Welcome back to ‘Interview With A Mum In Business‘. Today I’m introducing to you Anja, the Mum behind the really lovely children’s monthly subscription service Mud & Bloom. Anja is also kindly giving away a Mud & Bloom box to THREE lucky readers! You can enter the competition at the bottom of this post.
Interview With A Mum In Business Featuring: Mud & Bloom
Have you heard of Mud & Bloom boxes before? I first started seeing them recently all over Instagram and they look amazing! Especially if you are a family who loves the outdoors and nature like us!
If you haven’t heard of them before, Mud & Bloom boxes are monthly subscription boxes for kids. Inside each box you will find lots of outdoor and nature inspired activities, for you and your kids to do together. You really do need to go and have a peek at the contents of the boxes for yourself! They’re such high quality and the activities that are included every month are very hands on.
We’re 100% getting Evie a subscription for Christmas. Since she’s started school, I’ve been really missing our regular outdoor adventures together and also the time we used to spend together one on one. Mud & Bloom boxes look like the perfect way for us to spend some hands on, super fun Mummy/Daughter time together.
When I found out that Mud & Bloom was a Mum run business, I knew I had to interview Anja in this series!
Before I give too much away though, lets dive into the interview where you can find out more about Mud & Bloom, why both your children and you will LOVE this subscription service and how Anja runs her business around the chaos of family life.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
Mud and Bloom is a monthly gardening and nature craft activity box delivered to your door every month. Each box contains everything you need to do four growing and craft activities without needing any special equipment or even a garden. There’s also news and games teaching children aged 3+ about nature and the seasons.
I gave up my full time job working at WaterAid in London two years ago to spend more time with my children and pursue my passion for gardening. I enrolled on a Royal Horticulture Society course and was originally intending to start a gardening business. Then I started writing about children and the natural world on my blog. I found a lot of people shared my belief in the power of nature, time outdoors and free play for their children’s development and wellbeing.
How did you get the idea for your business?
I subscribed to indoor craft activity boxes for my children when I was working full time and thought they were fantastic – having everything you need to sit down, make something and enjoy quality time with your child is invaluable, especially when both parents are working. I looked around and was surprised that there were no similar activity boxes catering to gardening and the outdoors.
Where do you like to work from?
I like to work in my kitchen which has a big glass door looking out to our garden. As Mud & Bloom grows I have to spend more and more time online, so I think it’s important to be able to see the natural world whilst I am working.
How do you balance both work and family life?
Running a business has put me more in control of my hours than when I worked full time. Which has helped practically – particularly as my partner still works full time. But it can still be difficult: my children are still very young and we had a new baby in March. Some great advice I had was to focus on those parts of the business you are passionate about and delegate or outsource other areas of work. As Mud & Bloom grows, I am starting to be able to do that.
What is your vision/dream for your business?
I’m delighted that more and more people are using my boxes to get their children interested in nature and I’m really pleased with the feedback I receive. We have plans to introduce some new products but my dream is still just to help more children connect with nature. Nature is an antidote to the stress that children and adults experience in their lives and I’m just pleased Mud & Bloom boxes are helping parents allow some nature into their children’s lives. Another mother told me recently that my boxes enabled her to do the things she’d always dreamt of doing with her children – which is exactly what I wanted when I started out.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
Trying to cover every aspect of a business at the very start is a challenge. There is so much to do and it’s virtually impossible that you’ll be good at all of it. I’ve been fortunate that I have people around me to help me do the things I have less experience in and this has helped me focus on what I love about the business. My partner helps me with my finances, which is really helpful.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
Seeing my subscribers have great moments with their children! Like the first time they grow a vegetable, pick it and eat it, is really special. A lot of my craft activities require people to go out and find things in nature (that’s the point!). So, they leave room for interpretation and creativity. A lot of my subscribers share their creations on social media. I love going on there to see the different things people have gone out and found and the different interpretations children have put on my activities.
How did you fund your business?
I got a small amount of finance from Startup Loans – a government scheme. The scheme requires you to produce a business plan and assigns you an experienced business mentor. This was a great way of sense-checking my idea and stopped me making some costly mistakes. If you’ve got a business idea, I would strongly recommend it as a scheme.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
Starting a business is a very time-consuming thing. Only do it if you are 100% committed to your idea and passionate about the product or service you are offering. But if you do have that passion, go for it – you’ll only spend time wondering what if otherwise.
Also, if yours is a consumer facing business, try to build a following before you launch your product. That way you have like-minded supporters to help you get your product off the ground and don’t need to rely so much on costly marketing.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
There isn’t really a typical day! Depending on the time of the month I’m either developing that month’s activities, writing and producing our activity cards, trying to source ethical contents or arranging box packing. We’re getting two or three new subscribers a day now so I’m also online a lot welcoming people to Mud & Bloom and I’m on first name terms with the people in my local post office!
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
I do feel mum guilt but I think it’s important that, as parents, we do something that makes us happy. We can’t be the people we want to be for our children if we sacrifice our own happiness.
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
Not much at the moment, as my business is still so new and my baby is so young. But, if I have time off I like going to art galleries, sitting in cafes, reading and running or cycling.
What is your favourite thing about the products that you create?
My favourite thing is the growing activities and the beautiful moments that nurturing a small plant can bring to parents and their children. Apart from that, Mud & Bloom takes inspiration from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education and in keeping with those philosophies I try to make opening a Mud and Bloom box a beautiful experience that doesn’t rely on sensory overload and I try and use natural materials where possible. There are enough products out there full of plastic, noise and bright colours. My subscribers seem to appreciate that my boxes are a bit different, encourage observation and reflection and bring a bit of calm. I want them to bring children and their parents something they don’t get anywhere else.
Thank you so much Anja for letting me interview you! Anja is also kindly giving away a Mud & Bloom box to not one, not two, but to three lucky winners! To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway
How unique and brilliant are Mud & Bloom boxes?
I really cannot wait to get my first box through the letterbox. I think Evie is going to LOVE this subscription service too. Keep an eye on my Instagram page, where I’ll share everything we make from the boxes. I think it’s going to be such a beautiful way for us to be able to spend some quality time doing something special together, now she’s at a school and not home as much.
As a Mum who also runs her own business myself, I also really love all of Anjas advice. Especially the bit about focusing on those parts of your business that you are passionate about and outsourcing those that you’re not. I need to do this a lot more in my line of work! Especially with the areas that aren’t my strong point. In general I really love all of Anja’s advice! I think we can all learn so much from her little business.
You can find out more about Anja and Mud & Bloom here:
That’s it for today’s interview. If you missed last weeks interview with Kate and Lucy from ‘Not Another Birthday’, you can catch up with it here:
- Interview With A Mum In Business Featuring: Not Another Birthday