us understand this foreign world! That said we knew our product inside out. We also spent many hours on the internet researching and looking things up so we didn’t make ourselves look too foolish. We wanted to learn and have the knowledge we needed to succeed.
The thing that so many of us mums forget is that it takes many different skills to bring up our children and run a home. Organisational skills, managerial skills, budgeting skill, peace making skills, the art of persuasion … and the list goes on. We just have to remember that these skills can be used in different environments.
Luckily me and Tracy work really well together and we both recognise that we have different strengths and weaknesses. It was clear from the start that Tracy is more a people person rather than an artist and I am more creative rather than a communicator. We bounce off one another and neither of us get offended when the other ‘tweaks’ things we are working on. In fact more often than not we will email something over to the other asking for their input as it just doesn’t sound ‘right’ – but once we have both put our mark on it we can usually say ‘that sounds better!’
We still sometimes wonder how we got here and laugh about ‘winging’ it – but in all honesty, we got here through sheer hard work, passion for our product and determination. We never gave up when things got tough or when we had unexpected setbacks (and we had quite a few of those) we just put our heads down and got on with things. But then that’s what you do when you are a Mum – isn’t it?