Welcome back to ‘Interview With A Mum In Business‘. Today I’m introducing to you Abby, the Mum behind the ethical clothing company ‘The Happy Fox’. Abby is also kindly giving away one of her Rebel t-shirts to a lucky reader! You can enter the competition at the bottom of this post.
INTERVIEW WITH A MUM IN BUSINESS FEATURING: THE HAPPY FOX
There are two things I love doing on Life Unexpected. The first is supporting Mums who are running their own business. The second is showcasing the best of what Cornwall, where I am so lucky to live, has to offer. Today I am so excited to be combining both of those things! Today’s interview is with an amazing Mum called Abby. She lives in Cornwall and runs her own ethical clothing company called ‘The Happy Fox’.
Abby is one of these amazing Mums who is trying to juggle it all while creating the most thoughtful clothing! When she’s not busy homeschooling her kids, she’s designing and selling clothes that have not only our planet in mind, but also our mental health. The Happy Fox is a clothing company we all need to hear about and I’m really excited to share them with you today.
Before I give too much away though, I’m going to hand the reigns over to Abby from The Happy Fox who will explain a little more about her business, the story behind it and how she runs her business around home schooling her children.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
At ‘The Happy Fox’ I sell 100% organic cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts & tote bags. The ethos behind The Happy Fox is to help promote mental health and well-being in adults and children. All my t-shirts have positive statements reminding us to be kind to our minds! 10% of each t-shirt sold is also donated to a fantastic charity called, Action For Happiness. Their aim is to increase well-being in homes, schools and workplaces.
Each t-shirt is hand Screen Printed using Eco friendly dyes and each tee comes with a scan-able label that tells you the complete chain history of how it was made and even who made it!
I have also just started stocking some inspirational children’s story books to help inspire little minds to feel they have the power to do anything, regardless of gender or social stereotypes.
The Happy Fox was started a year ago. Around the same time that we made the decision to home educate our 2 children! I wanted to create a business that I could be proud off and that helped promote a message that I am passionate about. But, also something that gives me the freedom to work around the children and their home education needs!
How did you get the idea for your business?
The idea for The Happy Fox came from lots of areas of my life, desire to be my own boss, while still having the freedom to be creative, a love and deep passion for the environment and ethically sustainable clothing. But, perhaps most importantly, after suffering myself with mental health issues and more recently supporting my 8 year old daughter through a period of intense anxiety, I felt I wanted to help promote mental health awareness and openly start a conversation that needs to be had.
Where do you like to work from?
I have a little desk, but I usually find myself wrapped in a blanket with a cup of coffee typing away on the sofa! Surely that’s one of the perks of working from home? I am often joined by my cats who like to try and sit on my computer!
I would at some-point love to have my own workshop space, as currently my living room looks like a clothing shop with several rails of t-shirts. It’s not ideal but I make it work.
How do you balance both work and family life?
I think this is the ultimate question that everyone is trying to figure out. It’s never an easy balance and I often feel I am juggling a hundred balls at once. I waitress part time and help out at a drama and dance group a few evenings. I think the way it works for me is that I have incredibly supportive network of family and friends around me. My children are so lucky to attend an incredible home education collective that runs 3 days a week, so these are my Happy Fox days!
I aim to keep the weekends free for family time. I try as much as a can to switch off from work when I am with them and not keep checking my emails, and focus on making slime instead! Ha ha!
What is your vision/dream for your business?
I would love to grow The Happy Fox to the point where I can support my family financially and also support some amazing charities along the way. I’ve got big dreams, my brain is constantly thinking of new ideas and designs.
I think we are on the brink of a clothing revolution. There is a big move from the consumer to know where their clothing comes from how it’s made and if its damaging the environment. I think collectively we all have to start thinking about the ethics behind the clothes that we wear and the future of the fashion industry.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges for me have been lack of funds. I am constantly chasing my tail when it comes to financing the business. I am having to put lots of ideas on hold until the funds are available.
I’ve also found social media challenging! I’ve been on such a steep learning curve and feel I am more often than not ‘winging it’. But, I have also taken the attitude that knowledge is power so I have attended lots of business courses. I recently went through the SPARK business programme. That gives you guidance and tutorials on a range of subjects, along with one on one mentoring.
I feel I am constantly learning something new and I find that exciting and refreshing.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
The highlight for me of running my own business, is each and every time I get that little ping on my phone that means someone has taken the time to order a t-shirt. It gives me such a buzz! My kids think I am mad, as every time I get up and do a happy dance around the kitchen!
I also enjoy the freedom of creating something that I love and am genuinely passionate about. I have also met some amazing fellow women running small businesses, who have been incredibly encouraging and inspiring.
How did you fund your business?
I was lucky enough to get a 500 pound grant through the SPARK business programme, which I spent all on stock. Now I am just getting more as and when I sell. I have considered getting a bank loan, but I am trying my hardest to just progress as and when the finances allow.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
I would say take your time to get it right, test your market as much as you can before your launch and know your product. I would get your friends and family on board and accept help where its offered and above all be brave and just go for it!
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I never have a typical working day, I just fit in any time I can an hour here or there around my other jobs and the children. I do a lot when the kids have gone to bed, I also try and fit in an hour or two by taking myself off to a cafe away from the distractions of home!
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
I think we all feel the mum guilt! I constantly feel I should be doing more for them but the thing I tell myself is as long as they are happy and healthy nothing else matters!
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
I don’t often get time off for myself, but if I do I have a long hot bath with a glass of wine, or I go out with my friends. I love to dance so if I can I go to my local Zumba class, or even just 10 minutes to sit quietly with a good book is absolute bliss.
What is your favourite thing about the products that you create?
My favourite tee is the ‘REBEL GIRL’ tee it seems to have really resonated with young girls who don’t want to wear pink sparkly tops and are looking for a way to express themselves. I like what it stands for! Girls should grow up knowing they can be rebels and not follow the herd.
Thank you so much Abby for letting me interview you! Abby is also kindly giving away a Rebel Girl t-shirt to a very lucky winner! To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway
How amazing is the concept behind The Happy Fox?
I think this is a brand that needs to go far! Don’t you? I really love the strong ethics behind this small business and how great are these t-shirts? My favourite is the ‘Free Range’ tee but I also definitely need to bag a ‘Rebel Girl’ t-shirt for my daughter.
How incredible is Abby too? I really agree with her advice about starting a small business. It’s so important to test the waters first and research your target market.
But, I think Abby has found such a unique concept and something that is very much needed in the fashion industry. I also think its amazing that she’s doing all over this while juggling another job and also while she’s home-schooling her kids. How amazing is she?
You can find out more about Abby and The Happy Fox here:
That’s it for today’s interview. If you missed last weeks interview with Anja from ‘Mud & Bloom’, you can catch up with it here:
- Interview With A Mum In Business Featuring: Mud & Bloom.