We’re finding it so fascinating, hearing about how mums are turning their lives around and starting their own business’ from home.
Whether it’s creating and selling something that will help others, to running workshops or making things like jewellery, toys and furniture; it’s so interesting finding out that it’s possible to create a thriving business while raising a family.
We’ve learnt so much from our series interviewing mumpreneurs, so far. From how to get funding, to how to balance it all and how to deal with the niggly thing called mum guilt.
This week we’re interviewing the lovely Aly from Rainy Day Box, a person who created a craft box for her son one rainy day, without realising it would soon turn into a successful business.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
My business is Rainy Day Box a lovely children’s activity box company that I set up 4 years ago, inspired by my then 3 year old son. The first rainy day box was put together purely for my son for our indoor days, then my mummy friends would ask me to put together boxes for their little ones and so it went on. The business prides itself on supplying good old fashioned fun where batteries are not required as our boxes are powered by kids. We specialise in monthly subscription boxes for kids but also have big one off boxes that make awesome gifts.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two children aged 7 and 2, both born on the same day (not sure why I’m always compelled to tell this fact when asked this question).
Where do you like to work from?
I work from a log cabin at the back of my garden. I can get peace and quiet there but still be close by to my family, although that is not always a good thing when trying to focus.
How do you balance both work and family life?
This is the hard part that no one warns you about when you start a business around a family, it can be ridiculously hard to juggle both. I usually work most of my hours during the evening when my children sleep, but this means I rarely get time to catch up with my husband, we are generally scooping glitter into little bags or counting buttons or something else random like that. On the positive side, despite feeling beyond exhausted most of the time I do get to go to the park on a sunny day with my toddler and be at every school show for my eldest son, that’s worth having no me time in my book.
What is your vision/dream for your business?
Rainy Day Box has grown beyond my expectations and we have just executed a very gorgeous rebrand, so for now I will keep at it, but I also feel it may be time to start thinking about passing it on, my toddler doesn’t start school for another two years and I want to enjoy that time left without being so shattered.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
The biggest and ongoing challenge is cutting myself some slack sometimes as I’m a perfectionist and can often add stress to a task unnecessarily. Luckily I found meditation 12 years ago so during the really tough times I can refocus myself and not let it all get too much.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
The highlights happen quite often, we receive so many lovely emails and messages from other grown-ups about our boxes and how much their special little ones enjoyed it. We also get pictures sometimes of little ones and their prized creations, they are the best and always get me as I’m such a softy. But if I had to choose one moment, it would probably be seeing our boxes voted No.1 for kids in The Guardian.
How did you fund your business?
I’m very lucky, my dad gave me a small loan to start it up and I have funded everything else from there from the business.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
If you are going to start a business be prepared to be emotionally involved with it and also to work harder than ever before, but if you have a real dream and drive it’s so possible.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Up at 6am with my youngest, answer emails whilst both boys eat breakfast, school run, dispatch boxes, play time with toddler, catch up on work whilst toddler naps, lunch, play, school run, kids dinner, pop kids to bed and start work until normally 11pm then sleep. Hmm sounds pretty gruelling, but I do enjoy both jobs.
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
Yes, I get mum guilt when sending a cheeky email whilst my toddler waits for me to carry on playing. But ladies guess what! We weren’t meant to do it all! We don’t have to be perfect at everything, so cut yourself some slack once in a while.
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
Ha ha, not very often, but I do have one little hobby that is just for me, I play roller derby with a wonderful team of ladies that are amazing and very supportive. I think women are amazing really and we can run families and businesses at the same time, but we need to make sure we keep a little held back for ourselves, which is often the hardest part.
Thank you so much Aly for this lovely interview! We’re glad we’re not the only one that works till very late in the evenings and we think your business is genius! We are also very jealous of your log cabin. We adore your boxes and think they’re so perfect for little imaginations.
What did you think about our interview with Mumpreneur Aly from Rainy Day Box? Let us know in the comments below.