“Hi my name is Gemma! After 10 years of working in marketing for brand such as Disney and Mars, my son Leonardo was born. I decided I would like to find a way to work flexibly around my son. Late nights and early morning meetings weren’t working well with family life for me.”
I started developing and scoping work during my maternity-leave and finally left my job in 2014, launching allbymama.com.
Allbymama is a marketplace and community of Mamas all working flexibly around family life, passionate about helping mums to pursue their ambitions after having children, without the stress of childcare or set working hours. Flexible working is at the heart of our business. All the products we feature at allbymama.com are made / designed or innovated by a parent who is running the business around looking after their children. We offer our Mamas a place to sell their products and a support network of other like-minded mums.
We’ve just had our first birthday and the business is going from strength to strength with a community of 200 Mamas and a strong customer base. We are about to start pitching for our second round of investment and I’m due our second baby very soon, so I’m really living the flexible working ethos to the max!
We’ve won some great awards since launch including the Jacqueline Gold WOW award, runner up for the best start up in the Mum and Working Awards, Nominated for Best Family Brand and Best Online Retailer in Loved By Parents awards, Mumpreneur Top 100 Award and Winner of Pantene #Shinestrong awards in the business category. This award included a £5,000 grant and the chance to meet Lady Karren Brady at the House of Lords to discuss her advice for growing the business. We’ve also been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Prima Baby, Mother & Baby, Simply Homemade Magazine, Crafts Beautiful, Mummy Pages, Homemaker and My Weekly to name a few
What inspired you to start All By Mama?
Becoming a mum to my first son, Leonardo. It totally changed my world and gave me the inspiration, idea, courage and motivation to start my business. When Leonardo was born my priorities shifted. I didn’t lose my ambition or desire to have a successful career but I did want to do things on my own terms so I could have the flexibility I wanted. I’ve always wanted to start a business and maternity leave was kind of a natural opportunity. I just needed an idea and some space to think and it came to me during many sleepless nights!
Being in business with your own mother, how has that helped with being a mum yourself and also with running your business?
It’s great being in business together. My mum started her first business when I was 18 months and although her children have all flown the nest now we are both very much aligned on the vision for the brand and the motivation behind it. We have carefully defined responsibilities and it’s great when it comes to the day to day running of the business as she is often around and working during the day when I am juggling work with childcare and I am always at my computer of an evening, so we pretty much have 24 hours a day covered! We also have the advantage of being able to have a very honest relationship.
As a mother with a young family and a business how do you manage your family and work life? What are your top tips
Finding a way to balance running a business with family life is such a personal thing and it’s hard! For me it’s mainly about prioritisation, making sure all the important things are covered for my son and for my business by the end of every day, everything else has to wait – I soon realised I couldn’t do everything. I already get way less sleep than I need! So my top tip is simply remember your own personal motivations and set your own standards, don’t look at what others have set for themselves and assume it will work for you. And don’t give yourself a hard time when it’s not perfect.
What do you look for when it comes to finding products for All By Mama?
We are very much in our infancy as a business and learning as we go. We’re learning about our customers every day and what they want to see and we’re therefore learning more and more about what products work on our site. Primarily, we are about supporting mums to run a business flexibly around family life and we often work with our Mamas and make product suggestions. As with any online sales platform, product photography is key. We look mainly to work with Mamas that align to our ethos and who want to become a part of a supportive community of likeminded mums.
What benefits are there for starting a business as a mum?
I’m not sure how different it would have been starting a business before I was a mum, I guess I might have had more time! Most importantly for me, it certainly adds a layer of perspective and it’s easy to remember what’s important at the end of each day. I’m very focused on our vision and keep that in mind at all times as I know I only have a certain amount of time to get something done in a day so no time is wasted. The support networks for ‘mumpreneurs’ are incredible too and met some great, supportive people with similar ambitions, starting a business around family life.
Where does All By Mama go from here?
We’ve got big plans for the future! We’ve had a great start to our second year and we are just about to start raising investment to help us grow. We’re improving the networking and community side of the business and working on some brand and consumer research. Ultimately our vision is to be the leading global community and marketplace that supports mums who run a creative business flexibly around family life.