17 November 2016

Essex Mama Interview

Hi Liz and thank you so much for taking time out to answer some questions on parenting for Bad Mum.

Firstly, WOW! You are conquering the world my lovely and keep doing what you are doing! Your Girl Gang Tee’s are super cute! What made you decide to start Essex Mama and where did The Girl Gang Tee’s idea come from?

Ah, thank you so much! *blushes!* I started Essex Mama because of the very first Girl Gang tee I made. I wanted a top that said Girl Gang on it (don’t ask me why, I just did. Ha Ha!) I have always been a creative type & had a craft machine at home that allowed me to create the print so I went ahead and made one out of an old tee. One selfie later, and the messages started coming from friends, friends of friends etc who wanted to order one. So at the end of May, I cobbled together a website in totally clueless fashion & Essex Mama was born.

Do you think it is important for people to know you are not just a business women but a Mum also? 

Absolutely, to be honest it is one of the biggest parts of my brand. I couldn’t return to work after the birth of my son, Henry 3 years old, due to the inflexibility of my role and employer. I was itching to do something vaguely creative that used the minimal brain power left in my exhausted mind. So this was born by accident, it was never my intention to set-up a t-shirt business and I certainly feel like I am learning as I go – very much like mothering a now toddler! I am not perfect, nor is my business but being a Mum has certainly taught me to fret less about the stuff I can’t affect!

We all know there is no spare time these days so how do you find time to juggle being a parent and starting up your own business?

In short, I don’t. It’s not easy, I don’t think any Mum who starts a business would say it was easy. Regardless of how many children you have, you suddenly have one more. I don’t believe I juggle it particularly well but I work incredibly hard to make it work. I hate letting people down, I suffer anxiety and guilt all the time – the combo of Mum-guilt Vs Customer Guilt is powerful! So, if that means I work all night to get orders made so that I can spend the day with my child, then that’s what I frequently do! Thank fuck for concealer & caffeine right?!!

I see that you have worked with the lovely The Mother Hub and also Mother of Daughters, do you feel it’s important for us Mum’s to stick together?

When I had Henry I was part of a varied NCT group, they were essential to my survival in those crazed early days/years! I didn’t realise how much we needed one another, how much our sanity relied on it!!
As time went by our lives moved apart, they all went back to work and I didn’t, despite wanting to so badly! It was a lonely time, PND (Post Natal Depression) reared its ugly head and I realised then just how much you need the support of other mums.
You may have zero in common, be from the opposite sides of life but you’ve both popped a sproglet into the world who is suddenly the most fascinating, demanding and baffling thing you’ve ever laid eyes on!

Being a parent can be tough, we all experience the highs and lows but the lows are rarely spoken about on social media, such as Instagram. At Bad Mum I want this taboo subject to be spoken about more freely as we are all human. Do you feel it is important as a Mum to talk about the bad days as well as the good? 

Absolutely, as someone who experienced PND quite late on (Henry was 10 months old – I thought I just been put on the wrong contraceptive pill!) I was so ashamed. It hadn’t occurred to me that the way I was feeling wasn’t my fault & was completely normal. It was scary, lonely & put a lot of strain on everything. How I wish I had known it was OK, had been able to view other Mums putting their shitty days out there on social media to see it was normal. It’s ok to have a crapper than crap day covered in someone else stinky crap, tomorrow is another day. Celebrate every tiny victory – even if that’s just the fact YOU have clean knickers on by lunch time! Woop!

What advice would you give to any parents sitting at home reading this that really want to start something new but not sure where to begin?

Try. Don’t look back. DO NOT COMPARE – it’s totally mind rotting to compare yourself to others. Someone once said (I can’t remember who, sorry I can’t credit!) ‘Stay in your own lane’.
Do it for you, go with your gut and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

I have seen on Instagram a growing community of parents and a strong sisterhood of us Mum’s conquering the world (or at least giving it a good go!) How important is Instagram to you and your business?

Vital. It’s through Instagram that I found the courage and strength of support from other Mum’s to take the plunge & just try. An incredibly good friend, KellySeymour founder of Cult Of Youth, said to me ‘Babe just try, you’ve kept a baby alive so what could be harder’.
I talk to women on Instagram that I have never met, but yet discuss problems and projects with daily. It’s like a modern age pen pal system! Plus, if ever you need to a bit of sanity the Sisterhood is right there – be it business or parenting woes!
It’s also an advertising platform and sounding board for my products. For seeking customer feedback and connection with my customers/potential customers so that they get to know the person behind the brand which I think is so important within the small business community. I am not a corporate giant. I am me, and this is my brand. So it’s essential.

From all your experience and what you have learnt along the way being a parent, what words of wisdom can you give to our readers?

Don’t wear white during your little one’s poonami style tummy bug (that ain’t pretty!)
It will be ok, don’t give yourself any unnecessary pressures just deal with the task in hand – even if that’s sitting on the sofa trapped under your babe all day! Download the iphone remote app!!!

Lastly, everyone must leave us with a parenting confession that you have never told to anyone before! We all do what we need to do in order to survive the roller-coaster of parenting and sharing will help other parents talk about all the ways we get through the day.
Go and do a shot then write it down!

I once ran out of wipes, forgot about it then went for a long walk. A volcanic nappy eruption consequently ensued & all I had was a magazine, a muslin & some anti-bac hand gel. It was not pretty. Nuff said.

Thank you so much for your time and talking to me. I wish you all the luck for the future and continued success.

Please take a look at the Bloody Truthful Mama section above to see Essex Mama profile for more contact details.


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